A step back for Village at Avon? | VailDaily.com

A step back for Village at Avon?

AVON, Colorado – By the end of Monday’s meeting of the Avon Planning and Zoning Commission, the vote seemed inevitable. The result: A recommendation that the Avon Town Council deny a land use plan for the Village at Avon.

The Town Council has for nearly a year been working on a settlement agreement with Village at Avon developers, with the goal of resolving a pair of lawsuits dating back to 2009. That settlement agreement also includes multiple changes to the original land-use plan, initially approved by the town in 1998.

Those changes have drawn a lot of drawn-out discussion, from both the planning commission and Town Council. Some of the changes, particularly those affecting the property between the Traer Creek Plaza building and the rodeo grounds, have sparked stiff opposition from residents and property owners just across the railroad tracks.

Both commission members and neighbors said their biggest worry is uncertainty about what might be built in that area.

“I left a meeting (with the developers) not knowing whether I’m buying a Prius or 10 monster trucks,” neighbor Paul Maloney said.

There was also plenty of uncertainty about a proposal in the settlement agreement that would allow the developers in some cases to bypass the town’s subdivision process when selling property. The settlement agreement proposes that those sales – which developers’ attorney Munsey Ayers called “small” transactions – be approved by town staff, instead of the usual requirement of sending a proposal through the planning commission and Town Council.

Commission members and town engineer Justin Hildreth wondered if the settlement language would allow the developers to build substandard roads or structures without going through the normal channels.

“The language as drafted affects only the conveyance of property,” Ayers said. “It has nothing to do with the professional review of anything else.”

By the end of the five-hour meeting, commission members said they were ready to send recommendations on an 11-item list in the settlement term sheet to the council, but simply hadn’t had the time to take a comprehensive look at the land-use amendments. Commission member Phil Struve noted it took the commission 18 months to get through the proposal for the Westin Riverfront Resort proposal.

While Struve recommended delaying a vote on the land-use changes, Ayers said that the timetable for getting the settlement done required the commission to vote Monday.

“We’re requesting a decision, on that basis alone,” Ayers said. “We have a finish line that we have to hit by a certain date.”

While those in the audience applauded the planning commission decision, the Town Council has the final say. That board is scheduled to vote late next month whether to approve or deny the settlement agreement.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or smiller@vaildaily.com.