Silverthorne Planning Commission gives OK to Lowe’s
September 1, 2010
SILVERTHORNE – A proposed Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse cleared a major hurdle late last night, receiving approval on its final site plan from the Silverthorne Planning Commission.
The commission voted four to three in favor of the project, sending it on for consideration by the Silverthorne Town Council. Commissioners Peggy Long, Russ Camp, Derrick Fowler and Stan Katz voted for the approval; commissioners Tom McDonald, Brian Wray and Finton Doyle cast the three nays.
The approval came with several conditions, including a requirement that the store’s outside design be more esthetically pleasing and better tailored to a mountain environment. Of particular concern to the commissioners was the roof design, whose flat, beige expanse would be visible from roads and homes above the building.
“I would really like to see a Silverthorne facade to it that makes it fit into our community,” Long said. “This is a big improvement to what we saw last February, but can you give us a little more? I was disappointed.”
The commissioners also included a caveat that the proposed redesign of the intersection of Wildernest Road, Buffalo Mountain Drive and Adams Avenue be pedestrian-friendly. Additional conditions of the approval included requirements that the development’s proposed 48-foot-tall retaining wall be designed by a “qualified and registered retaining-wall expert.”
Several members of the public who attended the meeting expressed concerns about the retaining wall, noting that Buffalo Mountain Drive, which sits atop the proposed structure, has been slipping for years.
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Rick Valentine, an engineer for Lowe’s, said anchors reaching as far as 120 feet into the soil from the retaining wall would stabilize the hill, including the road above. The hill would be regraded and the road realigned.
“Part of the objective is to stabilize that area,” Valentine said.
Traffic was another issue that topped many residents’ and commissioners’ list of concerns. The project includes a realignment of Buffalo Mountain Drive, Wildernest Road and Adams Avenue into a signalized four-way intersection. Another new traffic signal would be placed at the intersection of Stephens Way and Wildernest Road.
“Traffic is a big one for me,” Wray said. “I don’t feel there’s been enough thought put into that.”
Wray and some citizens urged further consideration of a roundabout design instead of a traffic light. Some expressed concern that the area in and around the Interstate 70/Highway 9 interchange is already a traffic headache, and the added vehicle volume from a Lowe’s would only make it worse.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the Planning Commission approved on-site and off-site wetlands disturbance permits, for which Lowe’s will conduct mitigation work and make a cash payment to the town, which would use the money for creation of new wetlands.
SDN reporter Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-4630 or email@example.com.