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February 26, 2013
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Byers Peak Ranch annexation back on the table in Fraser

FRASER- The Byers Peak Ranch annexation is back on the agenda for the Town of Fraser with the continuation of a public hearing for the annexation agreement set to take place March 6.

The beginning of the hearing, which took place on Feb. 6, was host to testimony, some emotional, by citizens of Fraser who voiced their concerns about the agreement, which states the developer could build up to 1,985 residential and lodging units as well as 270,000 square feet of mixed use, commercial, and industrial units.

Discussions concerning the proposed annexation have been ongoing since the petition was submitted in November 2007. The developers, Byers Peak Properties LLC, and the town have spent a great deal of time sorting out issues surrounding the agreement. The town established a Byers Peak Ranch Annexation Subcommittee, consisting of Fraser Mayor Peggy Smith and Trustee Steve Sumrall, to help focus efforts on the annexation.

"We have invested an awful lot of time and work into this effort because there are significant benefits to the community that we are pursuing," said Fraser Town Manager Jeff Durbin.

Byers Peak Ranch is a 295 acre ranch located south of Mill Avenue and west of the railroad tracks. Fraser Valley Parkway bisects the parcel, and the proposed community would be linked by open space corridors and include a central open space and park with recreational uses and ponds. .

The agreement has been threatened with dead ends numerous times, with resolutions to deny the permit being drafted but never approved by the Fraser Board of Trustees. The public hearings and possibility of action by the board during the next public hearing may be evidence that after six years of negotiations, the developers and the town could be nearing an agreement on the terms of the annexation.

The parties have worked through numerous issues over the years, and the draft of the agreement shows most of these issues have been worked out. The one remaining issue is the recommended limits on building heights along Mill Avenue. The Town's Planning Commission recommended the building heights not exceed 45 feet, while the developer has requested a building height limit of 55 feet.

Water

One of the issues that appears to have been worked out is use of municipal water for the project. If the agreement were approved, the town would provide water and sewer services to the property. To do so, capital improvements would need to be made to Fraser's existing water diversion and treatment infrastructure including 60 acre feet of water storage that will be constructed by the developer and dedicated to the Town of Fraser, as well as upgrades and replacement of existing infrastructure.

The developer will pay a share of the cost for upgrading the water diversion and treatment system, and those costs will be reimbursed to the developer through the collection of water plant investment fees. The developer will be reimbursed for construction costs of all water facilities required to service the subdivision, as well as the cost to construct the water storage that will be dedicated to the town.

Currently, the fees the town collects for a single family equivalent (SFE), which is a standard unit of measurement based upon the generally accepted amount of water used by one single family, is $7,000. This fee can also be referred to as a tap fee.

The town now serves 889 SFEs with a total average daily demand at 200 gallons per minute (GPM). At full buildout of the town and Byers Peak Ranch, the average total daily demand would be about 729 GPM, including service to up to 1,897 SFEs for Byers Peak Ranch.

A memorandum included in the Board of Trustees Packet for the Feb. 6 meeting describes the timing of the needs for capital improvements to Fraser's water diversion and treatment infrastructure to accommodate the demand by both the Town and Byers Peak Ranch, the total costs and the share of the costs between the Town and Byers Peak Ranch for the improvements, and the structure for the reimbursement of the water plant investment fees to Byers Peak Ranch and how the town and Byers Peak Ranch would split the collected fees.

The agreement outlined in the memorandum and the draft annexation agreement states that the developer would pay $60,000 at the time the agreement is executed, $10,000 of which would be used for well improvements to supply the first 379 SFEs for Byers Peak Ranch as well as the next 160 SFEs for the Town. The other $50,000 would be used for water rights application for the planned water storage facilities.

Byers Peak Ranch would be reimbursed for all of the water plant investment fees generated from the collection of the first SFE to the 713th SFE. The Town and Byers Peak Ranch would then split the fees generated from the 714th SFE to the 1,331st SFE. Byers Peak Ranch would then be reimbursed the total amount of the 1,331 SFE to the 1,518th SFE, bringing the total amount of reimbursed SFE fees for Byers Peak Ranch to 900. After Byers Peak Ranch had collected the total 900 SFE fees at the 1,518 mark, the Town and Byers Peak Ranch would split the remaining 379 SFEs.

As a result of this reimbursement structure, Byers Peak Ranch would collect a total reimbursement amount of nearly $9.8 million at full buildout of the project.

At full buildout, the Town will have 1,530 SFEs and Byers Peak Ranch will have 1,897 SFEs, making Byers Peak Ranch 55.3 percent of the total SFEs at buildout.

When this point is reached, the draft agreement indicates the developers will be responsible for paying 55.3 percent of an anticipated $3.5 million upgrade to the town's water infrastructure and treatment facilities.

Roads

The Town of Fraser originally wanted the developer to build and maintain the roads within the planned development. However, the town has agreed to maintain the public roads within the subdivision. The developer will construct all of the roads according to Fraser's codes and will then dedicate them as public roads. The town will be responsible for maintaining the roads after their construction.

Build time

The time the developer was originally allotted by the town to complete the project was 10 years. The draft annexation agreement states the developer would have 35 years to complete the project.


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The Sky-Hi News Updated Feb 27, 2013 11:20AM Published Feb 26, 2013 09:20PM Copyright 2013 The Sky-Hi News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.