AVON, Colorado - After years of legal wrangling the town of Avon and the developers of the Village at Avon Tuesday announced they had agreed on the "major issues" of the case, paving the way for a final out-of-court settlement.
The settlement involves the town and Traer Creek LLC and the Traer Creek Metropolitan District, the two legal entities representing the developers of the 1,800-acre Village at Avon. The settlement also includes BNP Paribas, an international bank that holds a letter of credit that's currently paying the developers' debt to bondholders who financed the project.
The cornerstone of the settlement is an ordinance passed Nov. 7 by the Avon Town Council. That ordinance makes several changes to the development's land-use approvals that date to 1998.
While early January dates on a potential trial still remain on the calendar of District Court Judge Tom Moorhead, a status conference last week put several pre-trial hearings on hold. A press release from the town and Peeples Ink, a local public relations firm working for BNP Paribas, stated that the delay in the pre-trial activity will "allow the parties to focus on the additional work that is needed to finalize the settlement."
According to an email approved by attorneys representing both sides of the case, that work includes finishing and finalizing several documents, including paperwork that will allow the developers to re-issue revenue bonds for the project.
According to the email, the parties will ask Moorhead to dismiss the litigation when those bonds are issued.
The legal battle is also on hold depending on whether those who opposed the town ordinance mount a legal challenge to the measure. That challenge would be in the form of a petition drive to force a special election, asking voters to uphold or overturn the ordinance. Opponents have 30 days after the ordinance's final publication to gather enough signatures.
According to the release, dismissing the pair of lawsuits - the town and the developers sued each other, starting in 2008 - "will enable the town to receive additional revenues to fund the services it provides. Traer Creek Metropolitan District can refinance its existing bonds with support by BNP Paribas. The settlement will also allow the Upper Eagle River Water Authority to construct a 2 million gallon water storage tank to serve the community. Development of The Village at Avon can continue when settlement is completed."
Representatives of both sides in the dispute said they believe the settlement will be a benefit to the developers and town residents.
"The Avon Town Council passage of (the ordinance) represents significant progress toward realizing a solution to the disputes among the parties. By reaching these agreements, the town is demonstrating its commitment to a cooperative relationship where all parties benefit as more development occurs," Avon Mayor Rich Carroll said.
"Ideally, when these issues are resolved, hopefully soon after the first of the year, the pending litigation can be formally dismissed," said Marcus Lindholm, principal for Traer Creek LLC. "This settlement will restart a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship which brings economic development, quality projects and jobs to the Avon community."