I retired from Caterpillar Inc. after 30 years of designing and developing construction equipment for customers around the world. I first visited Silverthorne in 1978 and have enjoyed the Summit County wilderness almost every year since. After watching Silverthorne’s growth as a visitor for so many years, my family decided that Silverthorne was the best place in the world to make our permanent home.
Silverthorne is a vibrant town with a great past, present and future but with challenges that come with growth. While I support growth, Silverthorne needs to ensure there is a viable infrastructure plan to support that growth. Infrastructure needs include affordable housing and child care for people who work in the community, planning streets and highways for growth, traffic management, postal services and municipal services.
Priority no. 1: Infrastructure
I will work to develop a 20-year infrastructure plan in cooperation with the relevant county, state, and federal government agencies. This plan :
- Align with population, housing, visitor and business growth plan.
- Troubleshoot exit 205 interchange issues and plan for traffic growth.
- Improve traffic management based on traffic growth.
- Develop roads, water, sewer and other municipal service infrastructure prior to growth.
- Improve postal service in line with population growth and parcel delivery.
Priority No. 2: Housing
I will prioritize increasing the availability of affordable housing by:
- Address zoning issues that limit affordable housing density.
- Encourage builders and tenants to develop affordable housing.
- Encourage secondary suites in homes and businesses.
- Identify low-use real estate areas for affordable housing development.
Priority #3: Childcare
I will work to improve access to affordable child care by:
- Support the joint effort of Silverthorne and Summit County to develop Smith Ranch Daycare.
- Ensure the availability of affordable housing for workers involved in child care.
Because Silverthorne sits at a major crossroads with other communities and is part of thriving Summit County, Silverthorne’s growth cannot be managed in isolation. We must cooperate with other government entities at the city, county, state and federal level.
Each issue must be recognized and addressed in a cooperative manner that treats all stakeholders fairly. While managing growth and making investments in affordable housing and infrastructure, the rights of current residents and owners must be considered and balanced. We need to plan for growth rather than react to it.
Growth is fun and exciting, but we need to have a viable plan in place to ensure our infrastructure supports the growth we want to achieve.
Zach Kauk is running for one of four open seats on Silverthorne City Council.