Homeowners challenge actions of metro district in Granby Ranch
Granby Ranch homeowners have asked the town to intervene after three people were apparently passed up for appointment to the Headwaters Metropolitan District.
To be an elected official for Headwaters, one must own property within the boundaries of the special taxing district. Because of the limited property available for purchase within the metro district’s boundaries, this setup allows the developer to control Headwaters, which funds development using financing districts that pay into Headwaters with little input from the homeowners.
Last month, three homeowners in Granby Ranch purchased property within the district’s boundary. In a memo to Granby’s board, the three homeowners — John Gillogley, Lee Sprigg and Colleen Hannon — said that they responded to a notice from Headwaters seeking qualified and interested electors for directorship on Dec. 21.
At the Dec. 22 Headwaters meeting, Board President Lance Badger and Vice President Christopher Harff referenced the three homeowners’ letters of interest but did not appoint them.
Instead, Badger and Harff appointed Randel Lewis, who previously worked as the receiver during Granby Ranch’s foreclosure process, to the board. Badger then resigned from Headwaters, leaving the district with three vacancies.
“We were eligible, but we weren’t appointed,” Sprigg told Granby trustees on Jan. 12. “So we had three eligible, willing, qualified candidates for three vacant board positions and we were declared ineligible.”
Headwaters did not respond to a request for comment.
The three homeowners have now asked trustees, who are the approving authority for the metro district, to appoint them to the Headwaters board.
Town attorney Nathan Krob explained that, according to state statute, Headwaters has 60 days to fill the vacancies now that there are willing and qualified candidates. If Headwaters has not appointed someone after that period, the Granby board may do so instead with at least 30 days’ notice.
Multiple homeowners in Granby Ranch have spoken to town trustees and asked the board to do whatever it can to reign in the powers of Headwaters and help homeowners have a greater voice.
“It’s very clear to me that the deck is stacked against Granby Ranch homeowners,” said Chris O’Toole, who owns a home in Granby Ranch. “We have very little say. I know that’s a legacy of all these structures that have been put in place by other people, but we ask (Granby’s board) to … make some decisions in favor of homeowners so we can actually control our fate here.”
Trustee Natascha O’Flaherty, who is also a homeowner in Granby Ranch, pointed out that the Dec. 22 Headwaters meeting lasted just over four minutes and did not take public comment nor input from the three potential candidates.
“These are municipal, public bodies,” O’Flaherty said of Headwaters and its financing districts. “They were not designed to be someone’s puppet or plaything.”
However, the town board could not ensure that the eligible homeowners be the three who are appointed to the Headwaters board. With the notice from the town, Headwaters has until Feb. 20 to appoint any willing and qualified candidates.
“If I understand that correctly … there is the strong likelihood that these three people will be dismissed once again and (Headwaters’) board will be stacked however they want it to be stacked?” Trustee Kristie DeLay asked.
Granby’s attorney explained that unless Headwaters fails to act, the board’s hands will essentially be tied.
“To be blunt, that’s the way the statute’s written,” Krob said. “It really favors the developer … All special districts are favored to operate as independent subdivisions of the state.”
Trustees unanimously voted in favor of notifying Headwaters of the town’s intent to appoint candidates to the district board if the vacancies are not filled by Feb. 20.
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