Disagreement surrounds particulars of Stillwater Ranch project in Silt
SILT, Colo. – The Stillwater Ranch planned unit development is “alive and well,” and trying to come to an agreement with the town over the issue of creating a special district for the development.A special meeting was held late last week, in which Silt town officials, the developers and attorneys discussed the project’s special district, which at least a couple of town board members disagree with.The special district – which includes a taxing district and a service district – is being vehemently opposed by Mayor Dave Moore, who said it is simply lining the pockets of the developers.”Our argument is that we don’t want a special district,” Moore said. “I think it’s unfair to the buyer and unfair for the developer to make such a profit. Districts are good for unincorporated areas.”The Stillwater Ranch development was approved by voters in 1997 to include 1,198 single-family dwelling units and 162 townhomes and condominiums on a 1,472-acre site south of the Colorado River. The development is also slated to include two golf courses, hiking and equestrian trails, a community center, swimming pool and some commercial development.The special district was approved in 1999.Since then, the Stillwater development has had a number of setbacks over the years, including missed deadlines and defaults as well as financing troubles and problems in negotiations with the owners of the property, Valley Farms Inc.Developer Dennis Carruth says the special districts are needed to help with the costs of providing infrastructure in the development that will benefit the whole town.”It will service the entire town, not just Stillwater,” Carruth said. “But the town wants to diminish (the district’s) scope.A district is typically formed to provide infrastructure and services such as a central water system, said attorney Lee Leavenworth of Leavenworth & Karp, which is representing Valley Farms Inc.”The reason they want a special district in Stillwater is because it’s very expensive and the costs of the capital improvements will benefit more than Stillwater,” Leavenworth said. “It’s important to protect the property owners in the district. The mill levy would be capped. The three big items are the benefit to the town, that the mill levy would be capped and there would be disclosure at the time of sale as to what that cap would be. Without a district, (the lot prices are) going to be a lot higher.”Stillwater has also been granted an extension by Valley Farms Inc. to show evidence of financing for the project. A Dec. 7, 2006, deadline with Valley Farms Inc. had been set, but has now been extended until Aug. 15, 2007.”Stillwater has worked very, very hard in the last six to eight months trying to get the development in a more modern form from 10 years ago,” said Michael Sawyer, a partner at Leavenworth & Karp. “In light of these efforts, we’ve agreed to give them more time.”The town will decide whether to approve, disapprove or limit the special district at its next town meeting on Monday, Nov. 27.But after nearly 11 years and a lot of questions on the part of residents as to whether it will ever come to fruition, the project is still on the books.”Stillwater is alive and well,” Moore said. “We’d like to have it done completely without districts and we’re coming closer to a resolution on whether we will or will not allow a district or if it will be limited.”Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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