Vail Daily letter: Avon deal too complex to approve now
September 9, 2012
If you haven’t been to an Avon Town Council meeting lately, you have missed something extraordinary and critically important in the history of the town and possibly the state of Colorado.
The issues faced by the Avon Town Council may be the most complex and far reaching ever faced by a small town in our state. At stake are millions and millions of dollars of public monies, the quality of life for future and current Avon residents and the ability of the town to continue to provide a quality level of services and enforce it laws.
At recent meetings of the Avon Planning and Zoning Commission and the Town Council, you find the Traer Creek-Village at Avon development team and anywhere from four to seven attorneys from high-profile Denver law firms representing Traer Creek Metro District, the developer’s interests and the French bank BNP Paribas, which holds the metro district’s failing bonds.
Then there are a number of concerned citizens, the Avon Town Council or Planning and Zoning Commission and one overworked town attorney all trying to make sense of the maneuverings and the hundreds of changes presented to the town by the Traer Creek-Village at Avon development team in the revised planned-unit development application and the Consolidated Amended Restated Annexation and Development Agreement.
The changes to these documents are significant, numerous and include many issues never contemplated in the Settlement Term Sheet. Issues such as the introduction of light industrial uses on the valley floor behind residents’ homes, increased heights to 135 feet, new methods of counting dwellings, changed definitions, unlimited density and exemption from current and future town codes and laws are just a few of the simpler matters raised by the developer.
The introduction of these unanticipated issues and changes has slowed the progress of the Town Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission in addressing the matters of the Settlement Term Sheet and has caused hundreds of hours of Town Council, Planning and Zoning Commission and citizen time, not to mention the cost and hours of the town attorney and his time.
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Citizens attending the hearings of both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Town Council have been able to watch first hand the tremendous burden our elected and appointed officials face in trying to untangle the settlement terms from the complex issues introduced in the documents that have little or no relationship to the terms agreed to in mediation. In the end, it simply may not be possible.
We all hoped the settlement terms would be an end to the tension and strife between the town, Magnus Lindholm and the Village at Avon development.
By overreaching, the development team may have made this impossible. As the documents read now, the town has little choice but to deny both the development application and the agreement.