Letter: Our goal is to negotiate Byers Peak rather than take it to vote
August 13, 2013
To the Editor:
Our goal as "Fraser and Friends for Responsible Development" continues to be negotiating a better annexation agreement rather than taking the question of annexing the Byers Peak Properties (BPP) land to a vote.
An election is not a forgone conclusion, as might be concluded from the recent Sky Hi News article.
We hope that our petitions have demonstrated the extent of community concerns and that the town board will welcome the opportunity to reconsider the agreement with the full and open discussions that we should have had before. With BPP's costs to develop as part of unincorporated Grand County millions more than in Fraser, we continue to believe there is room for further negotiations, despite protests otherwise.
Recognizing that lawyers are human too, we hope that the town board will want to hear more about our concerns. The town's special legal counsel has already agreed we were right regarding the limits on Fraser's rights to use water from the Grand Park ponds in the annexation agreement. With discussions, rather than just public hearings, we could also clarify and address claims about what infrastructure improvements BPP will be paying for.
True, BPP will pay for some water improvements (just $60,000 initially) and build augmentation ponds. Tap fees will be paid to the water sanitation fund. But depending on the pace of real-estate sales, it will likely be 35 years before any water tap fees from the BPP development will contribute to improvements to the Town's water treatment, storage and distribution system.
A full public process should be central to any business done by our public officials. The town manager noted at the last board meeting, the board's "reconsideration is not a public hearing, and the board will not be taking any additional public comment on the matter." (The reconsideration is on the Town Board agenda for the Aug. 21 meeting.) Furthermore, the Town's legal counsel has recommended that Board members not talk with us until they vote on the repeal.
With the town deciding not to provide an opportunity for discussion at this time, we decided to host a community forum. If you are interested in learning more about our concerns and discussing these issues and others, please join us at the Fraser Valley Library at 7 p.m., this Thursday, Aug. 15. We've invited the town board trustees and BPP representatives to participate as well.
If you agree that the town board should reconsider the annexation, please also attend the town board meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 21, to show your continuing concern. These issues will have a direct effect on the quality of life in Fraser and on our pocketbooks.
Andy Miller and Jane Mather