Eagle County land trade in its final phases
Ryan Summerlin January 8, 2013
Avon Town Council, Jan. 8 regular meeting.
Present: Jake Wolf, Dave Dantas, Chris Evans, Mayor Rich Carroll, Todd Goulding, Jennie Fancher, Buz Reynolds.
What they talked about: Posting places for Avon Urban Renewal Authority public notices.
This piece of business as usual took more than a few seconds when Evans questioned the need for posting notices at Alpine Bank, instead of somewhere with more traffic.
After learning that City Market took down its public bulletin board some time ago, town attorney Eric Heil suggested that just posting notices at civic buildings – town hall, the library and the town recreation center – would probably be the most cost-effective, least-troublesome alternative.
But Wolf said he’d like to have notices posted, in English and Spanish, at a place more likely to be visited by people who may not frequent the civic buildings.
Other council members seemed receptive to the idea, and agreed to talk about a broader policy for posting all town notices at a future meeting.
What happened? The council unanimously approved posting urban renewal authority notices at the civic buildings only – for now.
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Issue: The town’s water supplies.
Who they talked to: Glenn Porzak, an attorney for the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District and the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority.
What they talked about: Porzak gave the council a brief look at how the district and authority work – they essentially operate as one entity – and Avon’s role in the complex operation.
Porzak said the authority and district operate the second-biggest municipal water system on the Western Slope – behind only Grand Junction – drawing water from rivers, reservoirs and wells to fill 270 miles of water mains that vary by 3,000 feet in elevation.
What’s the bottom line? While Porzak and council members talked at length about “acre feet” and “single family equivalents,” here’s what a casual observer needs to know:
The district and authority have enough “in-basin” storage to cover its needs through three consecutive drought years.
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Issue: First reading of an ordinance implementing the Eagle Valley Land Exchange.
Who they talked to: Heil, Eagle County Open Space Coordinator Toby Sprunk and Eagle Valley Land Trust Executive Director Kara Heide.
What it does: Heil explained the document-heavy ordinance, which, among other things, gives Holy Cross Energy continued access to its power lines in the exchange area.
Sprunk reminded the council of the number of parties involved in the deal – including the town, Eagle County, the U.S. Forest Service and the Colorado Land Board.
Approvals are in place for the 1,560 acres involved in the deal, but cash and titles haven’t yet changed hands.
“We’re really, really close,” Sprunk said, adding he expects closing to take place either this month or in February.
How they voted: Unanimously for approval.
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Issue: Update on the town’s settlement with the developers of the Village at Avon project.
Who they talked to: Heil gave a quick look at what’s happening in the final phases of the legal settlement between the town and developers.
Heil said he expects the council to get its first look at the mechanics of a “retail sales fee” for the project at its Jan. 22 meeting. That fee – essentially a .75 percent sales tax increase at Village at Avon stores – will pay the town for maintenance and other service it’s taking over at the Village at Avon.
– Scott N. Miller