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Silverton annexes affordable housing properties in time for election

Anvil Mountain and its 50 residents are now officially a part of the historic town
Silverton Mayor Shane Fuhrman cuts the ribbon at a ceremony Monday celebrating the annexation of the Anvil Mountain development into the town of Silverton. (Courtesy of town of Silverton)

The town of Silverton is officially 1 square mile in size and about 50 residents larger as of last week, when the Board of Trustees approved the second ordinance annexing a development southwest of the town center known as Anvil Mountain.

For years, residents who live in the growing zone just outside Silverton’s town limits have paid for town utilities and contributed to the town’s development. But they have not been able to vote in town elections. The ordinance was passed just in time so that Anvil Mountain residents may vote in the April 2 election, in which four trustee seats and the mayor’s seat are all on the ballot.

“This is a huge step for affordability and making sure it's fair – people who are paying for town services are now able to vote in elections,” said Silverton Town Administrator Gloria Kaasch-Buerger.

There are 27 registered voters in the subdivision as of March 28.

Silverton has a population of 622 according to the 2020 U.S. Census.

The county purchased the Anvil Mountain property in 2003 and has worked with the town to increase the stock of affordable, attainable and market-rate housing. Although the development has been serviced by city utilities since the first apartments were built, annexation was impossible because the town did not border the minimum required one sixth of the property.

That changed in 2022, when the Town of Silverton purchased a 1.2 acre parcel known as the “Zanoni Property.”

“The purchase of the Zanoni Property was that kind of the keystone piece,” Kaasch-Buerger said.

Silverton’s tourism-based economy has felt the squeeze of increasing housing prices in recent years, as low-wage workers struggle to make ends meet. The Anvil Development has both market-rate and deed-restricted houses, as well as a 12-unit low-income apartment complex. Plans to build more deed-restricted single-family homes and an apartment building targeting low-income residents are underway as well.

Rancor has colored recent town elections in Silverton, and Kaasch-Buerger said it was important to the town’s administration that Anvil Mountain residents, many of whom live in the town year-round, be able to vote.

“It's great to see Anvil Mountain Subdivision annexed into the Town so that everyone that lives there can participate in Town elections and run for Town offices,” said San Juan County’s Administrator Willy Tookey in a news release. “It’s about time.”


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