S’thorne to strengthen pine beetle, noxious weeds ordinances | SummitDaily.com

S’thorne to strengthen pine beetle, noxious weeds ordinances

NICOLE FORMOSAsummit daily newsSummit County CO Colorado

SILVERTHORNE – The Town of Silverthorne is taking steps to beef up its noxious weeds and pine beetle ordinances in light of complaints of property owners neglecting the environmental problems.Last year, the police department investigated 71 cases of private property owners, who were not taking care of noxious weeds or removing trees that had been killed by the mountain pine beetle.Right now, the town’s noxious weed enforcement policy includes a verbal warning for noncompliance, followed by a formal warning in writing. If the problem is not taken care of within 30 days, the town has authority to remove the weeds only if they’re endangering the land or health and safety of citizens. In that case, a homeowner is billed for the treatment at a maximum of $300 a day.The new ordinance would allow homeowners only 10 days to remove the weeds after a formal warning, or to provide a schedule for when the weeds will be removed. If nothing’s done, the town would have the authority to clear out the weeds in any situation and charge the homeowner twice the cost of eradication, still not to exceed $300 a day.The town is hoping its extensive education efforts about noxious weeds will preempt the need to enforce the ordinance because “the goal is not to end up citing people and getting into that process, it’s to get the weeds abated,” assistant town manager Ryan Hyland said.The education will include the typical means of disseminating public information like community television, the town newsletter and the internet, but the town and its Economic Development Advisory Committee is also working on a program that would allow local businesses to pool together and use one sprayer to lessen the cost, Hyland said.The county may also promote a program that would allow homeowners to rent a backpack-style sprayer and chemicals to take care of their weeds. If the county moves forward with that program, Silverthorne residents could take advantage of it.”For those kind of do-it-yourselfers that’s one program that we’d like to promote, which avoids you having to go to Kremmling and buy 30 gallons of something you really don’t need,” Hyland said.The town will also provide a list of licensed sprayers to homeowners.The proposed dead and diseased tree ordinance is structured much like the noxious weeds plan. If homeowners don’t remove their dead trees within 10 days of a formal warning, the town has the authority to remove the trees and charge the homeowner. A homeowner must fill out a tree removal application through the town’s community development department before cutting any trees to ensure people aren’t destroying healthy trees, Hyland said.The council unanimously passed both ordinances on first reading Wednesday night.”I’m just glad to see this coming to fruition,” Mayor Pro-tem Peggy Long said. “We need to do the public comment, and the education piece is a big part of it, but if people in this valley haven’t figured out that there’s a noxious weed and beetle kill problem, they’ve been underneath the beetle trees for a while, so they need to realize that they need to participate in the control of these problems we have.”The ordinances will be up for second reading at the council’s next meeting.Decision on Smith Ranch annexation delayedLocal developer Tim Crane hopes to build a 160-unit affordable housing neighborhood on the 50-acre Smith Ranch off Highway 9 in Silverthorne, but he is relying on the town to annex the property to allow enough density for his project.Right now, the ranch is zoned for agricultural use in the county.Crane, who’s under contract to buy the ranch, first applied for annexation last July, which the council tabled for six months to give Crane some time to work on the land use portion of his plan.The six months was up in January. Last week, the council opted to delay a decision on whether to extend Crane’s annexation petition for another six months, and instead went into executive session with attorney Jerry Dahl for legal advice on the issue.The town’s community development department recommended the council reject the annexation petition because Crane did not make reasonable progress in the past six months.Crane said he’s already completed a Planned Unit Development planning guide, a conceptual site plan, a financial impact analysis and has been speaking with the Summit Housing Authority about his ideas.”We have a PUD submittal ready to go, ready to be submitted. In fact we were going to submit it when our time ran out,” he said.If his development proceeds, Crane plans on building a mix of 70 percent affordable housing units and 30 percent market value homes, with a daycare center and a small community park.The town council will take up Crane’s petition again at its March 14 meeting.Planning continues for Silverthorne Lifestyle Center Denver developer Peter Cudlip is moving forward with his plans for a new retail center in Silverthorne. Cudlip held a sparsely attended community meeting last Thursday to discuss his plans, which include a 94,000-square-foot center on an 11-acre parcel at the corner of Wildernest Road and Buffalo Mountain Drive. Half the lot is currently occupied by the Subaru dealership, which will move to Silverthorne Motors’ new dealership on Blue River Parkway this summer.Cudlip hopes to begin construction on his project this summer. His plan calls for five junior anchor stores – about 13,000 square feet in size – to house national tenants that will provide products locals currently drive to Denver for, like electronic or pet supplies, Cudlip said.His plans are tentatively scheduled to go before the planning commission on March 6.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-4629, or at nformosa@summitdaily.com.

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