Fraser tubing hill: 50 show up to protest
September 23, 2008
The key topic that tabled a special use permit decision for another tubing hill outside of Fraser was not the noise or even wetlands.
It was the porta-potty.
During the lengthy, two-and-a-half hour discussion, the crowd of 50 people who
showed up to protest the tubing hill construction at yesterday’s Grand County Commissioner meeting zeroed in on portable toilets.
Porta-potties are proposed to satisfy the sanitation requirements of tubing, skating and snow-scooting customers at “Ellie and Daisy’s Adventure Park, LLC” if a permit were to be granted by the county to allow such a facility.
To that, commissioners said they had a problem. County Manager Lurline Underbrink Curran explained that water and sewer are two things at the core of public health and safety.
In August the developer of Ellie and Daisy’s had started the process of seeking a commercial well permit from the state, according to President Clark Lipscomb of Byer’s Peak, LLC, the entity associated with the Grand Park subdivision in Fraser pursuing the special use permit for the tubing hill.
But that seemed tardy and not in good faith for a facility planning to cater to an estimated 250 customers a day, said Commissioner Nancy Stuart, who noted that Byer’s Peak knew it was going to seek a permit for the development a year ago, yet only applied for a commercial well permit to the state last month.
“It has the whole smell of an annexation into the town of Fraser, and your just getting time to get it all sorted out here, and then the town of Fraser can take you on. Like I said, I have a problem with that,” Stuart said.
Commissioner James Newberry said the developer had a “short-sighted” plan for water and septic and appeared to be “piecemealing” the project.
Commissioners also hinted that they’d prefer Fraser be reviewing the proposal rather than the county since the commercial business is in Fraser’s growth area.
Nevertheless, the proposal was before them for a decision.
Clark Lipscomb did not say an appeal to be annexed into Fraser was in Byer’s Peak’s plans.
The current proposal was first presented to the county back in June, and planning staff had reviewed it and recommended approval, as well as the planning commission, said Byer’s Peak’s attorney David Michel of Michel and McQuain, LLC, Winter Park.
“County commissioners have now come up with new requirements that we will examine and comply with,” Michel said post-meeting.
Community members shared their views both for and against the proposal for reasons ranging from a lack of need, concerns on traffic and parking, concerns on snow-scoot noise and an inconclusive wetlands issue (according to one person), to the positive activity it could bring to youth and the fact that noise and lighting issues had already been addressed by the applicant.
But the most personal testimony was delivered by current Fraser Tubing Hill business owner Rod Rogers. If approved, Ellie and Daisy’s would become direct competition to his business and be located right next door.
“Do you really think two business side-by-side doing the same type of activity are going to be friendly neighbors? I mean, come on,” Rogers said. “I will change hours to be competitive with him, run 9 a.m. to midnight, and same with my lighting.”
Byer’s Peak proposes to run it’s business 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Included in its plan are an ice-skating rink and miniature snowmobile track in a former agricultural meadow at the base of the hill. A magic carpet would transport tubing customers to the top, and Lipscomb said a portion of the hill would be made available to those willing to resurrect a ski-jumping program. More features such as an igloo, icehouse and ice sculptures would be part of a “children’s play area” on-site.
“What Clark Lipscomb is doing here is ridiculous,” Rogers said.
Rogers, who has been operating the Fraser Tubing Hill for 25 years, went on to testify that Lipscomb had offered to buy his 16 acres of land and tubing business for $900,000, which Rogers rejected with insult. Lipscomb then told Rogers that his next step would be to try and run him out of business, according to Rogers.
Lipscomb’s attorney Michel said after the meeting that his client offered to buy the existing tubing business at a “reasonable price” for the value of the business.
“It’s a capitalist country and we’re free to compete with anybody,” he said in regard to Byer’s Peak’s attempts to compete with the Fraser Tubing Hill. “There’s more people demanding tubing than the current facility can offer due to parking problems and lift capacity.”
In addition to the lack of proper water and sanitation, Newberry also commented that the development at the base may go against the county master plan in terms of preserving open space, in his opinion.
Commissioner Gary Bumgarner disagreed, saying Byer’s Peak has a right to develop its property there. But he did agree that sanitation issues need to be addressed before a permit could be considered.
The special use permit for Ellie and Daisy’s Adventure Park, named after Lipscomb’s two dogs, was tabled to 2 p.m., Oct. 28.
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