Fraser taxes should support community, not developer profits.
October 20, 2013
To the Editor:
You might not want to read another piece about the proposed annexation, but please do. It's important.
The proposed agreement for the annexation of the Byers Peak Properties (BPP) would cost Fraser residents, business owners, property owners, visitors and other taxpayers millions of dollars, despite what the town mayor and others claim.
When you read the town mayor's Focus on Fraser's Future flyer, please remember that these simple comments are just part of the story. Based on Town presentations and our conversations with board members and staff, it's likely the town's special legal counsel didn't explain the whole story to them, just as we are only receiving part of the story now.
What we have learned about the "rest of the story" is far too long for this letter, but information is available on our flyers and on our website, fraserfrd.wordpress.com. BPP has already agreed to make one change to reflect what the town thought they had negotiated, but that we found was different in the legal agreement.
The town board approved this agreement in part because they believed it was the best that the developer, Clark Lipscomb, would agree to. That's only true if BPP wants to pay millions more to develop through Grand County. Even with corrections to the agreement to address our concerns, it would still cost less for BPP to develop through the town of Fraser than through Grand County.
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Now Clark Lipscomb suggests he would build a sewage treatment plant on land he owns in Fraser if the annexation agreement is rejected. Is this threat believable? Is this really his vision for Fraser?
The town mayor states the town has negotiated in good faith for more than six years. With million of dollars at stake, we need thorough consideration of the issues, not just "good faith." In fact, the town board only received the proposed financial and legal agreements in December, less than one year ago. They haven't thoroughly considered the financial implications, including alternatives to paying BPP for pond construction that would significantly reduce pond costs.
With BPP's sketch plan presentation to the Grand County Planning and Zoning Commission and their response, we learned more about what Grand County would require. Compared to the town's generous zoning offer, County zoning is more strict and matches BPP's property rights. With development through the county, BPP would pay full costs of needed improvements to the intersection of the railroad underpass, not just "cooperate" as in the town's agreement.
There are many more examples in which the town has agreed to pay what BPP would pay with development through Grand County, adding to BPP's profits at our expense. Development through Grand County would likely be much better for Fraser and our community.
The proposed agreement is too flawed and would cost too much. Vote no on 300 and 301.
Jane Mather, Andy Miller
both of Fraser