Buckorn Ranch developer has four weeks to finish improvements

County threatens to dip into $1.68 million security fund

Buckhorn Ranch developer Dr. Dick Landy has four weeks to complete eight remaining items on a Development Improvement Agreement (DIA) with Gunnison County or risk losing more than $1.68 million in security.



According to county attorney David Baumgarten, a Notice of Default has been sent to Landy notifying him that he has failed to meet his obligation to make the necessary improvements at the subdivision south of Crested Butte.
Baumgarten told the Board of County Commissioners at a regular meeting Tuesday, October 20 that they should hold on to the remaining security, but not dip into the fund to finish the projects with county resources quite yet.
“The [Notice of Default] is a prerequisite if the commissioners were to determine to pull security, or not, and put the task to finish the punch list on the county, or not,” Baumgarten said. “That letter has gone out. We recommend that the board not release any funds today. There are sufficient items undone.”
Until all of the requirements of the DIA for the subdivision have been met, the county will retain at least 25 percent of the full credit amount, which is standard for every development or major project approved by the county.
Since Landy, a retired Denver-area dentist, incorporated the 280 acres south of Crested Butte in 1998, the subdivision has had problems with a frozen water main, areas of poor drainage, unrealized amenities and lagging road maintenance.
And there are still eight improvements remaining from a list of more than 20 that were originally a part of the DIA. They include the construction of a ball field, handling drainage issues on the roads and tennis courts, wetlands mitigation measures and reclaiming disturbed areas of the development.
A quarter of the affordable housing units in the Stallion Park subdivision in Buckhorn have still not been started, either. However the county offered Landy an extension on building those, until market conditions improve.
But the extensions on the remaining items that have been granted over the last three years are coming to an end.
Baumgarten and members of the County staff took a tour of the Buckhorn Ranch subdivision October 9 with Landy’s engineer, Jerry Burgess of Schmueser, Gordon and Meyer Engineers, and several Buckhorn homeowners.
“Each time we go, there has been some progress. But progress is not to the level that we can recommend to the board that there is completion,” Baumgarten said.
Part of the reason for the delay in finishing the projects is the specification to which the improvements should be made. A prime example is the subdivision’s roads that were originally supposed to be dirt.
Later, Landy agreed with the County Department of Public Works, which is reviewing the road improvements, that the roads should be chip-sealed to the specifications used by the county. Those roads continue to fail despite being chip-sealed, patched and, in some places, chip-sealed again.
Specifications are also becoming a hurdle to the completion of the ball field, which has a slope that might be considered moderate for a pasture, but extreme for a ball field.
“If you were riding over it really fast on a horse, you might not notice that the outfield drops four or five feet from side to side. But this is a ball field,” Baumgarten said. “So the specifications will be more than some want and less than others want, but clarifying those will avoid some of the problems we’re having about what the specs ought to be.”
Baumgarten said he was planning to meet with Landy and Burgess to set the specifications for the remaining improvements, but the commissioners couldn’t see those specifications soon enough.
Commission chairperson Paula Swenson said, “We need an agreement on the specifications of the improvements and a date for final completion and then hopefully we can put this to bed. If it is reasonable to get it done in four weeks, then let’s make sure it gets done.”
If, after negotiations, the county and Landy cannot reach an agreement on the specifications for the remaining improvements, the county could pull some of the security to complete those items on the DIA with county resources and Landy’s funds.
“There are a number of item specifications that we disagree about,” Baumgarten said. “If we can agree to the specs, great. If we cannot, we will have to make a choice about whether or not to use the security. But not today.”
That decision could come as late as next spring, when improvements made this year have had a chance to stand up to winter conditions and regular plowing on the roads.
But the county will have a chance to review the timing of their decision, and the improvements made or not made at the subdivision, at a work session on Tuesday, November 24.

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