Fraser open space discussion hindered by audio issues

Public discussion about the Cozens Meadow open space was cut short Wednesday due to audio issues at the Fraser Town Hall. 

Around 200 people appeared in-person or on the Zoom call for the town board meeting. At least half were hoping to talk about questions raised about the preservation of Cozens Meadow open space in relation to a conservation easement recorded earlier this year.

In order to accommodate the number of people during COVID-19 restrictions, the town had set up speakers outside the town hall in the park area so people could maintain six feet of distance and still hear the meeting. However, Zoom participants reported audio so poor they couldn’t make out the meeting.

After trying to adjust microphones and other potential fixes, the audio was no better, so the board decided to take comments from those who had came in-person and continue the discussion to the Oct. 7 meeting.

“We apologize for tonight and let everyone know this wasn’t intentional and we wanted the participation,” Trustee Katie Soles said.

Those who did get to speak, including former mayor Peggy Smith, reiterated their desire to protect the meadow from development and raised concerns about the cattle that had been living in the area.

A conservation easement recorded in March for 17 acres of Elk Creek Meadow stated it’s in “full satisfaction” of the development agreement with the town.

The original 2005 agreement between Grand Park and the town outlined a conservation easement encompassing all 466 acres of Cozens Meadow to be owned and maintained by the town.

“This community was promised a conservation easement with public access when this property was annexed,” Smith said. “This community would not have approved a private country club that would solely benefit the residents of Grand Park.”

After Smith spoke, the crowd of around 100 people outside the town hall cheered.

Town Manager Jeff Durbin explained the town attorney wasn’t available for the meeting, so the board didn’t plan to take action on the matter Wednesday.

“It would be my recommendation to listen to community concerns and schedule follow-up discussions,” Durbin told the board before comments started.

He added the town attorney will be at the Oct. 7 meeting for the continued discussion.

Both Durbin and the board apologized about the audio issues.

In other business:

• Town staff was instructed to draw up an intergovernmental agreement with Grand County for cost-sharing for paving County Road 72 based on June traffic counts.

• The board approved an $80,000 expenditure to install new flowmeters in seven wells around town. The upgrades will increase the operational efficiency, quality of reports and better evaluate well operations. This is the second part of the project and, once complete, all of the flowmeters in town will be updated.

• Maintenance for three wells costing around $82,000 was approved. The maintenance on the wells will kick-off a yearly management plan to maintain all of the wells in town.

• Trustees Ryan Barwick, Brian Cerkvenik and Parnell Quinn were appointed to the budget committee. 

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