Councilman: Vote no on Avon ballot question
Avon CO, Colorado
On Tuesday, May 6, the Town of Avon will be having a special election to change way the town sells, exchanges or leases properties that the town owns. Presently, if real estate that the town owns is to be sold the voters must approve the sale through a ballot question and vote. If this May 6 ballot question passes, the sale only needs to be approved by the Avon Town Council. This applies to all land that is owned by the town including: parks, open space, property where municipal buildings sit, public works properties.
The reason that the change is before the voters is to make negotiations with developers of the Main Street area easier. The master plan for Main Street has roads being straightened and parts of park land being developed.
There are three criteria the council has to follow to sell town land: 1. the transaction will be consistent with the stated planning objectives of the town. 2. The appraised value of the interest in the real property or buildings or the value of the other consideration to be received by the town is substantially equal to or greater than the appraised value of the interest in real property or buildings or the value of other consideration to be given by the town. 3. The transaction will provide a long-term economic cultural or social benefit for the town.
Goals No. 1 and 2 are subjective. These goals can change with the hot political topic of the time. The problem with this ballot question is that there are no limits on the property the town can sell.
Other towns let their councils make the decision on selling certain types of land but park land and open-space sales must still go to the voters. I would add a size restriction of one-quarter acre. Anything larger than one-quarter acre would require a citizen vote.
If this ballot initiative passes, large tracts of land are at risk. Parts of Nottingham Park could be sold to a developer to build a hotel. Open space could be sold to build housing.
These are areas that define the town of Avon. We have athletic fields and a playground in the park. We play with our children there. People come from all over to watch Avon’s awesome fireworks display at the park.
The decision to sell town-owned land in Avon should stay with the citizens and not be changed to allow the council to decide. All the voters in Avon need to be involved in these very important decisions.
Dave Dantas is an Avon town councilor.
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