Silverthorne discusses plans and community feedback for Shops at Smith Ranch
Developers and designers gave an update on conceptual site plans for the Shops at Smith Ranch project at the Silverthorne Town Council work session Wednesday, Dec. 9. Community feedback regarding traffic concerns and housing options were discussed as well as the current plan for retail and housing at the site.
The Shops at Smith Ranch will be on the 9.4-acre Smith Ranch Commercial property, which is at the corner of Ruby Ranch Road and Colorado Highway 9. The property is owned by the Silverthorne Urban Renewal Authority. On Wednesday, Town Council approved an extension of the memorandum of understanding between the town of Silverthorne and Continuum Partners, which grants the company an “exclusive negotiation period” to negotiate with the town on the development of the site.
According to a memo to council from Town Manager Ryan Hyland, a predevelopment agreement between the town and Continuum Partners will be on council’s agenda Jan. 13. Assistant Town Manager Mark Leidal noted that staff has had conversations with Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, which borders the Smith Ranch commercial site, about adjusting the lot lines.
Elena Scott, principal at Norris Design, spoke about community outreach, stating that 13 stakeholder interviews have been completed involving community members, business owners and homeowners associations. Scott said there have been multiple meetings with the church and nearby HOAs in addition to the in-person and virtual open houses that have been conducted.
Frank Cannon, development director at Continuum Partners, shared key points of feedback that will be taken into consideration during the planning process. Feedback included strong support for a new grocery store — but there is concern about the store being too big — and interest in small-scale retail and restaurants. People also said they wanted to increase pedestrian and open space connectivity and for the view to be preserved.
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“We heard quite a bit about physical design aspects of the project, which was great,” Cannon said. “It’s helped us start to think about how to shape the relationship of the uses, the infrastructure on the site, open space on the site, and really start to think about where community gathering can occur and how you strengthen connections between the existing Smith Ranch residential neighborhood, the existing Ruby Ranch residential areas and even moving to the north of us and connecting into Willowbrook and beyond.”
For the housing component of the project, Cannon added that people are asking for affordable rental housing options for a variety of family types. Cannon said several families have said that although they want to own their own home, it isn’t feasible, and they’d like to see secure, long-term rental opportunities.
Concerns about traffic, speeds and a lack of pedestrian walkways on Highway 9 also were brought up as more development comes to the area. Scott said the east-to-west connection on Highway 9 is being addressed in site design concepts. A traffic signal at Ruby Ranch Road was included in the plans as a potential remedy for traffic and pedestrian crossing concerns. Cannon added that open space is being used as pedestrian connections between the site and nearby neighborhoods.
Cannon also presented a plan for potential building uses, including commercial, mixed-use residential and neighborhood retail, a park and day care facilities. Council member Derrick Fowler expressed concern about the size of the parking area shown in the plan, which is 1.2 acres. Leidal said that while the parking area is designed according to town code, the town will eliminate parking space if possible.
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