County gives tight deadline to finish improvements at Buckhorn Ranch

Commissioners threaten to withhold building permits for unsold property

Developer Dick Landy could lose the chance to get building permits for the remaining unsold lots in the Buckhorn Ranch subdivision and might have to forfeit part of a security bond of more than $1.5 million if he doesn’t meet the county’s demands by the end of September.



At a regular meeting on Tuesday, August 18, the Gunnison Board of County Commissioners again took up the issue of failings in the infrastructure and amenities in the subdivision and a looming deadline to have the problems fixed.
But unlike the last time Landy appeared before the commissioners—when construction deadlines were extended, an additional $1.5 million of the letter of credit was released and the two sides engaged in dialogue—the reception was much cooler Tuesday.
After rebuffing an attempt by Landy to sit at the commissioners’ table, the commissioners almost immediately went into executive session. When they came out their objective was clear: finish the job at Buckhorn Ranch.
Landy, a retired Denver-area dentist, incorporated  the 280 acres south of Crested Butte in 1998 as Buckhorn Ranch. The subdivision has had problems with a frozen water main, areas of poor drainage, unrealized amenities and lagging road maintenance.
The county’s requirements for the subdivision were laid out in a Development Improvement Agreement (DIA) that has been adjusted over the last several years to fit the changing circumstances.
“We have a number of issues here that we have to deal with, so let’s just take them one by one,” commissioner Jim Starr said. “On the affordable housing units [in Stallion Park] you have a deadline of August 31 to have those completed. I’m going to move that we extend that deadline to September 30, 2009.”
On that date, the commissioners will look at holding the security for that project, since it is due for renewal, or not, on October 31.
It wasn’t much, but that small extension would be the commissioners’ last of the day.
As they moved down the list of issues, the commissioners made motions after each item on the DIA, applying a September 30 deadline for the completion of each.
“We have various issues with infrastructure and amenities,” Starr said. “For the roads, we have a list of continuing problems, some that are construction-related, some that are maintenance and snowplow-related. Obviously we’re concerned with the ones that are construction problems.”
Some of those issues include improvements and repairs that need to be made to the subdivision’s roadways, such as installing street signs, patching or completing chip seal work, improving drainage and repairing damaged utility trenches.
The commissioners agreed that Landy should have contracts and specifications for repairing those road problems when the commissioners meet again on September 1 and that the work is completed 29 days later.
In addition to the work that needs to be done to bring the roads up to the required standard, the commissioners were also given a letter from fire inspector Scott Wimmer and fire chief Ric Ems, both of the Crested Butte Fire Protection District, regarding four fire hydrants in the subdivision that need to be adjusted to meet code.
Then there were the issues with the amenities, like ponds, ball fields and walking paths, which are also included in the DIA. The liner of Buckhorn Lake, one of several ponds on the property, has developed a bubble that needs to be fixed. The commissioners also asked, as they have in the past, that Landy address a problem with another of the ponds, Roseland Lake, that might still be leaking water.
While the commissioners agreed to allow Landy to clear brush away from and repair a bridge on a walking path before September 30, they required plans for a ball field and repairs to the pond be submitted to the commissioners for their meeting on September 1.
A plan for weed control on the undeveloped parts of the property also needs to be supplied to the commissioners before September 1 and the measures need to be implemented by the end of that month, they said.
“If we don’t have compliance by the September 30 date, at that point in time the board would consider withholding building permits for any of the lots that are unsold or still held by the developer,” Starr said. “As I understand it, that is one of the enforcement mechanisms we have in the DIA with the developer.”
But Landy said work was under way to bring the subdivision into line with the county’s requirements.
“If [the commissioners] had put this off two weeks, we would have had most of this done, but they wouldn’t. We’re starting the road this week,” Landy said after the meeting, during which he was not allowed to make any defense. “I came here to talk about it today and they wouldn’t even let me talk.”
During the meeting Landy did get the chance to say that he was disappointed that he had brought an engineer working on the project to the meeting and wasn’t given a chance to speak.
Tuesday’s changes were the eighth time the DIA between the county and Landy had been amended. The commissioners will revisit the matter at a regular meeting September 1, during which the commissioners will also discuss other enforcement measures available to the county.

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