Letter: Let Grand Park’s annexation agreement expire as planned | SkyHiNews.com

Letter: Let Grand Park’s annexation agreement expire as planned

Letter to the Editor

Over the course of the last 18 months, we have learned that terms of the Grand Park Annexation Agreement haven’t been followed as originally designed as part of the public process from 20 years ago.

It has also come to our attention that the developer of Grand Park recently requested certain development rights bestowed in the annexation agreement “…be extended to 2060” — i.e. valuable rights granted to the developer that would otherwise expire in October 2028. Currently, the developer operates under blanket approvals outside of the normal Town of Fraser zoning and cannot be required to pay impact fees or other typical community benefiting fees.

Normally when seeking approvals, developers demonstrate to localities, that (i) the project is revenue positive to the community, (ii) any impacts on traffic and intersections will be addressed at the developers’ expense, (iii) school expansions are funded, and (iv) more and more frequently direct contributions are made for the provision of affordable housing.

Nobody can truly foresee what the needs or goals of our community will be in five, 10, or 30 years. The Town of Fraser should not continue to be bound by an outdated annexation agreement conceived more than 20 years ago for any longer than it is already required. Let the annexation agreement expire in 2028.

The Town of Fraser should embrace progress with smart growth policies. This means making every proposed project stand on its own when seeking approval — something the current annexation agreement does not do. This will create a process with built-in developer accountability and real-time performance requirements — including onsite improvements, offsite improvements and affordable housing.

With this type of approach to development going forward, the Fraser board will be able to better evaluate development proposals in real-time against the community’s needs and goals at any particular time. Ideally this will prevent the further imbalance of affordable housing that exists today, as well as any more partially built buildings left scarring our beautiful community.

— Peggy Smith, Fraser

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