Padgett's extension denied

School Board: Longtime property owner must vacate by Aug. 1

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Bill Padgett's request to remain two extra years on a property his family has owned for more than half a century was denied by the Steamboat Springs School Board this week.

The School Board's decision means Padgett must vacate his property by Aug. 1, as is stipulated in an agreement signed by both parties in September.

Padgett agreed to sell his 1.5-acre parcel of land adjacent to Soda Creek Elementary School after learning of the district's intent to acquire the property through eminent domain -- the right of government to take private property for public use. District officials say acquiring the land was necessary to address student safety issues complicated by a confusing traffic pattern and limited space in front of the elementary school.

"We started this process because it was a safety issue for the kids," School Board member Tami Havener said at Monday's meeting.

The district is ready to begin moving forward with improvement plans for the property, she said, and some "dirt work" needs to begin this summer to be completed before the next school year begins.

But Padgett had a different interpretation of the district's immediate plans for his property. He appeared before the School Board last month to express his desire to receive a relocation extension.

"The impression I had from the meeting was there evidently wasn't (any work scheduled) to be done on the family property for quite some time," Padgett said.

He went on to say he got the impression the School Board would grant a formal extension request. The formal request asked the district to allow him to remain on the property until Aug. 1, 2006.

In the absence of that extension being granted, Padgett said he might need more time to complete the planning necessary to move his home and apple trees.

"I can only say if you'd please help me in any special way," Padgett pleaded to the School Board.

School Board members said they needed to move ahead with the property acquisition.

"The district is really ready to move on this project," School Board President Paula Stephenson said. "We'd really like to see you moving forward to meet the Aug. 1 deadline."

Padgett will be paid a sum of $568,800 for his property, according to the contract signed last fall. But $56,880 of that sum will be withheld until Padgett satisfies the conditions of the contract, which include removing all houses, buildings and improvements to the property by Aug. 1. Padgett has expressed a desire to relocate at least one of the property's homes and its apple trees.

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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