Byers Peak annexation draws heat
Ryan Summerlin March 7, 2013
The Fraser Town Board hosted a full house Wednesday night during the continuation of its public hearing about the Byers Peak Ranch annexation, with sometimes-heated testimony being submitted by a number of concerned citizens from the Fraser Valley.
The proposed Byers Peak Ranch annexation would, if approved, add to Fraser an area south of town that would consist of 530 detached and 905 attached residential units, 550 lodging units and RV sites, and 270,000 square feet of mixed use, commercial, and industrial units built out over a 35-year period on a 295-acre parcel.
Concerns were voiced about the proposed agreement concerning water plant investment fees, the length allowed for development of the project, gravel operations related to the project, and about the overall development of the area as well as the developer.
“The thought of living in a 35 year construction zone is not real enticing to me,” said Jill Suffin. “It does make me feel like I want to pick up and move somewhere else.”
“[This development] doesn’t pay for itself,” said Andy Miller. “Any development must pay for all of its infrastructure costs, if the developer is unable to cover these costs no development should take place.”
“Allowing Grand Park to have more gravel operations as a part of their development should not be permitted until after their current gravel piles, located at both the entrances to Winter Park and Fraser, have disappeared,” Miller said.
“Why should we reach into our pockets to make Fraser a better place for this contractor?” asked Jay Clough.
The Town of Fraser has been working on the annexation agreement since 2007 when the petition to annex the property to the town of Fraser was first submitted.
Under the proposed agreement the developer of the property, Byers Peak Ranch LLC, would be reimbursed for the costs associated with updating and replacing Fraser’s water diversion and treatment infrastructure, which would serve both the town and the proposed development, as well as for the cost of constructing 60 acre-feet of water storage. The total amount of the reimbursement would be $9,789,500, if the project were fully built out.
This would only be a partial reimbursement, according to Jack Bestall of Byers Peak Ranch LLC. The developer would be reimbursed through tap fees after making the initial investments to the water system and the reimbursement of that investment depends on the success of the development.
The Rendezvous and Grand Park developments have similar arrangements, said Jeff Durbin, Fraser town manager. According to Durbin, the town has water rights that cannot be utilized until more water storage is constructed. Through the proposed agreement, Byers Peak Ranch would dedicate the 60 acre-feet of water storage to the town, something the town needs for the future.
“It’s great to see the community engaged in this,” Durbin said. “There was a lot of thought put into the comments and we are going to work on providing that information.”
The public hearing for the annexation agreement was continued until April 3.