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Southward Expansion

The metro area's newest burb starts development south of Chatfield Reservoir.

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Attention, families flocking to the southern suburbs for good schools, low crime rates, and easy access to the foothills: Highlands Ranch is officially full. Founded in 1981, the neighborhood will see construction on its final homes completed in the next five years. Fortunately, the coveted burb’s successor broke ground in June. Situated just southeast of Chatfield and Roxborough state parks, Sterling Ranch’s 12,000 homes will have sidewalk access to more than 30 miles of in-neighborhood trails that connect to the parks. Homeowners will also get annual Colorado State Parks passes every year (the cost is wrapped into the neighborhood’s HOA fees). “We want to embrace the natural assets that surround the development,” says Jim Yates, president and CFO of Sterling Ranch. “Our plan just makes the park passes part of moving into the community.” Sterling Ranch has been on the drawing board for more than a decade. That’s how long it took to piece together management plans for schools, roads, and—the biggest sticking point—water. Finding enough H20 to keep 12,000 more lawns green in an already arid part of the state required some fancy finagling, both bureaucratically and technologically. But a joint agreement with the South Metro Water Supply Authority, Denver Water, and Aurora Water allowed Sterling Ranch to overcome the burden it might place on local aquifers with a system that captures and reuses treated Denver and Aurora wastewater from the South Platte River. Now that a solid blueprint is in place, construction this summer will mark the first of three building phases, with move-ins scheduled for spring 2016. Southward, ho!

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