Eagle directs Haymeadow to hand over water deeds

The town of Eagle has sent a notice of default to the developer of the proposed Haymeadow project for failure to convey water rights, failure to convey the Haymaker Trail easement and failure to dedicate the school parcel to the town.

The Eagle Town Board voted 5-0 last week to send the notice, which the Enterprise obtained Tuesday after submitting a Colorado Open Records request.

Mayor Yuri Kostick and town board member Doug Seabury recused themselves from the discussion. Kostick and Seabury recently traveled to Florida to meet with Abrika Properties LLC owner Alan Cohen to discuss issues related to the Haymeadow project. That trip raised questions regarding compliance with Colorado Amendment 41.

Last spring, Abrika Properties received approval from the Eagle Town Board for the Haymeadow project — a 837-unit residential development property located on a 660-acre parcel just south of the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink.

According to a memo included in last week’s Eagle Town Board packet, town staff has been in ongoing periodic discussions with the Haymeadow development team regarding compliance with the annexation and development agreement. The primary issue of concern is the conveyance of the water rights, which should have occurred immediately following the approval of the metro district service plan on July 22, 2014.

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“That would have then allowed the town to file a change case in water court with a 2014 priority date. That deed of water rights is not yet conveyed,” noted Eagle Town Manager Jon Stavney, in the Dec. 5 memo.

Stavney’s memo outlines the specifics of the water deed provisions included in the 2014 project approval, which reflect the town’s desire to use historic water rights associated with the property while building occurs so that the pastures will remain green during the phased development.

In his memo, Stavney noted “the developer is requesting a simple lease back agreement in order to be able to continue historic flood irrigation of the property starting in the spring of 2015 and until a final plat is submitted and development of the property begins. Continued irrigation of the property is a condition of the annexation and development agreement. Drafts of this simple lease document have circulated between town water counsel and the applicant for the past few months, as have requests for the signed deed.”

Stavney said the developer has asked that the board approve the interim lease prior to conveyance of the water rights deed and has requested that the board vote on the agreement at the January 13, 2015 meeting, promising that the deed for the water rights will also be signed and exchanged for the lease.

Last week, the town board nixed this proposal and instead approved the notice of default.

In its notice, the town reminded the developer that the original agreement stipulated that within 60 days after the court’s order organizing the Haymeadow metropolitan district(s), the newly created entity must execute a document binding it to the terms and conditions of the annexation and development agreement. That court order happened Nov. 24.

With the Dec. 11 notice of default, the developer has 30 days from receipt of the notice to cure the default or the town may seek an order to force compliance. If granted, that order could also entitle Eagle to an award of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs pursuant to the action.

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