Sterling Ranch sets up governing structure

7 metro districts to run unincorporated community

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After receiving approval for development from the Douglas County commissioners in July, Sterling Ranch took another step forward in late August as the commissioners unanimously approved a proposed governing structure.

With plans to break ground by the end of the year on a 12,050-home community — which will include 2.7 million square feet of commercial property, on 3,400 acres northeast of Roxborough State Park and south of Chatfield — the unincorporated development will be governed by the 11-member Sterling Ranch Community Authority Board.

The CAB, as it will be known, will be made up of five representatives from a management district and one property owner from each of the community’s six financing districts. Each of the financing districts will be governed by a citizen-elected, five-person board, with one director from each district serving on the CAB.

The districts, working together, will take care of planning, financing and maintaining improvements throughout the community, including street improvements, traffic and safety controls, water, storm water drainage and sanitation improvements, parks and recreation, transportation and fire protection, among other services.

“Because of the size and nature of this development, we believe that the CAB board, and the districts working together through the CAB board, need to have the flexibility to provide all improvements the community should need,” said Sterling Ranch attorney MaryAnn McGeady. “The districts would have, through the CAB board, the ability to phase construction to meet the needs of the development over time.”

Once Sterling Ranch is established, there is a strong possibility that the districts will consolidate to one governing district, similar to how Highlands Ranch went from five metro districts originally to one, McGeady said. Unlike Highlands Ranch, however, there will not be a master homeowners association.

“The districts will have the authority to coordinate covenant enforcement and provide common areas and maintenance,” McGeady said. “That is all anticipated to be paid out of property taxes, so there is not going to be an added fee for services. ... Those services may also include centralized trash collection and landfill service.”

South Metro Fire Rescue and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will provide Sterling Ranch with emergency services, and a hospital is in the community’s master plan.

According to Sterling Ranch spokesman Randy Pye, there are no plans to incorporate once the community reaches build-out.

“Our residents will be provided services that are provided to all residents in unincorporated Douglas County through their property taxes,” he said.

“The county can provide certain services, but services that go beyond what the county can provide is why we are organizing these districts,” McGeady added. “We are excited about the details of this project and how we put this together.”

Revenues that will fund metro district services will be collected from property taxes, system development fees, and public improvement fees, she said.

The estimated infrastructure costs for the life of the project are $800 million. The development was approved by the commissioners on Aug. 27 to carry a maximum of $1.8 billion in debt.