Silt development project is dead in water | PostIndependent.com

Silt development project is dead in water

Heidi Rice
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

SILT, Colorado ” Dennis Carruth was visibly upset when he informed the Silt Town Board Tuesday night that the long-awaited Stillwater Ranch subdivision was officially dead.

The project has been a dream of Carruth’s ” and a vision for the town of Silt ” for nearly 13 years.

Carruth was one of the principal developers of SWD, LLC, who has been planning the nearly 1,500 acre development south of Silt since 1995. Voters approved the subdivision in 1997, and it was slated to include nearly 1,200 single-family homes, 162 multi-family dwelling units, two golf courses, hiking and equestrian trails, schools, a community center, a swimming pool and 46 acres of commercial space.

Stillwater Ranch has had a number of setbacks over the years with delays, financing issues, missed deadlines, changes, amendments, broken promises and agreements ” not to mention the thousands of dollars spent by both SWD and the town of Silt for work on the project.

When asked how he felt after all these years spent on the project and to see it no longer in existence, Carruth had one question back.

“How do you think I might feel?” he asked in return.

The cancellation of the project was due to yet another missed deadline by SWD to purchase the property from Valley Farms Inc., of Texas.

“We had until Nov. 15 (2007) to purchase the land from Valley Farms, but by paying more money and buying a commercial parcel, we were able to get an extension to April 15 (2008),” Carruth said.

But the April deadline came and went and with the unstable economy and tough financial times, SWD was unable to meet that deadline. Valley Farms terminated the contract on April 15.

What will happen to the property in the future will now be between the town of Silt and Valley Farms Inc. The town has directed staff and the town attorney to look at what will happen to the entitlements ” the various approvals given over the years; the road repairs made by the town; and whether or not the property should be de-annexed.

There has been no infrastructure or homes built on the property. The only improvements made have been the construction of some ditches and culverts.

Although SWD and the town have had differences over the years regarding Stillwater Ranch, both had nothing but nice things to say to each other in the end.

Mayor Dave Moore, who has taken issue with Stillwater’s missed deadlines in the past, said that, personally, he felt regret that the project would not be happening for Silt. And when asked whether the announcement was surprising, he said “yes and no.”

“The economy played a huge part in this decision,” Moore said, while wishing SWD all the best. “We were all looking forward to coming in and bringing in all the amenities that had been approved.”

Moore shook Carruth’s hand after the announcement.

“He came down here to give his farewell declaration when it would have been a lot easier to send an e-mail,” Moore said, adding that after all the times Carruth had come to Silt to shake his hand, he wanted to come over and shake Carruth’s.

Carruth also felt gratitude for all the time spent with the town.

“I thought the town was very understanding and compassionate in their response,” Carruth said. “That felt good.”

The future of the property is still unknown and the staff will research what the next steps will be. Moore says, in his opinion, the land will likely still be used for development, but maybe in a smaller scale.

“It’s too valuable to be put back into agriculture,” he said. “I think the town of Silt will need it in the future. I do not see this thing being totally trashed, but maybe more realistic and done in bite-sized portions. I see maybe a couple of hundred acres at a time because right now the demographics don’t justify a huge subdivision coming to town.”


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