Avon’s deal not that bad
The town doesn’t lose in the arrangement, though it doesn’t exactly make a killing either. The deal is complicated, to be sure, but the town does have some immediate benefits.
One is that the developer is handling the costs of the roads and other infrastructure – and paying the town for maintenance such as snow plowing, bus service and administration of the bond debt funded by the sales tax the town will not get for 12 to 20 years. The town will reap the property tax, and gain a full interchange off Interstate 70. There are other nuggets, as well, such as funding for East Beaver Creek Boulevard work.
The county actually will collect its 1.5 percent sales tax share immediately. Twenty percent of that goes to the county trails fund.
So we were unduly harsh in our assessment yesterday using the pejorative “grease the works” for the superstores.
It remains our deduction, however, that the developer played the town well, as surely we’d do if in the same position. The county, where the developers began their process toward approval and which of course never reached a decision point, was just vague enough as far as the town was concerned that Avon officials never felt much confidence that they had real leverage with the Village at Avon developers.
Avon officials looked at Edwards and their sense that the county hadn’t said no to any large development in some time, which fueled their unease. A backdrop was rancor left over from the county declining to help fund the construction of roundabouts in town. The specter of another Edwards shopping district, this one right next door, was enough in our view for Avon not to apply quite as much leverage as it might have, looking from the comfort of retrospect.
They felt they made the best deal they could under the circumstances. The county told the developers to work with Avon on the project, but the possibility yet hung that there were other options to build on the site if the town weren’t quite reasonable enough.
In any case, that’s relatively ancient history now, before the times of current council members and county commissioners, who we believe might be more inclined today to help with town roundabouts.
The upshot is that the town’s deal with Traer Creek isn’t really so bad. The residual benefits of better prices for consumers and keeping more shoppers and their dollars at home instead of spent in Grand Junction or the Front Range are less obvious blessings.
But yes, the entrance of the next evolutionary step in commerce to the mid-valley is also a another signal of suburbia creeping a mite close for comfort in a mountain town. D.R.