There are a lot of things to consider when building a home in Solterra, but perhaps none as important as picking the right lot (or land). Consider the following when building your Solterra home.
- Placement of the Home – This is a catch 22 in Solterra. Homes facing true North often have some of the most epic views. The exception is homes facing East with direct Western views of the Hog Back and Red Rocks. Most homes are situated so that your backyard is much larger than your front yard, meaning Southern exposure year-round on the largest part of your yard. Another consideration is utilities. Most Solterra homes are Energy Star rated and built very tight, meaning that Southern exposure on your primary living areas will naturally heat the home throughout the day, even on colder Colorado days. Home fronts facing North present challenges with snow and ice throughout the winter.
- Views –If views aren’t your thing, then consider a South or West facing front for snow/ice considerations. If views are your thing, spend some time on your future lot and due some line-of-sight tests taking into consideration future homes. The thing about views is if you don’t have them, at some point you will be over at a neighbor’s house, and you will be a little jealous. Just saying.
- Negative Views – Does your home have a direct view of C470 or Bandimere, maybe powerlines? Consider which way the back of your home is facing to make sure your positive views are accentuated, and the negative views are minimized.
- Lot Size – It may be worth paying a lot premium for a more considerable lot. You will have more room around you, more privacy, and a larger backyard. You will recoup this expense and then some if/when you sell your home.
- Walkout Lot – A walkout foundation will expose the back half of your foundation and add an access door from the basement to your yard. It will also make your upper patio into a deck, where you may need to add stairs to access the yard. Walkouts have a lot of pros and a few cons. The advantages are that they typically face South or West off the back of the home in Solterra, meaning you will have much better views (Mt Morrison, Red Rocks). The cons are that it takes longer to access your backyard, especially if you grill a lot.
- Bandimere Noise – Bandimere Speedway, also known in the NHRA as Thunder Mountain, is a quarter-mile dragstrip located just outside Morrison, nestled up against the Hog Back. It opened in 1958 and plays host to the NHRA’s Mile-High Nationals. The facility has a seating capacity of 23,500 spectators. Bandimere was here way before Solterra. When they selected their location, there was barely any housing within view of the facility, and C-470 didn’t exist. Bandimere noise is a consideration when purchasing lots. Sound breaks over distance, so homes that are located further West in the development would likely record higher decibel levels from the track. Homes further East and North in the development are slightly more insulated from the noise. My recommendation is to spend a Saturday at your lot site in the Summer on the area of your lot; you will be spending the most time outdoors. If you can handle short bursts of noise, then you are OK. Just remember that everyone in the neighborhood, even the “Parade” homes deal with Bandimere noise, and most residents are not bothered by it and call it “the sound of summer.”
- Wind – Is it windier in Solterra? I guess this is pretty debatable. Windier than most of central Denver? Yes. Windier than other parts of the West Metro area? No. The challenge with newer developments is exposed “bare” dirt and not enough large trees to serve as windbreaks. The most wind comes from North and West. Consider wind protection of your lot. Most lots located just East of the Retreat and just South of Green Mt are a bit more protected.
- Privacy – larger lots, end of cul-de-sac lots, and especially lots that back to open space will give your home much more privacy. If homes behind you sit higher than you, and the back of their homes are directed towards you, this can create a “fishbowl” effect. Well placed trees can maximize your privacy if other homes surround you. Consider a premium lot if you want additional privacy.
- Proximity to Amenities – How close is your home to Solterra parks and the Retreat clubhouse, and how important is that to you? Solterra has a fantastic network of hiking and biking trails – positioning yourself closer to the trails can add significant value to your home.
- Water Tower – The famous Solterra water tower doesn’t have any water inside. It was used to promote the Parade of Homes in 2008. Do you mind seeing the water tower in your view? Teens do hang around this area, doing what teens do.
- Clay Mine – Did you realize that Solterra has an active clay mine? The clay mine, called the Chieftain Mine, is operated by General Shale Brick (the old Robinson Brick Company). It will continue to operate until the supply of clay is fully mined. They have been mining some of those clay deposits for over one hundred and thirty years. The mining method is strip mining using scrapers (the same equipment that is used to contour the land in the housing development) and bulldozers. It’s a pretty benign method, and the most significant concern might be dust blowing off the exposed clay.
Solterra home builders are now down to just Brookfield homes, and the 72 single family and 82 townhomes will be the last in the community. Ryan Penn has assisted his clients in the build of over 30 homes in Solterra alone. His experience could be the difference between picking the wrong lot, floorplan, and upgrades.
You may want to consider buying a Solterra home that is already complete.