Fraser residents protest Byers Peak annexation
FRASER — A petition against the town’s approval of the annexation of Byers Peak Ranch development has been submitted to the Town of Fraser, with 73 signatures from people who agree with the protest.
The petition needed 48 signatures to be considered valid. Although the town determined not all of the signatures were valid, the petition had enough signatures to be legitimate. Any registered elector in the Town can protest the ordinances approving the annexation until Aug. 14.
The town board will now have to reexamine the ordinances and decide whether to repeal them based on the public’s concern. If the town board decides not to repeal the ordinances, the town’s registered electors will be able to vote on the annexation and the terms of the agreement, most likely in the November election.
The group who created and submitted the petition is called Fraser and Friends for Responsible Development and is headed by two Fraser residents, Jane Mather and Andy Miller.
“We are basically trying to get a little better deal for the Town of Fraser,” Miller said.
The newsletters highlight the concerns the group has with the agreement, including the allocation of water tap fees and the construction of water storage ponds. The group maintains agreements made are more beneficial to the developer than to the Town.
The group has also voiced concerns about the way the property will be developed, saying they would like to see larger buildings hidden from view in order to protect the view of Byers Peak.
“Our hope is that the town board would strike a better deal with Clark (the developer) so it won’t go to election,” Miller said.
The annexation agreement was approved by the Fraser Board of Trustees with six yes votes and one no vote on May 29.
The annexation of Byers Peak Ranch would annex a 295-acre parcel south of Mill Avenue and west of the railroad tracks to the Town of Fraser, and will give the developer a 35-year period to build 530 detached and 905 attached residential units, 550 lodging units and RV sites, and 270,000 square-feet of mixed use, commercial, and industrial units — if the developer were to completely build out the development.
The developer of the project, Clark Lipscomb, president of Byers Peak Properties, LLC., stated he intends to build homes on the property that are affordable and will allow residents and newcomers the option to live and work in the Fraser Valley instead of having to live outside of the Valley due to high home prices.
The town spent years and hundreds of hours working through the annexation agreement and created a subcommittee dedicated to the project. They also held numerous community meetings to help Fraser residents understand the agreement.
The public hearings concerning the project had overflowing attendance of concerned citizens.
Not allowing the annexation of the property could present some challenges to the town and its taxpayers.The main concerned voiced by town officials and staff is that the developer will develop the property whether it is annexed into the town or not.
The developer could develop the property in unincorporated Grand County if the annexation agreement fell through, meaning the town would have no control over the development and would not see any of the taxes from the development, despite the development being in Fraser’s backyard.
Another concern surrounds the town’s water and its ability to supply current and future residents with water.
Part of the agreement is that the developer would construct and dedicate to the town two augmentation ponds that would allow the town to firm up 60 acre-feet of water rights for future use.
The agreement also includes provisions for the developer to help pay for improvements to the town’s water system, including well improvements and improvements to the town’s wastewater plant.
If the agreement fails to go through and the town does not receive the proposed water storage and improvements to its water system, the residents of the town will be stuck with those costs, according to Fraser Mayor Peggy Smith.
“It will be a matter of educating the public,” Smith said. “It’s really going to be a challenge to get people to understand the financial ramifications [if the agreement fails].”
All of the documents relating to the annexation agreement can be found on the Town of Fraser’s website at frasercolorado.com.
To be placed on the emailing list of the Fraser and Friends for Responsible Development, you can contact Andy Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-726-4099, or Jane Mather at email@example.com or 970-726-9500.
Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334
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