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Granby board sends Mountain Parks back to drawing board on project

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News

Mountain Parks Electric is attempting to develop a 5.06 acre parcel as a service operations center with a new 17,000-square-foot warehouse and 8,000-square-foot garage next door to its present building.

But at Granby’s most recent town board meeting, it appeared as though Mountain Parks General Manager Joe Pandy was at wit’s end.

“Let the record show that the applicant has left the room,” Mayor Ted Wang announced after Pandy folded his materials at the podium and walked out of the room without saying a word.

He had just received news that the proposed project would return to the planning commission for more review, and that Mountain Parks had failed to submit full-sized site plans by the deadline.

Hurdles in the form of neighbor opposition and lengthy town development processes have been delaying Mountain Parks’s project.

“We are not a developer,” Pandy said Friday. “We are an electric service provider, trying to develop this to continue to be a good service provider in the community.”

It has been nearly seven months since the electric co-op, a business that has been in Granby since 1953, first applied for a conditional use permit for an expansion on land once the home of the El Monte Motel.

Included in its project, Mountain Parks hopes to relocate its pole yard now sitting on land belonging to Orvis Shorefox, which Mountain Parks sold to the development a year and a half ago.

“We’ve been before the town since July of ’07 waiting to get an answer on the conditional use permit,” Pandy said.

Asked if he felt Granby’s development procedures were too complicated and convoluted, he answered, “no comment.”

Because the acreage, earmarked for a pole yard, is zoned “highway-general business” rather than “public service operations” or “industrial,” the project requires a conditional use permit from the town.

“There are rules and regulations with conditional uses; sometimes they go fast, sometimes they don’t, it just depends on what they are trying to do,” said Granby Town Clerk and Planning Coordinator Deb Hess. “We don’t like to see it drag out either.”

The project hit a big snag when neighboring Ace Hardware opposed a major detail in the Mountain Parks site plan.

A public town road was proposed to pass between Ace and the electric company’s development property, granting a new thoroughfare for about 100 residents in the Selak Drive neighborhood.

Ace property and building owner Jim Swanson and Ace business owner Tom McConathy (not co-owners, as reported in an earlier story) voiced opposition, saying the new road would hinder the hardware store’s existing access.

At past town meetings, board members advised Mountain Parks to come to agreeable terms with Ace concerning the road.

Sides failed to find an agreement at a meeting on Dec. 28, Pandy reported.

Swanson and McConathy could not be reached Friday for comment.

Thus, Mountain Parks drafted a new site plan, without the proposed public access.

According to Hess, Colorado Department of Transportation access permits held up the project also, further influencing Mountain Parks to change its plan.

Reportedly, CDOT would only allow two access to the facilities; adding a public road would have exceeded that.

Because of the town’s Jan. 18 decision, the project is returning to the planning commission on Feb. 4, then going before the town board again on Feb. 12.

After Pandy abruptly left the boardroom at the last town meeting, Town Trustee Robin Trainor broached the subject of the town’s development processes, wondering if the town was being too tedious with procedures more strenuous than they needed to be.

Upon her review of former minutes, Trainor said, she could “understand Mountain Parks’s frustration” ” a business that has been “very good neighbors to the town of Granby.”

“There are hoops they’ve had to jump through. I’m concerned we’re making it way too hard for them,” she said.

Trainor asked if it was a lack of communication from the town’s end. “Are we not giving them information? I’m confused why this has become such a process,” she said.

Since Mountain Parks is not in the business of development, Trainor suggested, perhaps they needed more thorough information from the town.

In the end, the town board agreed that a drafted memo outlining the development processes needed to be distributed to Mountain Parks and others.

From now until trustees congregate again, a meeting is scheduled between Mountain Parks representatives, the contract town planner Barb Cole, and the town’s contract traffic engineer Elizabeth Stolfus, according to Hess.

“We want to get it worked out too,” Hess said on behalf of the town.

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@grandcountynews.com.


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