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Harold Smethills, the visionary behind the new water-efficient,
sustainable Sterling Ranch community in northwest Douglas County,
was selected Industry Leader for Residential Real Estate in Denver
Business Journal's Power Book 2011 awards.
The Journal noted that Smethills, who has been building
successful companies his entire career, is on a mission to build
metro Denver's largest housing development in years with 12,050
"We're basically creating a whole new city and all the services
that go with it," Smethills, managing director of the community
that will be home to 31,000 residents in 20 years, told the
Smethills and the principals of family-owned Sterling
Ranch-Diane Smethills and Jack Hoagland-spent nearly a decade
meeting with neighbors, local business groups and public officials
before winning approval of the $4.3 billion project from the
Douglas County Commissioners in May.
Making the Sterling Ranch community Colorado's most
water-efficient is key for Smethills, a former Adolph Coors senior
executive who shaped his water conservation and sustainability
thinking under beer patriarch William Coors.
The county commissioners in a unanimous vote approved
integrating water conservation into land planning and thereby
reducing the county's historic water requirements by almost half.
The Sterling Ranch approach to conservation and land planning is
Smethills said Sterling Ranch never could have made it without
the people who contributed to the vision for water efficiency,
sustainability and innovative solutions to regional problems.
Smethills credited the state legislature for changing Colorado
water law to permit rainwater harvesting, the Colorado Water
Conservation Board for naming Sterling Ranch the state's first
rainwater harvesting pilot project, the Denver Botanic Gardens for
helping Sterling Ranch demonstrate that water demand can be
dramatically reduced, the Douglas County staff for developing water
conservation plans with Sterling Ranch, and the many neighbors who
testified at public hearings in support of the new community.
"At the end of the day," Smethills said, "it took the courage
and leadership of the Douglas County Commissioners who stood up for
water conservation by unanimously approving Sterling Ranch's zoning
and water appeal."
Sterling Ranch, located between Chatfield and Roxborough state
parks, expects to begin construction late next year on the new
community, which will promote Colorado's outdoor lifestyle by
preserving 37% of the land for open space and creating 30 miles of
hiking, biking and horseback-riding trails.
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