Silverthorne Town Council moves toward downzoning Clark Ranch |

Silverthorne Town Council moves toward downzoning Clark Ranch

Jane Reuter

SILVERTHORNE – The Silverthorne Town Council took a step Wednesday toward permanently eliminating some outdated zoning on the Clark Ranch.

While the Clark Ranch is proposed as part of the Blue River Club, the downzoning applies to the land, not to the developer. That means it would stay with the property, no matter who develops it.

Currently, zoning on the 192-acre Clark Ranch allows for dense development, created in the early ’80s when Summit County was eager for growth. It allows a 350-room, six-story hotel and 721 residential units in multi-family buildings that also could tower as high as six stories. With the change, a developer could build 355 residential units no more than 35 feet high.

The downzoning is being offered by developers of the Blue River Club in exchange for delinking the club project from Silver Mountain Village. From conception, the two had progressed through the town’s processes together, ensuring the town would get the public benefits it wants from Silver Mountain Village while the developer gets the high-end golf course community of Blue River Club. But as plans for Silver Mountain Village began to proceed ahead of the Blue River Club, several people – developers and some town council members among them – began to ask for a separation of the two projects.

Ideally, the downzoning on the golf club property guarantees development there won’t spiral out of control even though Silver Mountain is moving ahead on its own.

The downzoning wasn’t made final Wednesday, but it cleared its first hurdle – sketch plan. It still must be approved at preliminary and final levels before it’s completed.

“We want to move Silver Mountain ahead because we think there’s a lot in it for the town,” said Dick Marshall, land planner for the project.

Among those things are a 10-acre school site the developer says it will donate to the school district, a day-care site and 107 units of affordable housing. The school district, which has $12 million to build a new Silverthorne Elementary, also is coming up against deadlines and needs to know soon on what site it can build.

But Wednesday’s initiation of the downzoning doesn’t resolve the school site quandary. While the town council has approved sketch plans for the Silver Mountain Village project, it hasn’t reviewed preliminary plans yet. Those have been submitted to the town staff for review and returned to the developer with staff recommending still more issues be addressed before the plans can go to the council.

“The ball’s back in the developer’s court at this point,” said Silverthorne Community Development Director Mark Leidal.

“I wish we were further ahead than we are,” said Silverthorne Mayor Lou DelPiccolo. “It’s obviously a fairly messed-up situation in the sense that we’re coming up against deadlines without achieving a resolution.”

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

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