Developer to Avon council: ‘You almost give me a heart attack’
Colorado World Resorts wants to start Highway 6 building before winter
AVON — Colorado World Resorts has zoning, a grading permit and a development plan for their Highway 6 property.
But without the approval of that plan and a permit to start building a foundation, the development company is still quite far from seeing their 81-unit condominium project come to life.
On Tuesday, approval of that development plan was delayed by the Avon Town Council. With days getting shorter and the nights getting colder, Colorado World Resorts owner Ranko Mocevic is also getting nervous that he won’t have the building’s foundation started before the ground freezes.
“You guys almost give me a heart attack,” Mocevic told the council on Tuesday. “My blood pressure is up.”
The delay centers around the deposit that Colorado World Resorts put down for restoration funds on the potential development.
Described by town manager Eric Heil as a site security bond, the deposit ensures “if the project fails, and everyone disappears, we’ve got monies so we can go there and do seeding, erosion control, and make sure the property is not going to deteriorate, erode and have stormwater runoff that affects water quality,” Heil said.
When the town issued the grading permit, it collected $209,475 from Colorado World Resorts for the restoration funds deposit. As the project starts, those funds will continue to be held, but no additional deposit will be collected according to town protocols.
“When we issue building permits, we’re always at risk that a project starts and — for whatever reason — goes bankrupt or doesn’t finish,” Heil said.
Councilmember Tamra Underwood said the $209,475, while suitable for the grading phase, is “woefully inadequate” as a deposit during the construction phase.
“I don’t even think $209,475 would clarify erosion, so that the mud doesn’t come down into Highway 6,” Underwood said.
‘Lessons learned from the past’
The restoration funds deposit has been an evolving process in Avon, and with Underwood now back on the council after serving from 2004 to 2008, she said the Colorado World Resorts project was the first development agreement that she has reviewed in her most recent term on council.
“It’s news to me that we don’t get a larger deposit when somebody goes for a development,” she said.
On Tuesday, Underwood and council member Amy Phillips hearkened back to some of the projects that prompted the council to start taking any deposits.
“(The Ascent) sat for a long time,” Underwood said. “And (the current town hall building) sat for a generation.”
Phillips said a car wash that was once planned for a lot on Nottingham Road, but never completed, was the final straw for the town.
“That’s the project that started this process, where we started talking about even taking a deposit,” Phillips said. “It was after the car wash that we realized we needed a grading restoration (deposit).”
Phillips said since then, the process has continued to evolve, to the point where the town is now in examining the deposit process as it relates to the Colorado World Resorts application.
“The differences are from lessons learned from the past,” Phillips said.
In the Colorado World Resorts project, the town will continue to hold the restoration funds deposit until the certificate of occupancy is issued, rather than giving it back when the building permit is issued.
“This is more security than we have for any project in town,” said Town Planner Matt Pielsticker.
Mocevic said he was just asking for fair treatment.
“This will affect my project — if you move for next month — badly,” he said. “I’m now investing personal funds in the project, millions and millions of dollars … My concern is only if we are ready for a foundation permit, that this doesn’t hold my foundation permit, so I can’t pour the concrete before the winter.”
The council voted unanimously in favor of continuing the decision on the development agreement to their next scheduled meeting, set for August 28.