Letter: Byers agreement not perfect, but still best thing for Fraser
October 15, 2013
To the Editor:
The Byers Peak Ranch Annexation agreement represents six years of hard work that was done by three elected boards. We have spent hundreds of hours negotiating this agreement in good faith with the developer. We have spent $350,000 (paid for by the developer) on attorneys and engineers working through the details.
Is the agreement perfect? No, there is no such thing as a perfect agreement. This agreement is a collaborative work that represents the best deal we could reach after years of negotiation. It is not a one-sided agreement but a fair agreement that best represents the needs of both parties into the future. It satisfies the town’s goal of making sure we have the security and the oversight which guarantees compliance with built in consequences for non-compliance. It also gives the developer the flexibility to develop his property over the next 35 years to meet the ever changing needs of the market.
It is important for everyone to know that if Byers Peak Ranch is not annexed into the town of Fraser, it will be developed in the county so the developer has nothing to lose. The town would still be subject to all of the impacts, including increased traffic, and gravel operations for pond construction, without the benefit of receiving any of the taxes and fees. The town of Fraser would lose all land use control and compliance oversight on 295 acres adjacent to our town.
If the annexation is overturned, the town of Fraser will need to build 60 acre feet of augmentation storage to protect our water rights in the Blue Zone. The need for this augmentation storage is based on zone’s water rights, not on the size of Byers Peak Ranch. Our water engineer estimates the augmentation to be $4.5 million, not including the cost to purchase 12-15 acres of developable land and negotiate the water easements. The developer has agreed to pay for these all of these costs as part of the annexation agreement.
If Byers Peak Ranch is developed in the county, the town of Fraser could be negatively impacted by how the developer chooses to process the sewage from this development. Without the town having oversight, the county and the developer will decide if a large septic system is best option for Byers Peak Ranch which could negatively impact our water table. The County and the developer would also make the decision of where to locate a mechanical plant which could negatively impact our neighborhoods. The developer could choose to build a mechanical plant under current town of Fraser zoning regulations in our business district which would negatively impact our business district and future sales tax revenues. Having multiple sewage treatment plants in an environment as fragile as the Fraser Valley may result in state oversight requiring the town of Fraser to provide sewer to Byers Peak Ranch since our plant is under-utilized.
I know this is a very emotional decision for the town of Fraser. We will all miss the view of our beloved meadow. I urge you to join me and the Town of Fraser’s Board of Trustees by putting our emotions aside and to Focus on Fraser’s Future by voting yes on Referendum 300 and 301.
Mayor of Fraser