Avon: Fire district still shopping for land | VailDaily.com

Avon: Fire district still shopping for land

AVON, Colorado ” The Eagle River Fire Protection District is apparently still eyeing land around Avon in an attempt to avoid the condemnation that it has already initiated.

The district is trying to find a new place for the Avon fire station, which is being squeezed out by Avon’s downtown redevelopment.

Chief Charlie Moore said the district “continues to explore all possible alternatives” to using eminent domain powers.

“We’d absolutely prefer to find a willing seller,” Moore said.

Nonetheless, the district has already begun the legal process to condemn a 1-acre parcel of land on Nottingham Road, across the street from Avon’s Pizza Hut, for the new station. The landowner, Jim Pavelich, has said he will fight the condemnation attempt.

Eminent domain powers allow governments to take land for public uses, paying “just compensation.”

“Mr. Pavelich and his family have asked us to continue to explore alternatives,” Moore said.

Pavelich said he’s encouraged by that sentiment but wondered if the district will really find a willing seller.

“Is it rhetoric, or do they really mean it?” he said. “Everybody’s a willing seller at market price, but we’re miles apart on my land valuation. … I don’t see how a willing seller is going to pop up.”

Moore said the district has ruled out using the “Traer Creek site” ” near Wal-Mart ” that it owns because it’s too far from central Avon. It has also eliminated the possibility of using a vacant lot at 730 Nottingham Road, Moore said.

A draft report by a fire district consultant says the Nottingham Road area is the best place for a new station.

Other potential options include:

– The western edge of Beaver Creek’s East Day Lot. Fire officials have eyed this site, but Beaver Creek Chief Operating Officer John Garnsey said Monday that Vail Resorts wouldn’t sell the land because it would eliminate about 100 parking spaces.

“We’ve come to the conclusion, at least from our side, that the parking there is too valuable today to give up for as much space as they need,” Garnsey said.

– The Red House lot, owned by Vail Resorts, at the Beaver Creek roundabout. Vail Resorts Development Company President Keith Fernandez said Monday he would talk to the fire district soon about a potential deal. But fire officials cited size constraints and traffic problems at the site.

– Oscar Tang owns more than 10 acres of vacant land across Nottingham Road from Pavelich’s lot. Pavelich has cited this land as being cheaper than his because it’s farther from the interstate interchange.

Tang’s lawyer Jay Peterson said a development proposal will soon be submitted to the town of Avon. Condos, duplexes, a Montessori school and a science school are planned for the land.

– The Christie Lodge. Moore said the district has explored a partnership with the lodge in conjunction with its planned redevelopment. But a Christie Lodge spokeswoman said last week no development plans are in the immediate future.

– Land owned by Traer Creek LLC near City Market. A residential-commercial complex is planned for the land, which stretches to Wal-Mart. Magnus Lindholm, who manages Traer Creek LLC, said the company has not been approached about the fire district using the western part of his land for a fire station. But fire officials said the area is too congested for a fire station.

Moore has emphasized that eminent domain is a last resort.

“Even though we filed the eminent domain petition, we’re still looking at other options,” Moore said.

He added that the fire district is not considering condemning any land besides Pavelich’s.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.

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