Byers Peak annexation article needs clarifications
Ryan Summerlin October 25, 2013
To the Editor,
We appreciate the Sky Hi News covering the Byers Peak Properties (BPP) presentation to the Grand County Planning and Zoning Commission. With the importance of the upcoming election and the need for voters to understand the facts of the situation, I would like to respond to one paragraph in your article.
“The sketch (plan) had some changes from the original plan developed with the Town of Fraser including slightly lower density of homes, reduced building height restrictions and a waterskiing lake instead of augmentation ponds for the Town of Fraser.”
In fact, the sketch plan proposed to Grand County includes 1233 units, compared to the 1897 units in the Town’s proposed plan, a difference of 664 units. That’s one-third fewer units and a one-third lower density, not “slightly lower density,” than what Town approved.
The developers’ proposal to Grand County remains consistent with the developers’ property rights, while the Town’s proposed annexation agreement would give the developers additional rights at the community’s expense.
Next, using this pond for waterskiing doesn’t mean it can’t be used for water storage for augmentation. In fact, with the town’s proposed agreement, town water tap fees could reimburse all pond construction costs, but the developers would be able to use the ponds for waterskiing, other water recreation, snow-making, gravel and other amenities for the development.
True, the developers would make the initial investment to build this pond, but they would get paid back twice, once through business revenues and once through Town water tap fees. In addition, the Town would be responsible for pond operations, maintenance, repairs, replacements, and improvements.
The only payment that the developers have agreed to make is $5 an acre-foot, or $175 for the pond’s 35 acre-feet, for snowmaking, while the Town could pay the developers as much as $3 million to build this pond.
With these terms and others in the Town’s agreement, we believe the Town may have given away so much that development through Grand County could provide better financial returns and control.
We’ve asked the Town for financial details and projections since February to show that the Town’s agreement is more beneficial than development through Grand County. We’ve yet to receive this information.