Murphy: Why are commissioners trying to hide evidence in Lodge at Cordillera case? (column)
September 9, 2017
Editor's note: Find a cited version of this column at http://www.vaildaily.com.
Eagle County must have commissioners, and a county attorney, who are honest, impartial and follow the law. Unfortunately, our commissioners are using every procedural ploy to try to block evidence from being included in the pending Lodge at Cordillera case.
It is time for the decision in this case to be cast into the sunlight.
Specifically, they ruled last fall that The Lodge at Cordillera could be eliminated and replaced with any one of 34 unrelated uses, including a high-end, for-profit drug and alcohol facility. They based this on an interpretation of a revised PUD from 2009.
However, Colorado law is absolutely clear that residents in a community must be notified beforehand of any proposed changes to their PUD (zoning), in laymen's language, so that they can have an opportunity to object. Colorado cases also make clear that an amendment may not be interpreted more broadly than the notice implies and that any interpretation that does so is invalid (see Russell v. City of Central, 892 P.2d432, 437 (Colo. App. 1995); Clearwater Ventures LLC v. Gypsum Town Council, Case No. 16CV30315 (Eagle County, March 30, 2017)).
See if you believe that the County's official notification of the PUD change in 2009 which follows below, would include allowing a developer to eliminate the Lodge and replace with any one of 34 unrelated uses, as they have ruled.
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"The purpose of this … Amendment is to add clarity to the existing PUD Guide. This proposal does not introduce new or additional density or uses to the existing PUD, or otherwise substantively change the existing PUD. The proposed changes include corrections to typographical errors, replacement of inaccurate PUD Guide Maps, updates to reflect the current status of development approvals for the Lodge Parcel and the Village Center Parcel as a single planning parcel.
… Specifically, the proposal clarifies that density is transferable between the Lodge Parcel and the Village Center Parcel, and that the permitted uses are the same for the Lodge Parcel and the Village Center Parcel, effectively treating those adjacent areas as a single planning parcel. This treatment reflects existing development and the contemplated completion of The Lodge at Cordillera."
No one reading that notice would suspect that the amendment was changing the PUD to authorize the Lodge to be eliminated and replaced. This interpretation goes well beyond what the notice implies and is therefore invalid.
Why are the commissioners trying to block the inclusion of this notice into the court case? Don't they want the court to see the full truth? Are they embarrassed by a bad decision? Worried about re-election?
We respectfully ask them to stop using procedural ploys to block their 2009 notification from being included in the case record and let the court decide this case on the full evidence. This is a matter of importance to all property owners in Eagle County and Colorado. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
Gregory Murphy is a Colorado resident and a Cordillera homeowner.