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October 18, 2012
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No conspiracy in Homestead, officials say

EDWARDS, Colorado - Depending on your perspective, it's either wonderful or terrible that no one will build a BMX track in open space above Homestead.

But no one will.

In a letter to the editor and on a campaign sign outside the Gashouse in Edwards, landowner Barbara Allen alleges a conspiracy to build a bicycle motocross track on dedicated open space near Homestead. Allen owns 80 acres above that "L."

It won't happen, ever, said Toby Sprunk and Tracy Erickson.

Sprunk is Eagle County's open space coordinator and Erickson is with the Homestead homeowners association.

"I can guarantee you that the Homestead PUD documents prohibit anything like a BMX track," Erickson said.

"(I'm) Delighted to hear that a BMX track is prohibited on conservation easements," said Barbara Allen, who raised the issue with campaign signs attacking county commissioner candidate Jon Stavney. Allen adds that she'll continue to campaign against Stavney, an incumbent Democrat running against Republican Courtney Holm.

L-uvva upheaval

The charges and counter-charges revolve around the Homestead L, 166 acres of open space the county bought with $3.25 million in Eagle County open space funds.

The campaign signs and allegations about it have created an ... ahem, L-Uvva stir.

The anti-Stavney campaign signs allege that an "Undisclosed Stavney-Godec plan puts too much traffic on Homestead" and encourage the Body Politic not to re-elect Stavney.

Allen owns 80 acres above that "L" and is in a long-running legal battle with the Homestead Homeowners Association over access.

"The claim is strange enough that I intended to let it lie," Stavney wrote in a letter to the Daily. "Unfortunately many supporters of mine have asked what it is. As for the 'undisclosed,' one must assume a 'nefarious' plan that Dan Godec and the Eagle Valley Land Trust have been working diligently on, I don't work that way, and neither does the Land Trust."

Allen says she's motivated by three things:

• She wants to keep her 80 acres and says there will be no large development. She said she's planning on three homes and an engineer is designing a road to accommodate that.

• She says she wants to protect elk habitat.

• She says she wants to keep excessive traffic off Homestead.

When the county acquired the 160-acre Homestead "L", it built a parking lot to accommodate 12 vehicles and horse trailers. Nothing more is planned, Sprunk said, dismissing the notion of a massive parking lot in Homestead.

Allen also alleges in her letter that the legal agreement between the county and Homestead is fraudulent because a map in it does not include her 50-foot wide road easement.

An L-uvva deal

A memorandum of understanding between Eagle County and the Homestead Homeowners Association does not address her road issue because it doesn't need to, Sprunk said. Her road easement runs through the Homestead open space, not the Homestead "L".

"The memorandum of understanding called for the county to buy the Homestead L," he said.

Additional to the $3.25 million "L" deal, Creamery Gulch homeowners donated 24 acres, and Homestead put 120 adjoining acres under a conservation easement.

"The conservation easement doesn't change her right to build an ag road to her property. That's her right," Sprunk said.

Allen began cutting an agricultural road to her property prior to the conservation easement, Sprunk said.

That work started on a Saturday morning, Erickson said. The county issued a stop work order on Monday because the county had not issued a grading permit, Sprunk said. On Tuesday the Homestead Homeowners Association got a court injunction ordering that work stop on the ag road.

Lawsuits ensued and are working their way through the legal system even as we speak.

"We're in legal proceedings with her and have been for the last year and a half," Erickson said.

In fact they all had a status conference a few weeks ago. The status is that lawyers are still lawyering.

No one is saying a road cannot be built, Sprunk said.

"The road easement exists in the title agreement," Sprunk said.

If or how a road gets built depends on how she wants to use the property, Erickson said.

Allen is approved to build up to 20 homes on her 80-acre property, according to the agreement between Allen and Homestead.

Allen would have to build the road to the lowest standards to accommodate that under the county's road standards. The road would not have to be paved, but would need to be crowned and have ditches.

Also, that road could only serve only that 80-acre parcel and no other property, the agreement says.

"If she came in to ask for a permit to build a house, and she met all the requirements, she'd be given a building permit," said Bob Naracci, Eagle County's community development director.

You won't be driving a motorized vehicle across that L or the adjoining open space either.

"The only motorized access is for county employees or contractors doing work on the property. No one other motorized vehicles can do that," Sprunk said.

"If she came in to ask for a permit to build a house, and she met all the requirements, she'd be given a building permit," said Bob Naracci, Eagle County's community development director.

You won't be driving a motorized vehicle across that L or the adjoining open space either.

"The only motorized access is for county employees or contractors doing work on the property. No one other motorized vehicles can do that," Sprunk said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Oct 18, 2012 09:16PM Published Oct 18, 2012 09:16PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.