Town stops annexation proceedings, continues Silver Mountain project
SILVERTHORNE – Annexation proceedings for the Blue River Club were nixed Wednesday when the Silverthorne Town Council voted to bring them to a stop. But developers say it doesn’t mean the high-end golf club community is a dead issue.
Progress on the club’s development plans have been stalled for nearly two years, and council members decided enough was enough. A sketch plan for the club, previously called Buffalo Mountain Village, was approved in August 2000. Since then, the council – which wants to see preliminary plans before it annexes the land – has continued annexation hearings on the development seven times.
But, council members voted to continue the annexation process for Silver Mountain Village; those development plans are moving forward at a faster clip. The two projects have the same developer and had been linked – a condition of the town – until this point.
Blue River Club is a proposed private golf course community surrounded by 355 homes. It is planned for about 500 acres, some of which are part of the town and some of which must be annexed before development can begin.
Silver Mountain Village, planned at the base of Ruby Ranch, would include 182 residential units – 107 of them to be affordably priced – a school site, day-care site, and 11 acres of commercial development. Similarly, part of the 72-acre development already is in Silverthorne, and part must be annexed.
The council voted on the issues separately. The vote was 3-2 to terminate annexation proceedings for the Blue River Club, with Councilmembers Peggy Long and Steve Swanson voting against termination.
Councilmembers Sheila Groneman and Howard Hallman voted against the move to continue the Silver Mountain Village annexation process, but were defeated in a 3-2 vote.
Groneman said she never envisioned a Silver Mountain sketch plan would be before them for two-plus years.
“I don’t really have true confidence in the project as presented,” she said. “I think it may be time to restart this project.”
Hallman said he doesn’t believe there’s been “a really good public debate” on the project. He also said he feels the town is being pressured by the developer, the school district and a utility company to move ahead with the Silver Mountain process.
“I think, as a town, we’re getting ourselves into a real quagmire,” he said.
Councilmember Dave Koop said he was “tired of waiting” for the Blue River Club plans. He also feels the process for Silver Mountain Village has been “long and draining.”
But, “We’re so far down the road with this, I’d like to see it continued,” Koop said.
Dick Marshall, land planner for both Silver Mountain Village and the Blue River Club, said the town’s decision to stop annexation proceedings on the club is only a delay.
“It basically makes us go through one step (sketch plan) again, but it’s a relatively easy step to comply with,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a deal killer.”
Marshall said the Blue River Club needs high-end buyers, and that market has suffered setbacks.
“The high-end market was falling apart before 9/11 and fell apart further on 9/11,” he said. “I think it’s coming back now. I think people are starting to feel confident the national economy is turning around.”
He also said there are new investors joining the Blue River Club’s development team.
Jane Reuter can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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