Granby Ranch Metro District to pursue litigation against owner
After the new owner of Granby Ranch decided to undo long-standing agreements with homeowners in the subdivision, one of its metropolitan districts has decided to fight back.
The board of directors for Granby Ranch Metropolitan District voted unanimously in favor of filing a complaint and initiating litigation against GP Granby Holdings and Headwaters Metropolitan District on Thursday.
This new litigation comes only from the homeowner-controlled metro district in Granby Ranch. The other metro districts in the area, Headwaters and Granby Ranch Metro Districts 2-8, are developer controlled. Headwaters raised ire last week by appointing three people who were not homeowners to the board in a move some of the homeowners have said is illegal.
Separate from Headwaters’ actions last week, this action relates to a series of agreements between homeowners and Granby Ranch. All owners in the subdivision paid a one-time $10,000 amenity fee on the purchase of their property as part of a community lease purchase agreement.
This pool of amenity fees was to be used by Headwaters to finance the eventual purchase of the amenities, including the ski and golf resorts at Granby Ranch. Paying into this fee also brought benefits for homeowners, including 16 ski lift tickets and 16 rounds of golf every year.
With this agreement signed 14 years ago and 500-600 properties purchased in the Granby Ranch area, homeowners have already paid millions of dollars into the pool.
Granby Ranch’s new owner, GP Granby Holdings, took over the resort following foreclosure proceedings last summer. In a September letter to homeowners, the new owner said that the lease purchase agreement terminated at the time of the foreclosure.
In that letter, GP Granby Holdings said the agreement was a deterrent to prospective purchasers and that it created undo burdens on Headwaters. The letter added that the metro district never would have been able to acquire the assets within the timeline set out.
Many in Granby Ranch have framed this move as illegal, saying that the covenant ran with the land and could not be canceled by the owner. The Sky-Hi News was not able to reached GP Granby Holdings for comment.
Following an executive session Thursday night, Granby Ranch Metro District President Matt Girard explained the recommendation to pursue litigation, which he said he didn’t take lightly and considered as a last option.
“I feel the way the current developer is ignoring agreements to which they are bound as a successor, as well as not approaching us for dialogue in any of these … requests, we are down to our last option in my opinion,” he said during the meeting.
The metro district then took public comment from Granby Ranch property owners. The possibility of litigation split the group down the middle with many hesitant about the costs and the possibility of losing.
“The lawsuit would be brought against a multibillion-dollar company with an extensive legal team,” homeowner Nick Raible said. “Regardless of the legal advice that (Granby Ranch Metro District) has gotten … I think it’s very likely the district will lose.”
Additionally, many homeowners felt that the risk did not justify the possible refund of $10,000 or continued privileges. Those opposed to litigation also said it would not do homeowners any favor to present an adversarial front to GP Granby Holdings.
Others, however, supported moving forward with litigation as a last option. Those in favor of the move felt that the perceived “bullying” of homeowners would continue unchecked without legal action.
“What we’re facing right now is about accountability,” homeowner John Altomari said. “These new owners have to be held accountable to these decisions and abuse of homeowner property rights that they are making without any oversight.”
Board members added that they felt this move was not adversarial but a way to protect homeowners.
The GRMD board emphasized that mediation is still on the table, but said that despite reaching out to Granby Holdings for dialogue, the company has not yet responded.
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