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Timeshare project not good for Grand County

To the Editor:

As a homeowner in Winter Park Ranch whose home is extremely close to the proposed timeshare project, I feel I have more than just a passing interest in commenting on the proposed development of The Ridge at Winter Park Condominiums, a timeshare project. Many have accused us of being NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard), but that is far from the truth.

We realize that this property will be developed at some point in the future. It is, and has been, zoned multi-family. What we object to is the fact that the developer is trying to put a commercial entity in a residential area.

The developer, Silverleaf Resorts, claims it wants to be a good neighbor but it has shown its true colors. Silverleaf has run into legal problems in the past with some of its other projects.

(Check out the article at http://bestof.dallasobserver.com/2001-01-25/news/unfair-share/full for an interesting discussion of Silverleaf’s business practices. Or just type “silverleaf resorts + phone fraud” into Google for an eye opening experience.)

Some claim that Silverleaf has done everything possible to listen to the property owners’ concerns. They claim that Silverleaf has made changes every where it could to appease us. First, the developer has only done the bare minimum required in discussing this project with the property owners. The only meetings Silverleaf has held have been mandated by the County. The developer did not meet with us of its own accord. The meetings were set at the most inconvenient times so that local homeowners had little or no possibility of attending and second homeowners none. (Two-day notice was given to a limited number of property owners for a meeting to be held in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of a work week.)

As for making changes where possible, Silverleaf has again done the bare minimum.

Second, the change from having the timeshare “owners” not holding title to having them hold title to 1/52nd of a unit as required by the County changes nothing with respect to the impact to the residents. The fact is this project is not multi-family. Bottom line ” it is Commercial. It has no business in a residential area.

The County Commissioners do have a difficult job in balancing the necessary growth with regulation compliance. This project is not zoned correctly for the area in which it is intended. The definition of what a timeshare is was written for this project…so it could fit into multi-family zoning. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it is truly a commercial enterprise. It is much closer to a hotel than it is to a condominium. The Planning and Zoning Commission believes it is commercial. Because it now fits the timeshare definition that was drafted specifically as a result of this project, they must have felt they legally had to approve it.

At the original Final Plat hearing, the County Commissioners wrote that the project didn’t fit in with the neighborhood. By coming up with a definition of timeshare, it now “fits” on paper but not on the ground. The definition did nothing to make the development fit the neighborhood.

As for the benefit to the community, I believe the community deserves better. Another developer will come along and build on this property. We don’t have to take the first one that comes along. The business owners in the community will not be harmed by denying this project. The property owners of Winter Park Ranch will be harmed by allowing it.

I further wonder how the County Commissioners can justify placing even more burden on the infrastructure of Winter Park Ranch when it is already overloaded. The roads in this area are unsafe. Yet they continue to make them even more dangerous.

This project is not good for Grand County. When the Commissioners start zoning to meet developers’ needs, the residents (home owners and business owners alike) of our community have lost.

Corin Wood

Fraser


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