Mill Ave apartments build moves forward in Fraser
Following a small dispute about how much surety Fraser should require for a new low-income housing development, town trustees have approved an improvement agreement for the Mill Avenue apartments in Grand Park.
On Wednesday, Fraser’s town board heard from developer Clark Lipscomb about his ability to get more competitive bids for water and sewer line construction than the town, arguing the town’s estimate for a $700,000 surety would tank the project.
“We’re able to obviously get things done more cost-effectively and more efficiently,” Lipscomb said. “We can’t (use the town’s estimate) because the project doesn’t support it. The tax credit that was approved by (Colorado Housing and Finance Authority) and the budget doesn’t support that.”
Lipscomb estimated around a $400,000 surety would be enough, but town board members were hesitant to move forward with a number so different from town staff’s projections.
Trustees Eileen Waldow, Andy Miller and Katie Soles were interested in delaying the agreement until a compromise could be worked out, but Lipscomb noted that he’s running up against deadlines the Mill Avenue apartments have to meet under the low-income housing tax credit program.
“Perhaps, the apartment build doesn’t need to move forward if that’s the case,” he said, “and then we can go build the water and sewer and proceed with that development and do it as a free-market project.”
Ultimately, Trustee Ryan Barwick said he didn’t want to lose the potential for workforce housing by delaying the agreement and motioned to approve it with a $500,000 surety.
“I’m a little frustrated that we don’t have clear numbers in front of us, but every single person in this room should want to see this project completed because it’s a good net positive,” Barwick said.
The motion passed 5-2, with Waldow and Miller dissenting.
In other business:
• The board passed a civility policy and rules of decorum for speaking during town meetings.
• An emergency water interconnect between the town’s water system and the Grand County Water and Sanitation District No. 1 at the Rendezvous East Mountain Filing 3 was tabled. A representative from East Grand Fire Department shared that the connection is vital to public safety in an emergency, like wildfires, but it was unclear how much it would cost the town.
• The board approved the final acceptances of subdivision improvements and releases of surety for Rendezvous East Mountain filing 10, Willows at Grand Park filings 1-3 and Elk Creek at Grand Park filing 2. The final acceptance of subdivision improvements for Elk Creek at Grand Park filings 3-4 were pushed to the Sept. 16 meeting because of concerns with grading and drainage in the yards of some lots.
• A Gallagher stabilization question will be on the ballot in Fraser since the board approved the language.
• Residents in Grand Park living near the meadow shared concerns with cows getting into their yard and asked whether the area is allowed to have cattle herds. Town staff said they would look into it and it was added to the Sept. 16 agenda.
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