Grand Park closes Elk Creek, Cozens Meadows to public use
Following a contentious discussion about the preservation of Elk Creek and Cozens Meadows, the Grand Park developer who owns the land has closed it to public use.
The future of the meadows came into question in September when a former mayor of Fraser, Peggy Smith, took issue with a conservation easement filed in March for a 17.7 acre portion of the meadow that said it was in “full satisfaction” of the development agreement with the town.
Smith and others, including Grand Park residents, argued the town’s original intent was to conserve all 466 acres of the meadow with an easement. After two public hearings on the easement, Fraser’s board voided the conservation easement in October.
However, the developer argues that the town doesn’t have the authority to void the easement and he says the easement fulfills the terms of the agreement with the town.
“I have no intention of changing the Elk Creek easement and why would I,” Clark Lipscomb asked. “It fits the (2005 planned development district).”
He added that he has no plans to try and change the zoning of Elk Creek and Cozens Meadows, which are designated open space, but that he will no longer leave that space open to the public.
Lipscomb specifically cited Smith as the main reason for him closing the meadows, claiming her comments are defamatory and have led people to believe the space is public property, not private.
Lipscomb added that the meadows will likely not be reopened to the public and that he’s exploring a paid pass program to recreate in the area, but he said it was in the early stages.
Despite the differing opinions on the Elk Creek Meadow easement, Lipscomb said he still plans to work with the town to file a second easement for around 4.5-5 acres to meet the terms of his Army Corps of Engineers permit.
The Army Corps of Engineers sent a letter to Lipscomb and the town noting the Grand Park development was out of compliance with its wetland mitigation permit and that he had until Dec. 7 to rectify the issue.
Susan Nall, a project supervisor for the Army Corps of Engineers, said Lipscomb needed to file an easement for mitigation work that’s been done throughout the development to get back into compliance.
At the Nov. 18 Fraser board meeting, Lipscomb asked to be added to the Dec. 2 agenda for the upcoming meeting to discuss whether the town will hold the mitigation easement.
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