Monday, August 10, 2020

Town could play hardball over Brush Creek property sale

Staff meeting with Gary Gates and team

By Mark Reaman

The Crested Butte town council has scheduled a special meeting for Monday, October 23 to discuss the proposed Brush Creek development and specifically a potential resolution formalizing the town’s opposition to the sale of the property to the developer.

A meeting between the developer, Gatesco Inc. out of Houston, and Crested Butte town staff is slated for Thursday, October 19. If an agreement can be reached between those two parties to slow down the land transfer, the special meeting could be cancelled.

Councilman Chris Ladoulis put forward the resolution at the Monday, October 16 council meeting. The proposed resolution would make clear that it is the town’s position that the land should not be sold until all the partners discuss an amendment to the original Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed in 1998. The partners in the MOA include Gunnison County, Crested Butte Mountain Resort and the towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte. The resolution would state that the town firmly believes a written amendment to the MOA is required to change the use of the parcel to anything other than those stipulated in the 1998 agreement. It would claim that without such an amendment, sale of the parcel to allow uses others than those stated in the MOA “would be a breach of the original agreement.”

The council met in closed-door executive session for more than an hour on Monday to gather information from the town attorney on the ramifications of such a resolution.

“The county and CBMR have basically ignored our letter requesting the process slow down,” Ladoulis said before the executive session. “The county sent a draft purchase agreement to Gatesco after receiving our request but before the only public meeting on the proposal. This resolution would memorialize the opposition that was stated in the October 3 letter. There is nothing new in the resolution. In consultation with lawyers out of this valley, the belief is that if the county doesn’t pay any attention to our letter, we will be forced to respond. I believe this resolution makes our opposition more formal.”

Mayor Pro Tem Roland Mason suggested the executive session to gather perspective from town attorney Barbara Green.

After the closed-door session, councilwoman Laura Mitchell said she would prefer to wait before taking any action on the resolution until the staff met with the Gatesco development team.

Councilman Jackson Petito said he was prepared to vote for the proposed resolution but agreed to wait until after the meeting.

“I think this would be a good step,” said Ladoulis. “I think the most important thing to convey is that the town should have a seat at the table.”

“I could support it now with some amendments,” said councilman Jim Schmidt. “But let’s schedule a special meeting for Monday and if the meeting between staff and Gatesco works we can cancel the Monday meeting.”

The council agreed to schedule a special meeting on Monday at 6 p.m.

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