ROSH defends spending |

ROSH defends spending

After Granby residents raised questions about spending by the Recreation, Open Space and Housing Foundation and called for the foundation’s dissolution, its board is defending the foundation’s actions and its existence.

ROSH approached the Granby Board of Trustees in December seeking the appointment of a new member, but the appointment was denied. At the time, Trustee Natascha O’Flaherty raised concerns about the lack of Granby Ranch residents on the ROSH board.

Residents in the Granby Ranch and Edgewater developments pay a 1% transfer fee on the second sale of a property and beyond. This money goes to the ROSH Foundation, a nonprofit that decides how this money is spent.

With citizens’ concerns in mind, the town board directed ROSH to recruit new members from Granby Ranch for better representation. When ROSH returned with a Granby Ranch resident at the Jan. 28 meeting, other residents attending the board meeting objected to the appointment and accused ROSH of misusing funds. At the board meeting, one Granby Ranch resident said she spent $11,000 on ROSH and that no money had gone toward Granby Ranch.

In an interview with the Sky-Hi News, ROSH’s vice president, treasurer and secretary disputed the amount, stating that the 1% transfer fee was probably being conflated with other fees. Beyond that, the transfer fee falls on sellers unless buyers agree to help with closing costs.

The foundation maintains that the fee and ROSH board were created as part of the negotiations to annex Granby Ranch and Edgewater into the town, and mandating the money be spent at Granby Ranch was never part of the agreement.

“The fee was in exchange for them to be citizens of the town of Granby,” treasurer Pete Gallo recalled. “(The fee was) based on the fact that there would be expenses and things that would happen that would affect the town of Granby having that property in the town. These people would also receive the benefits — whether they like them or not, whether they consider them benefits — of being citizens of the town of Granby.”

ROSH members pointed out that the nonprofit’s bylaws and articles of incorporation allow for these fees to be spent, as the mission outlines, “to improve the recreation, open space and attainable housing environment in, or in the vicinity of, the town of Granby.”

While some Granby Ranch residents say this money should be spent on the development, the foundation says is has only been approached with one project in Granby Ranch. Because the application came from Granby Realty Holdings, a private corporation, the board chose to support the project through the Colorado Headwaters chapter of the nonprofit Trout Unlimited to avoid equal access concerns.

Members of ROSH also argue that the foundation’s bylaws direct ROSH to spend money in ways that will benefit all residents of Granby, regardless of whether that project is in Granby Ranch.

“Everything we have spent money on benefits them and it benefits the entire town,” said Susan Baird, ROSH secretary. “They’re part of the town.”

ROSH has submitted yearly spending outlines to both the town and a Granby Ranch representative. In 2019, ROSH reported an income of $231,554 in transfer fees. Donations went to Trout Unlimited, the Moffat Road Railroad Museum, Grand County for grandstands on the rodeo grounds, the Dairy Apartments and the Rodeo Apartments.

Trustee O’Flaherty raised questions about the $36,000 that went to the developer of Dairy Apartments, which many residents do not consider affordable housing.

ROSH defends that spending decision as supporting “attainable housing,” which is defined in their bylaws as units for sale or lease to target households with an income between 80-120% of the median household income in Grand County.

The median monthly income for Grand in 2018 was $5,872 and ROSH considers housing attainable when it falls within 30% of the median income range, meaning payments could be up to $2,114 per month. The Dairy Apartments meets this amount with rent for a one-bedroom unit at $1,750.

Granby’s attorney maintained at the town board meeting that ROSH and the town board are separate entities, emphasizing the need to keep these boards independent. Specifically, the only decisions the town board can make about ROSH are appointments and removals of board members and, with a majority vote from ROSH, dissolution of the board.

ROSH will be on the Feb. 25 town board meeting agenda to allow potential members to fill out a questionnaire before appointments are made.

The foundation will also be hosting its quarterly meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 17 in the boardroom at the Middle Park Agency. Foundation members said this meeting is open to the public.

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