Sterling Ranch hearings begin

Posted 4/14/11

The developers of Sterling Ranch pulled out all the stops in their bid before county commissioners for approval of their village-based development. …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?

Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.


Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.

Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

Sterling Ranch hearings begin


The developers of Sterling Ranch pulled out all the stops in their bid before county commissioners for approval of their village-based development.

Developer Harold Smethills gave his team of experts a chance to weigh in on the development in a video presentation unlike any the county commissioners had seen before. The Sterling Ranch team submitted its verbal presentation in a 40-minute video, hosted by Diane Smethills and featuring narratives from water, economic, transportation and safety experts.

The April 12 presentation was meant to save time as commissioners make the final decision on the development that has been 10 years in the making, Harold Smethills said.

Commissioners were impressed with the presentation, which was not without a few glitches. Technical problems caused the video to continually stop and start during the presentation, a malfunction that did nothing to detract from delivery of the message.

“It was easy to follow and made it a more cohesive presentation,” said Jack Hilbert, Douglas County commissioner, District 1. “We got to hear from all of the experts without people having to get up and down (to approach the podium).”

The video was a culmination of years of work by Smethills, his wife, Diane, and her brother Jack Hoagland. The family partnership is proposing a development of more than 12,000 homes on 3,500 acres of grassland in the Chatfield Valley, bordering Roxborough in Western Douglas County.

Touting its proposal as a community that will set the standard for sustainability, Sterling Ranch is asking commissioners for approval of a development built around homes clustered in villages, with a town center, sports complex, commercial district and 37 percent open space.

Residents in the Chatfield Valley and the neighboring Roxborough community are split in their support of Sterling Ranch. Opponents to the proposal decry the loss of their rural lifestyle while supporters praise the developer’s vision.

Smethills’ vision includes a request before the board for an appeal to the county’s water requirements, to give Smethills permission to purchase water for the development as the area grows. The county’s water requirement historically asks developers to purchase enough water to serve the entire development before breaking ground.

With a 20-year build out, Smethills wants Douglas County to allow him to purchase his water at each plat, or phase, of development. If he is required to purchase enough water for 12,000 houses at the front end, the interest carrying costs would inflate the price of water for homeowners in the subdivision beyond any reasonable rate, he said.

With plans to establish water-saving measures throughout the development, Smethills also asked commissioners to approve a water plan with a reduced per-household rate of consumption.

“We have a robust plan that works,” Smethills said in his video presentation for the public hearing. “We have three different sources of water, any of which can supply all our needs, and used selectively, can provide the most reliable systems for our users at the least cost.”

Planning commissioners previously recommended approval of Smethills’ water appeal but recommended denial of the development. Public comment at the April 12 opening hearing began with supporters who lauded Smethills’ efforts.

Beth Lancaster, a Roxborough resident who is poised to be among the first of the adjacent homeowners to be impacted by Sterling Ranch, praised Sterling Ranch’s willingness to accommodate its neighbors.

“We have met several times with Sterling Ranch and they have shown a lot of good faith working with us,” Lancaster said. “They listen to the wants and needs about open space and views; they’ve taken pictures from our decks. We believe they are trying very hard to accommodate the wants and needs of everyone in our neighborhood.”

Lancaster was among about 90 people who signed up for public comment at the Sterling Ranch hearings. Public hearings are scheduled for four nights and will continue until everyone has had a chance to speak, said Jill Repella, Douglas County commissioner chair, District 3.

Public hearings for Sterling Ranch continue at 6:30 p.m., April 19 and 26, in the commissioners hearing room at 100 Third St. in Castle Rock.


Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.