Maryland Creek: sprawl or smart |

Maryland Creek: sprawl or smart


The proposed annexation of Maryland Creek Ranch into Silverthorne so the landowner can build 70 high-end houses will be a telling issue in the town and the rest of the county.The thing to remember in all of this is that Silverthorne is the town without a property tax. Its world is about sales taxes. Annexation carrying only residential development would create more public expense without revenues to defray it.We are not saying commercial development must sprawl down the Lower Blue to make sense, but creating a residential-commercial balance has been Silverthorne’s dilemma.We remember the Smith Ranch annexation. The core issue for elected officials was to force commercial development to offset the proposed residential development, both that proposed on the Smith Ranch and on property to be developed generally opposite it on the east side of Highway 9.Commercial development is not part of the Maryland Creek proposal.The other issue about Maryland Creek Ranch is the extension of Silverthorne farther north on Highway 9. The farther north annexation goes, the greater the potential for the next property owners to request annexation to get greater zoning density.County Agricultural 1 zoning (A-1 as the nomenclature goes) gives the right to build one unit per 20 acres, or one unit per 17.5 acres as the developer clusters units to conserve open space. Annexation into Silverthorne is worth up to a 75 percent development bonus, in this case.The Maryland Creek proposal comes before a formal transferable development rights (TDR) plan for the Lower Blue Basin is in place. It’s too bad the county had dragged its feet creating one in the wake of approving the updated Lower Blue Master Plan two years ago.The regret is that if and when TDRs are implemented, the issue is where to put them. Maryland Creek would be a candidate location, even though that represents sprawl. Still, TDRs put at Maryland Creek would limit development in the rest of the beautiful Lower Blue.But for now, all eyes will be on Silverthorne and how it judges the Maryland Creek annexation. No wonder the town is taking six months to understand the issues.

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