Will Avon settlement survive delay?
September 12, 2012
AVON, Colorado – While time is tight, a two-week delay may still leave some room for the town of Avon and the developers of the Village at Avon to finish a settlement of their legal dispute.
Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to take another two weeks to hammer out the details of a complex settlement deal before taking a first vote on the measure. The ordinance that paves the way for the settlement requires two votes.
Those votes now will come Sept. 25 and Oct. 9 at the earliest, which pushes hard against an Oct. 15 deadline set by international bank BNP Paribas. That bank holds the letter of credit used by the Traer Creek Metropolitan District to make payments on the bonds that paid for roads and other improvements at the Village at Avon. The developers then make payments on the letter of credit as funds are drawn from it.
Completing the settlement means the bank will extend its letter of credit. If the letter of credit is revoked, the bonds go into default, and it may be impossible to complete the complex financial formulas that are part of the settlement.
BNP Paribas has already extended its deadline for getting a deal done, and granted the extension only with the condition that Avon approve its part of the settlement agreement by Oct. 1. That would have required a second vote by Sept. 25 on the ordinance that cements the settlement deal.
While the Sept. 25 deadline has been mentioned often over the past several weeks, it didn’t once come up during Tuesday’s deliberations. After about three hours of presentations, public testimony and council discussion, the Oct. 1 deadline wasn’t mentioned once.
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Instead, all seven council members said they simply weren’t yet ready to vote on the ordinance. Council members said they believed the ordinance was close to being complete enough for a vote.
Lawyers involved in the settlement process are now working on the 16th revision of the ordinance – which includes myriad changes to the land use approvals first granted to the 1,800-acre project in 1998. Town attorney Eric Heil provided council members with a marked-up version of that document for Tuesday’s meeting.
After the meeting, council member Kristi Ferraro said neither the council nor the public has all the documents needed to make a decision. Heil said those documents will be ready by the Sept. 25 meeting.
While council members believe they’re close to having an ordinance they can vote on, the proposal continues to draw heated opposition from people who live next to the property, especially in the Eaglebend Drive neighborhood.
Residents of that neighborhood turned out Tuesday to urge the council to deny the ordinance outright.
“You’re not just settling litigation here, you’re building our town for the next century,” Tamra Underwood, a neighbor and former council member, said. “This (ordinance) cannot be tolerated, and you need to deny it.”
But Avon resident Michael Cacioppo said the town needs to live up to the deal it made in 1998.
Cacioppo said he believes people in the neighborhood “want to control what (the developer) is doing, but they don’t seem to have the contractual rights to do so.”
Munsey Ayers is an attorney representing the developers, and has been involved in all the revisions to the settlement documents.
“We’ll continue to work hard to get the documents in a position to vote on,” Ayers said.
And, while no one mentioned the deadline Tuesday, Ferarro acknowledged that the clock is ticking.
“It’s definitely a concern,” she said. “We need to act on this in a timely manner… but we need to have everything in front of us.”
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.