Fraser annexation fizzles by tight margin
Ryan Summerlin November 9, 2013
The Town of Fraser’s referendums 300 and 301, which would have annexed the Byers Peak Ranch property into the town and approved the accompanying development agreement, lost by a nine-vote margin on Nov. 5.
“We have been contacted by the Byers Peak properties owner regarding the validity of that vote,” said Fraser Town Manager Jeff Durbin. Due to the closeness of final results, Durbin anticipates the developer or some other group may challenge the vote.
Because of the result, the developer likely will pursue developing the property in unincorporated Grand County.
Mayor of Fraser Peggy Smith said she and some of the town’s board members were disappointed with the way the election turned out. “We believed the annexation was really an important piece to the town of Fraser,” Smith said. “We are now trying to decide how we are going to move forward.”
While the developer of the property, Clark Lipscomb, president of Byers Peak Properties LLC., said he was disappointed in the way the vote turned out, he also said “we will be moving full speed ahead” with the plan to develop in the county.
Lipscomb said he fully anticipates county commissioners will approve the sketch plan that was approved by the Grand County Planning Commission last month.
The county will conduct the first of a series of official meetings on the topic in Fraser. “We wanted to make sure everyone would have the opportunity to see the process and be able to provide their input,” said James Newberry, board chair of the Grand County Commissioners.
“Developers have rights to develop, but I also look at what the effect is to the people around the development,” Newberry said.
The meeting scheduled for Nov. 12, will be for the county commissioners to discuss the sketch plan for the proposed development, though “the rubber won’t meet the road” until the preliminary plat review, according to Newberry.
County Planner Kris Manguso said there would be at least six meetings regarding the preliminary plat review before the development moves to final approval.
“My goal would be to have the preliminary plat review and all of the meetings concerning the property in the Fraser Valley,” Newberry said.
The annexation’s opposition relished in the election result. “I’m happy to see people saw it was important to stand up to Clark and other investors and to keep what makes our community special and to make sure developers pay what they should,” said Jane Mather, a lead Fraser annexation opponent.
Andy Miller, who helped to head up the campaign against the annexation, commented he still hopes that the agreement could be renegotiated with the town so the development could be built in the town “where it belongs,” he said.
Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334