SM County: Diamond Ridge Rezoning Process, Qs & Clarifications!

SM County: Diamond Ridge Rezoning Process, Qs & Clarifications!

San Miguel County and the Town of Telluride have begun the process of rezoning the recently announced Diamond Ridge land acquisition from Forestry, Agriculture, and Open (F) to Community Housing (CH). At the County Planning Commission hearing, held on April 21, 2022, numerous public comments were made. Everyone involved felt it might be helpful for the public to understand the responses to some of those comments in advance of the Board of County Commissioners’ meeting and public hearing, scheduled for Wednesday May 18, 2022, at 9:35 am. Details to attend via Zoom are on

Community Input

San Miguel County has heard consistently from our community over the past and present that it is the responsibility of local governments to create local housing opportunities for the people who work in our communities.

We have also heard and observed that the lack of housing for local workers is one of the greatest threats to our local economy and community, especially during the pandemic when many have been displaced locally and forced to move far away from their place of employment. Many refer to the need for another Lawson Hill-type of development in the East End of the county that would allow local workers and their families to purchase or rent long-term housing close to their jobs. The Diamond Ridge property is a land-banking opportunity to allow for a robust development similar to Lawson’s residential component.

We have been looking for properties close to the employment centers of Telluride and Mountain Village for years and found few available options that could accommodate a development that would allow for a significant number of homes. It has also been our experience that even those who support affordable or deed-restricted Community Housing do not wish for those sorts of properties to be built near them. Further community input will be sought and incorporated into any development that may be proposed in the future for this site – if we are able to acquire the property.

Timing, Process & Due Diligence

Many are confused about where in the process we are for this project. The answer is we are only in the due diligence phase which is just before acquiring this property. We are not close to any development planning stages, which would happen much later. One of the major diligence actions to ensure that we will be able to create meaningful Community Housing in the future by rezoning. Rezoning this portion of the property now would ensure the property can be used for the development of Community Housing in the future.

Many of the questions posed, such as how many homes would be built, how much traffic would be generated, what wildlife mitigation efforts would be implemented, will be determined through detailed study and community input at the development proposal stage, which we will not be able to get to unless we can first rezone this particular piece and acquire the property.

Some have compared this land opportunity to other developments that are being worked on by the towns within our county. However none of the other projects being proposed in towns within the county are in the acquisition/diligence phase like this one. Real estate transactions happen privately for a reason. We have seen that when interest in a property not under contract already is shared, prices can be inflated and that bidding wars driving up the price can happen. Unfortunately, sometimes those with the means buy up property to foreclose the opportunity for others to purchase land and develop it, similar to what is currently happening in Crested Butte.

Deep Creek Road (62L) Evaluation

We are evaluating the potential impacts of any level of development as they relate to Deep Creek Road. Because this project is being built for working families in the R1 area, almost all employment and school vehicle trips will be traveling to the east from this property on Last Dollar Road (T60), and not to the west toward Montrose/Norwood.

Because Deep Creek Road (62L) is a dirt road with several constraints, such as hairpin turns and a 20MPH speed limit, many vehicles would be less likely to choose it even when traveling west. After driving the roads from Diamond Ridge in both directions, we found that the time to travel from the entrance of Diamond Ridge down Deep Creek Road (62L) is 3.5 miles and took 11 minutes and 8 seconds to arrive at Hwy 145. Traveling from the airport road (T60) from Diamond Ridge to the intersection of HWY 145 and 62L was 6.2 miles, but took 10 minutes and 21 seconds, largely due to the 3.5 miles on the highway and the greater speed limits (40-45mph).

Additionally, the time taken to turn right at the intersection of T60 and Hwy145 and go around the roundabout added 53 seconds on average to return to the same point at the T60/HWY 145 intersection.

Rezoning Public Comment

To provide written public comment to the BOCC on the rezoning application prior to the public hearing, fill out the public comment form here:

Alternatively, participants interested in attending the BOCC to comment in-person can join the meeting via Zoom here:

The BOCC public hearing on the rezoning application is scheduled for Wednesday May 18, 2022, at 9:35AM.

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