Grand Park sues Fraser over water tap fees
August 21, 2008
Grand Park, Frasers largest developer at the south end of town, is suing the town of Fraser for what it considers a breach of contract in the amount of $383,695, plus interest and attorney fees.In a lawsuit filed in Grand County District Court on July 23, Cornerstone Winter Park Holdings claims Fraser withheld tap-fee reimbursements owed to the developer.The developers basis for the suit stems from a 2004 annexation agreement outlining terms and provisions concerning the construction of well pumps, treatment facilities, transmission lines, water storage facilities and primary distribution lines, according to the complaint.Language in the agreement outlines reimbursement of tap fees from the town to the special district for the creation of water infrastructure that ultimately benefits the town.Grand Parks Cozens Meadow development tapped into Frasers water system at the same time another system was being built at the Rendezvous development across the way to accommodate a growing community. Cornerstone Holdings and Rendezvous developer Koelbel Winter Park LLC, were partners before the two developers parted ways in 2003. But, according to the complaint, it was agreed that Cornerstone would build infrastructure that connects the water system at Rendezvous to the towns to integrate the two systems.With two tanks, the $3 million system at Rendezvous can supply 800,000 gallons of water storage located higher than Frasers. That system creates redundancies in water capacity that benefit the entire community, said Grand Park President Clark Lipscomb. Until then, the town had no back-up system, he said.Grand Park spent more than $500,000 on the pipeline from Fraser to Cozens Meadow alone, he said, as a part of unifying the two systems and supplying water to its Cozens Meadow residents. The development has also installed other infrastructure including crossings and water tanks as part of the developments four-phase master water plan. Im in phase four now, Lipscomb said. Its utterly ridiculous to be wasting our legal systems time on something that is as clear as this. If they had proper management and leadership, this wouldnt have happened, he said.We have a duty to protect the public interest, and that is what were working on, said Town Manager Jeff Durbin.Although the manager declined to give details on the towns position until it files its official response, expected sometime this week, Durbin said the language in the annexation agreement is intended to convey development pays its own way. It boils down to contractual dispute, he said. When it became obvious that the town and Grand Park had reached stalemate on the matter, each agreed to try mitigation, which took place in early June. We tried, to no avail, Durbin said.The net result was that it was not a result that we would accept, Lipscomb said.The town does have legal costs budgeted, but Durbin isnt sure how much the court case will cost taxpayers.The only lawsuit involving the town Durbin could recall since he started with the town in 2000 was the complaint filed by Valley Vino involving a liquor license denial about two years ago. Before taking the town to court, however, the applicant withdrew that suit.Lipscomb said that for two years, with staff time, his time and attorneys costs, Cornerstone is seeking less than what it has actually cost the development. He expects legal fees on his end will amount to around $125,000.Im looking for the town of Fraser to live up to its agreements, Lipscomb said. It is unfortunate we were put in this position by the town of Fraser, and I am very hopeful we will come to a fair resolution. Stay tuned, Durbin said. Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.