August 31, 2012

Tanglewood development gets three-year extension
Has until September 2015 to produce $1.1 million letter of credit

On Aug. 23, Littleton, Colo.-based Pine Ridge Residential LLC received a reprieve from having the February 2006 Tanglewood Reserve Planned Unit Development Final Plat and Subdivision Improvement Agreement declared null and void by Park County’s Board of County Commissioners.

The commissioners resolution passed in February 2006 required that a letter of credit for $1,136,070 be delivered to the county by April 3, 2006, and it required that public improvements for Phases C and D, including a grade-separated intersection, be completed by Dec. 31, 2008. Those conditions had not been met as of Aug. 23, 2012.

Tanglewood Reserve is a conditionally approved planned unit development, or PUD, near Pine Junction, with 446 single-family homes plus commercial development.

Three-year extension

With a two-to-one vote, the commissioners’ written decision allows Pine Ridge three more years to submit a performance bond in the form of a letter of credit for more than $1.1 million for public improvements for Phases C and D.

If the letter of credit is not delivered to the county by Sept. 1, 2015, the final plat would be terminated without further action by the commissioners.

The commissioners may have a notice of termination recorded with the Park County Clerk and Recorder if the Sept. 1, 2015, deadline is not met.

The Aug. 23, 2012, resolution also terminated any subdivision or zoning that may have been approved before the Tanglewood conditional approval.

“The developer (Pine Ridge) did not live up to his commitments, so I voted no,” Commissioner Dick Hodges said after casting the dissenting vote.

Commissioners John Tighe and Mark Dowaliby voted for the three-year extension.

In February 2012, Pine Ridge had requested a five-year extension to deliver the letter of credit for $1,136,070. Pine Ridge is owned by Alan Fishman and David Coppfer.

The commissioners held a hearing regarding the extension request on Aug. 2. (See the story in the Aug. 10 Flume.)

At that hearing, Pine Ridge’s attorney, Thomas Ragonetti, listed several reasons why the company should receive an extension.

The resolution passed by the commissioners stated the findings of fact, conclusions and orders as listed below.

Claim 1. The final plat recorded on Feb. 14, 2006, was not to be recorded until the letter of credit was received. Since the plat was recorded, Tanglewood was legal and could not be terminated.

The commissioners determined the plat was recorded in error. An error on the county’s part did not negate the requirement or deadline for the letter of credit.

No evidence was presented that the letter of credit requirement had been waived. Therefore, it was not waived.

Claim 2. Tom Eisenman, then Development Services coordinator, told the developers that completing some grading work on the property would “vest the plat.”

The alleged Eisenman conversation was not confirmed, recorded or documented. Even if it had been, that did not stop the county from enforcing the letter of credit requirement. The plat could not vest until all conditions were met.

Claim 3. Each lot had been taxed separately, taxes were paid, and Pine Ridge had conveyed 110 lots to its partner Ryland Group Inc.; therefore the plat was legal and could not be terminated.

The commissioners disagreed. The resolution states that if the final plat is terminated in the future, Ryland will still own the land it now owns.

Claim 4. If Tanglewood was terminated, the land would revert to an approved 1981 PUD Sketch Plan, known as Will-O-Wisp Phase 2, with an increased density, including apartments.

The commissioners disagreed. The resolution states that if Tanglewood is terminated, the land will become two un-subdivided metes and bounds parcels, one parcel owned by Ryland and one owned by Pine Ridge. All prior zonings or approval were repealed by the 2012 resolution.

The resolution did not specify what zoning the land would have if Tanglewood was terminated.

The resolution was read into the record by County Attorney Lee Phillips.

The commissioners did not discuss or deliberate on the resolution’s contents before the vote was taken.

The commissioners had held three executive sessions regarding the Pine Ridge extension request between Aug. 2 and Aug. 16.

Contract to abate rubbish and junk

At the Aug. 23 meeting, the commissioners approved a contract with Elk Mountain Cattle Co., owned by Monte Downare of Hartsel.

Under the contract, Elk Mountain will provide services to abate (clean up) private properties containing rubbish and junk.

Land categories

This pie chart shows the values of the major land categories used in the 2012 Preliminary Abstract of Assessment. The total value of taxable land is $445.2 million. The values will be finalized in November and used by each taxing entity to help determine the mill levy and individual property taxes.  The chart does not include the $114.1 million in exempt land because it is not taxed. (Chart by Lynda James/The Flume)

The county must provide Elk Mountain with a work order for a specific property before any abatement can begin.

Compensation for each abatement will be based on the scope of work at each property.

Exhibit B of the contract was a work order to abate Timothy Ricard’s property at 1245 Badger Creek Road in the Badger Creek Ranch subdivision in the far southwest corner of Park County. (See the article in the Aug. 3 Flume.)

The cost is limited to $24,000 for abating the Ricard property.

Abstract of assessment

The 2012 preliminary abstract of assessment was approved. Each year, by state law, county assessors must prepare both a preliminary and final assessment of all property in the county.

The abstract of assessment is delivered to each property-taxing entity in the county, the Colorado Division of Property Taxation, and the Colorado Board of Education.

The CBE decides mill levies for all school districts.

The abstract is used by each property-taxing entity to determine the mill levy that is used to levy taxes against each property.

The final abstract is due the week of Thanksgiving.

The total value of Park County’s privately-owned property as of Aug. 22 was $445,238,704, according to the abstract.

This is about $4.6 million, or 1 percent, higher than in 2011, when the final assessment was $440,689,660.

Park County Assessor David Wissel said he was surprised that the 2012 valuation was higher than in 2011. He attributed that to an increase in public utilities’ infrastructure.

Public utilities are assessed by the state, not the county. That assessment was recently received by the Assessor’s Office.

The 2012 abstract is detailed and lengthy, with 10 categories of land. Each category is divided into specific subcategories.

The number of properties in each category is also listed in the abstract.

Preliminary 2012 assessed values by category are as follows. Values have been rounded by The Flume.

  • Vacant Land - $161.7 million

  • Residential - $221.8 million

  • Commercial - $26.5 million

  • State Assessed Public Utilities - $23 million

  • Agricultural - $7.1 million

  • Natural Resources (land with mineral resources) - $4.4 million

  • Industrial - $821,000

  • Producing Mines - $22,900

  • Oil and Gas - $0

  • Exempt properties (owned by government, religious or nonprofit organizations) are also assessed, but not included in the total taxable value listed above because they aren’t taxed. Exempt properties’ preliminary value for 2012 is $114.1 million.

Wissel said that the preliminary value traditionally changes somewhat before the final is due.

Since entities are beginning to work on the 2013 budgets, the preliminary gives them a fairly good idea of the assessed values for taxing purposes, Wissel said.

Each year’s final abstract of assessment back to 1997 is on the assessor’s website at www.parkco.org.

The assessor’s website is also linked to the county website at www.parkco.us.

Treasurer’s semi-annual report

The Treasurer’s Semi-Annual Report was approved by the commissioners. (See it on Page 36.)

The report lists beginning balances, revenues, expenditures and ending balances for each Park County fund and all other taxing entities.

The report covers the first six months of 2012. Values have been rounded by The Flume.

Total beginning fund balances for all taxing entities in the county (such as towns, school districts and special districts) were $15.2 million as of June 30.

Total revenues were $37.6 million for all taxing entities, with total expenditures of $32.8 million for the first six months of 2012.

The total ending fund balances were $19.9 million as of June 30.

New county auditor

Denver-based Posti and Adams LLC were chosen by a bid process to complete Park County’s 2012 audit at a cost of $24,530.

“The county wanted to have a new firm take a fresh look,” said Park County Budget and Finance Director Kathy Boyce, “It’s a good practice to change (auditor) every four to five years,”

She said that for the past six years, the county had used Denver-based Cutler and Associates. The company’s charge in 2011 was $23,000.

Hodges said the county had been pleased with Cutler but was following policy by changing firms.

Human Services

The 2012-2013 Core Services Plan for Park County’s Human Services was approved for $146,500.

The funding is passed to each state from the federal government. The state’s fiscal year is from July 1 to June 30.

A Colorado advisory committee determines each county’s funding level through a complicated set of formulas.

Core Services’ funding is about 20 percent of the approximately $696,000 total funding for children’s services, according to Park County Director of Human Services Joe Homlar.

Homlar said funding is about 15 percent less than last year’s, which was approximately $167,000.

Homlar said the state used a new model this year for determining each county’s funding. Some counties received more, and other counties received less than last year.

The Core Services funding is used for family preservation and reunification activities, such as family therapy, substance abuse, sexual abuse and life skills training.

In order for a family to receive the services, a child must be considered at risk of being removed from the family home.

Last year 62 families in Park County benefited from the services.

Road easement

The commissioners approved a road easement agreement for the federally funded paving project on Tarryall Road, also known as County Road 77.

Under the agreement, the county will purchase 2.12 acres for $4,115 from Gold Nuggets River Ranch.

The ranch is located about halfway between the Tarryall Reservoir and Lake George. It is owned by Robert Gold Jr. and 11 other members of the Gold family.

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