Builder takes on Avon incumbents |

Builder takes on Avon incumbents

Nicole Frey

AVON ” Magnus Lindholm and Traer Creek LLC, developer of the Village at Avon, has come out opposing any Avon Town Council candidates currently involved with town government.

But candidates Mayor Ron Wolfe, Councilman Brian Sipes and Planning and Zoning Commissioner Chris Green say they aren’t bothered by the lack of support from the developer of Wal-Mart and The Home Deport.

“I think people are smart enough and know enough about council … to not be swayed by Magnus’ biased views,” Wolfe said.

Lindholm has come out supporting challengers Karri Willemssen, Dave Dantas and Rich Carroll; and former town councilman Pete Buckley.

“While we have no expectation that (they) will always agree with us, we are confident that their priorities of making Avon good for working families will be better than what citizens are now getting from the current leadership,” Lindholm said in a letter.

Lindholm and Traer Creek executive Dan Leary did not return the Vail Daily’s phone calls. Those endorsed said they were flattered by the support.

“But I’m glad he acknowledged we’re not always going to agree,” Carroll said.

The relationship between Traer Creek and Avon started out amicably enough eight years ago, but has since disintegrated, Lindholm said.

“The election of certain council members has made this relationship frustrating and unworkable,” said Lindholm’s letter, which was published in the Vail Daily.

Wolfe said not supporting candidates Sipes and Green shows “a very vindictive, unreasonable and unbalanced point of view.”

But they aren’t fazed.

“I have a lot of faith in the Avon voters,” Sipes said. “”They’re not buying into the whininess.”

Councilwoman Tamra Nottintham Underwood said she saw the letter as “one piece of a multi-pronged trashy approach to a campaign by Magnus Lindholm, by which he is seriously undermining the democratic process.”

Lindholm’s letter also maintained the town hindered further development of the Village at Avon, and has been greeted with outrage from several town councilors.

“I felt it was very unfair and very misguided and misleading,” Councilwoman Kristi Ferraro said. “He said he’s trying to help working families, but he will not pay for transit to go to Wal-Mart and (The) Home Depot or to go to Buffalo Ridge.”

Lindholm specifically slammed council’s delay approving a water tank necessary for the Village at Avon’s future growth, but councilors maintained it was Traer Creek that slowed the process by taking a year to resubmit the tank’s proposal.

“We have a hugely detailed contract from 1998, and both Magnus and the town council agree that we have to scrupulously follow that contract,” Wolfe said. “And we’re doing it, but he doesn’t want to wrap his head around it.”

Of course, changes can be made to the agreement, but proper procedure must be adhered to. “If he thinks he can put four people into the town council who will not follow the laws, he’s foolish,” Wolfe said. “We’re not going to do that.”

Wolfe also said Lindholm would sue the town if he truly believed there was wrongdoing on the town’s part. Whether Wolfe gains another term on council or not, he said he’s certain the council will continue to follow the agreement between the town and Traer Creek.

But candidate Pete Buckley said Lindolm’s letter was accurate and warranted because Traer Creek has been treated unfairly.

“That needs to be fixed, and that’s what four new people on council could do,” Buckley said.

But Lindholm’s not the only one calling for new blood on council. George Pakozdi, the president of the Avon Center Home Owners Association, wants Sipes and Wolfe out, saying they made poor decisions about development.

“I’m not questioning the motive, but the judgments they’ve made,” Pakozdi said from his home in Canada. Pakozdi spends about three months of the year in Avon and Beaver Creek.

Pakozdi was first upset by council’s approval of a development of Lot 61, south of the Avon Center, but has since disapproved of the council’s condemnation of land on the Avon Town Square to make room for a railroad crossing. And while the mayor didn’t vote on either issue, Pakozdi thought he could have swayed the council.

“Wolfe was not helpful, and there were several times where I felt his help would have been all it took,” Pakozdi said. “As mayor, he bares some responsibility for what happened.”

Both decisions have led to lawsuits.

“As a taxpayer, I’m incensed at how the council has involved the town of Avon in these litigious issues,” Pakozdi said. “In as great a place as the valley is, Avon just has to look east and west and ask ‘How did that pass us by?'”

Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 748-2927 or

Vail, Colorado

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