A lawsuit claiming the Town of Silverthorne incorrectly categorized a Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse plan for the town was filed Thursday. The suit was filed by attorney Rob Waterman on behalf of two Silverthorne residents and two individuals who claim they'll be negatively affected by the development.
Named plaintiffs in the case are Deborah Fort and Pamela Bent of Silverthorne and Timothy Reidy and Margaret Schweri of Mesa Cortina, an area of unincorporated Summit County located above the Lowe's site.
The suit centers on a planning technicality, claiming the town incorrectly categorized Lowe's as a hardware store, according to the documents Waterman filed Thursday. Labeled as a hardware store, Lowe's is considered a “use by right” entity and is guaranteed the right to conduct business in Silverthorne. Other designations for a C-1 Light Commercial Zone District, such as “lumberyard” or “building materials,” would put Lowe's in a “conditional use” category that does not guarantee the right to do business and gives town officials more negotiating power, Waterman said. His argument is based on town ordinance, section 4-4-17, which outlines designations for C-1 and C-2 zones.
The new Lowe's is slated to begin construction next spring and open its doors in early 2012, but the approval process has not gone uncontested. Some local residents have voiced disapproval of the project based on claims that traffic will increase, the town will lose aesthetic charm and the local economy will be affected by the big-box running out smaller competition. On Sept. 22, the Silverthorne Town Council approved the final details of the site plan, allowing Lowe's to proceed with construction.