Granby Ranch homeowners react to property seizure | SkyHiNews.com

Granby Ranch homeowners react to property seizure

Several homeowners at Granby Ranch have voiced concern after officials from Grand County briefly seized on Tuesday personal property owned by the two businesses that operate Granby Ranch Resort for failure to pay taxes on personal property.

Shortly after sheriff's deputies moved to seize the property, Granby Ranch's chief financial officer, Dustin Lombard, presented the county with a check covering delinquent personal property taxes. The property was then released back to Granby Realty Holdings, the resort's real estate development company, and Granby Ranch Amenities, the resort's management company that operates the ski hill and golf course.

The incident led to a whirlwind of local reaction and discussion as several homeowners of the Granby Ranch development expressed their feelings on the matter.

"A lot of people have been burning up the phone lines to discuss this," said Nick Raible, Granby Ranch homeowner and Granby town trustee. "I think it just happened so quickly. We all knew they were delaying payment on their taxes, developers do that, but they usually don't wait until they get that kind of notice."

Raible highlighted concerns he and other area homeowners have regarding property values in light of the seizure.

"Will this affect property values?" Raible wondered. "I'm not sure anybody really knows how it is going to affect us."

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He noted his belief that property values in Granby Ranch, including on property he owns, have been pretty flat over recent years, even as property values throughout the county have steadily climbed.

"We are a little concerned we are not going up, as well," he said.

Raible further expressed concerns about the impacts the situation would have on the sense of community felt by homeowners in the development.

Other homeowners in the development were more pointed in their concerns.

Natascha O'Flaherty, an attorney who owns a home within the development, said Tuesday's incident "highlighted the financial woes of the developer."

"I was stunned that the developer let the personal property taxes go to seizure," O'Flaherty told Sky-Hi News. "Bad business practice, bad publicity and bad consequences."

O'Flaherty explained that she hopes the events from this week will lead to homeowners of the development taking full control of the boards of the metropolitan districts in the development, which in turn controls management of the ski and golf amenities, according to O'Flaherty, which are currently controlled by the resort.

"I would also like to see an experienced developer with financial stability to join the project to get more vertical development," she stated.

O'Flaherty sees the delinquent tax payments and corresponding property seizure as having "very negative effects" on home values, rentals and tourism over the short-term period.

"Long-term, I am optimistic and hopeful that it [Tuesday's incident] is a wake-up call and turning point for the Granby Ranch community," O'Flaherty stated. "The financial realities of the developer and news of the last year make it more than obvious that running the ski and golf amenities is not a core competency of the developer."

Despite concerns about how Granby Ranch operations are managed, O'Flaherty said she still is happy that she and her family chose to invest in the development and that she loves living in Granby Ranch.

"Unfortunately, for property in Granby Ranch, I believe there are some additional factors that will slow and hamper growth," she added.

She highlighted a 2 percent transfer fee, lack of revenue for operations because of debt service payments, multiple layers of homeowners associations — and developer control of the "master HOA" — high water bills and high tax rates as impediments to growth.

"That being said, I think we are at a turning point and homeowners can turn some of these issues around and provide a solid financial foundation for a very successful community. Thus, I am cautiously optimistic," she asserted.

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