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Silver Mountain Village back for preliminary review

SILVERTHORNE – The long-awaited preliminary plans for Silver Mountain Village, which include a new elementary school site and a Safeway grocery store, get a review Tuesday from the Silverthorne Planning Commission.

The project is set for a public hearing during the commission’s 6 p.m. meeting, and for another public hearing with the town council at 6 p.m. Sept. 25.

Preliminary is the second of three steps – and generally considered the most critical review – required before any Silverthorne project can break ground. If Silver Mountain Village gets preliminary approval, it still must come back for a final review.



The project gained sketch plan approval 18 months ago.

“Preliminary by no means approves the project,” said Silverthorne’s community development director, Mark Leidal. “It’s the further refinement of all the details.”



Silver Mountain Village is designed as a locals-oriented neighborhood. It is planned at the base of Ruby Ranch, along Highway 9 south of Willowbrook, on a 72-acre property now known as the Smith Ranch.

Plans for the village include 11 acres for commercial use anchored by a Safeway grocery store, a 10-acre elementary school site, one-acre day-care site, and a mixture of housing that includes 44 single-family lots, 37 townhomes and 100 mutli-family units.

More than half of those housing units are to be priced affordably. The Summit Housing Authority (SHA) will help to set prices on those homes, though SHA director Gordon Ferris last year said he would like to see single-family homes there priced at $160,000, and apartments at less than $100,000.

The idea for Silver Mountain Village came in 2000, when developers originally proposed a private golf-course community along Highway 9. Town officials asked Buffalo Mountain Ranch developers for some affordable housing. Thus, Silver Mountain Village sprang to life on the Smith Ranch.

Until recently, Buffalo Mountain Ranch – now known as the Blue River Club (see related story) – and Silver Mountain Village were required to pass through the town’s approval process together. But this summer, the high-end Blue River Club stalled. The council – in exchange for a downzoning on part of the proposed golf course property – then allowed the two developments to separate.

That delinking, said Silver Mountain Village land planner Dick Marshall, is the key to finally moving the village project forward. Marshall said development of the school site and the commercial acreage could happen before the residential portion breaks ground, but he’s hopeful it will all move as one.”I think there’s a pretty good shot – assuming this preliminary gets approved – that the residential will pick up speed, and by the time the grocery store is ready to start construction next spring, the residential will also be moving forward.

“Everybody’s goal is to get the whole thing done because the affordable housing is a benefit to the town. But timing-wise, the Safeway guys are ready to go and Safeway’s commitment on the lease is only good through December. This is our one shot at getting the Safeway done. I think the commercial piece could get separated out and move ahead quicker,” Marshall said.

Additionally, he pointed out, Safeway’s land is already part of the town of Silverthorne. Other portions of the project must be annexed before development can begin.

“The town could approve the Safeway without annexing anything,” Marshall said. “That’s why it’s likely the grocery store will move into final quicker than the rest.”

Seminole Land Holdings, the company that owns the planned Silver Mountain Village site, last month deeded the 10-acre school to the Summit School District for $10. That move was made to keep alive plans for building an elementary school on the site.

Even if the residential development doesn’t begin in the spring, Marshall said developers have made arrangements with the school to keep their project on track.

“The back-up deal for the school is just basically reducing the amount of infrastructure that would be needed … to get them operating,” he said. Groundbreaking for the new school is scheduled for next spring, and the school should be ready to open in 2005.

Blue River Club lives

SILVERTHORNE — While the Blue River Club has faded from Silverthorne’s development screen, project land planner Dick Marshall said the golf course development isn’t dead.

“There are some new people looking at it,” he said. “They’ve got a letter of intent to get involved. Some of the players that are now in it will stay the same, but there will be a new managing partner.

“The new guys are well capitalized and well experienced to do that sort of thing,” he said. Marshall said he hopes soon to make an announcement about the new partners.

The upscale Blue River Club is planned for the east side of Highway 9 in Silverthorne on 523 acres extending from the Blue River to the National Forest boundary. The most recent proposal there called for more than 350 homes surrounding an 18-hole golf course.

Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at jreuter@summitdaily.com


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