Safeway should be put somewhere besides Smith Ranch |

Safeway should be put somewhere besides Smith Ranch

Most agree that Silverthorne needs a supermarket. But why ruin a pristine meadow and view corridor when other sites exist?

Wednesday, the Silverthorne Town Council will once again address the proposal by Kornfeld-Koslosky Properties LLP to develop a strip mall on the Smith Ranch north of the town core. This commercial development has resurfaced from an earlier failed annexation attempt.

It is a part of a “sales tax at any price” agenda currently set forth by several town council members.

Silverthorne as a town has spent considerable resources planning for the future. The existing Comprehensive Plan advocates developing the existing commercial zone before disrupting open land outside the business core.

The plan also seeks to minimize commercial/residential conflicts, seeks projects that enhance community liveability, and promotes preserving view corridors and vistas. The Smith Ranch project fails each goal.

Approval of a shopping mall on the agricultural lands of the Smith Ranch departs from the existing Comprehensive Plan and embarks on a new policy of steamrolling development down the Blue River without adequate citizen involvement.

While Silverthorne deserves its own grocery store, decision-makers should guide its development in a manner consistent with its comp plan.

Currently, the Silverthorne commercial district is anchored by the new Target. Target is a big retail draw. What we need now is to get a grocery store adjacent to Target on the available cel Energy land so smaller town core retail stores will have the customer draw necessary.

Build a grocery store near Target and bridge Highway 9 with pedestrian overpasses. Then the retail area can be tied to the Silverthorne Pavilion and the desired development just south of the Pavilion. It would also tie in the Silverthorne Factory Stores and most importantly the pedestrian-bike path hooked to the rest of the county.

Recently, former Gov. Richard Lamm visited Summit County to discuss Colorado’s failure to plan rational development. He accepted part of the blame for the failures of his administration.

He said “my generation has presided over an incredible loss of quality of life in Colorado, a product of a lack of foresight, a lack of vision and a lack of common sense.”

Now Silverthorne stands poised to repeat mistakes that will lead to more sprawl and traffic.

It will cost Silverthorne a little more in the short term to do some redevelopment around Target and work to create a true commercial/retail center for the town.

But the cost of not doing so will be much greater in the long run. Now is the time for the citizens of Silverthorne to demand the town council step up to the plate and make the right decisions for the long term good of Silverthorne.

Will the town shortcut its own approval process? The developer is asking the town council to combine the preliminary and final reviews into a single review.

Every project, including Target, has had to play by the rules. Now the most controversial project to hit the town since Wal-Mart demands special treatment.

It is inconceivable such a large project would require no modification. Every other project large and small has needed changes during the review process. The planning commission has indicated they think the project is not ready for final review. Why this rush to judgment?

Now is the time for the citizens of Silverthorne to say to the council: Enough is enough. If the people will lead, the leaders will follow. Let’s do this right and put the grocery store in the commercial zone where it belongs.

The writer lives in Silverthorne and is an activist in trying to divert Safeway from the Smith Ranch parcel.

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