Vail Daily letter: What’s at stake for Avon
September 9, 2012
When talking about the Traer Creek and town of Avon lawsuit regarding the Village at Avon, we find many people are confused or in the dark about the conflict and its possible repercussions if the settlement isn’t implemented.
It has become an incredibly complicated issue, one that is extraordinarily expensive to all of us as taxpayers, to the town of Avon, and to us as the developer.
The town has spent more than $2 million on legal fees. As have we. As has the Traer Creek Metropolitan District.
Last October, the parties to the litigation agreed to a court-approved settlement agreement. We agreed to resolve these many years of disputes, animosity and litigation and put the past behind us and move forward.
This settlement, a document that includes compromise by everyone, is to mark the beginning of a new spirit of cooperation and collaboration by all to promote development in the Village at Avon for the good of the town of Avon and the project.
The settlement says:
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• Avon will gain a new, reliable revenue stream that grows with development.
• Avon will retain revenue streams disputed in the litigation.
• The metro district is limited in its ability to finance future public infrastructure improvements. This concession allows Avon to begin collecting full sales tax revenue within the village sooner than was possible in the original development agreement.
• Avon will receive certain dedications upon finalizing the settlement and, later, other land dedications and two new open space parcels with Eagle River access for the public.
• Avon and the Vail Valley will receive a 2 million gallon regional water tank to allow for future development and fill a badly needed hole in the valley’s water system for domestic water and fire safety.
• The regional water tank and resulting development will create jobs.
So what needs to happen to move forward? The parties must revise a set of documents, including land-use documents (the “PUD”) and a development agreement. Amendments to these documents are currently going through a public review process for approval by the Avon Planning and Zoning Commission and Avon town Council.
Public process and input is important, and no one wants to shortchange this process:
• The settlement originally allowed less than four weeks for the public approval process.
• Although this time frame included all of the public hearings required by law, we agreed to double the time frame and add work sessions that were also open for public comment.
• There have been eight public Town Council meetings and two public Planning and Zoning Commission meetings addressing implementation of the settlement agreement.
• Everyone recently agreed to extend the public process by an additional two and a half months, adding five extra Town Council meetings and three extra meetings of the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The final vote on land-use documents provided by the developer will take place in late September. If the documents are not approved, it is back to litigation for everyone involved.
The judge presiding over the litigation ruled last month that Avon cannot collect its full sales tax within the village until all of the debt incurred by the metro district is paid in full. Until that time, virtually all revenues collected on retail sales in the village must be used to pay down the debt.
Now, more than ever, Avon’s future depends on the success of development at the Village at Avon.
Only by implementing the settlement can Avon increase revenues from development, decrease the amount of debt, and allow Avon to begin collecting sales tax revenues generated by the village. Otherwise, we will all continue to pay the lawyers millions of dollars.
Together with the developer, the metro district and the bank BNP Paribas, the Town Council is moving forward and working through the issues surrounding the settlement.
With the support of Avon’s citizens, we can implement the settlement approved last October and create a new, brighter future for Avon. By supporting this settlement, you are supporting a unique opportunity that we should not and can not pass up. Please feel free to call us with any questions or concerns you might have. Avon is our community. Our intent is to make it better.
Michael Lindholm and Marcus Lindholm
Traer Creek Development