Fire district halts Avon condemnation efforts
AVON, Colorado ” A local fire district said Friday it is ending efforts to condemn land for a new Avon fire station.
Eagle River Fire Protection District Chief Charlie Moore said the district is moving closer to buying a piece of land other than Jim Pavelich’s empty lot on Nottingham Road, which it had sought to condemn.
“We have always said we would explore all of the district’s options, and we believe this alternate location will serve the district’s needs very well,” Moore said. “This decision has not been made in haste. There are extremely limited locations that sufficiently and effectively fill our need and meet our goal of protecting the public from fire, loss of property and loss of life.”
The exact location of the parcel that the district seeks to acquire was not released.
“When the initial site research was conducted, the potential new site was not on the market,” Moore said.
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At Thursday’s meeting, the fire district board authorized additional negotiations to close the deal, Moore said.
In March, the fire district began the process of condemning Pavelich’s 1-acre lot, across the street from Pizza Hut near the Avon interstate exit, for a fire station. Pavelich, co-founder of the Vail Daily, vowed to fight the condemnation, hiring a Denver lawyer who has worked on high-profile condemnation cases, including the recent Valley Floor case in Telluride.
Pavelich, who bought the property in 1993, had planned to build stores there ” perhaps a Starbucks, a neighborhood grocery and a couple of restaurants ” as well as some housing and offices. An earlier plan had involved a 132-room hotel.
Officials from fire district ” which includes Edwards, Avon, Eagle-Vail, Minturn and Red Cliff ” say they had outgrown their longtime Avon station, which is in the core of Avon near Town Hall. In addition, the curvy, busy streets of the downtown area slowed response times, officials said. A planned redevelopment Avon’s downtown figures to make that area even more congested.
Fire officials see the Nottingham Road area as ideal because of its central location and its proximity to the Interstate 70 exit.
The district offered to buy Pavelich’s land for $1.3 million, then $2 million. Pavelich rejected both offers, and then the fire department turned to eminent domain.
Eminent domain allows governments to take land for public uses, paying “just compensation.”
“(The fire district) has always tried to balance our needs with those of the property owner, but were never able to reach a suitable agreement,” Moore said.
The district has eyed several other pieces of land for its station, including Vail Resorts land at the base of Beaver Creek, part of Christie Lodge’s land, philanthropist Oscar Tang’s land on Nottingham Road, and a lot next door to Pavelich’s that holds an abandoned tire store.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.