Thursday, September 9, 2004
A 180-acre parcel near the Steamboat Springs Airport is no longer in city limits.
On Thursday, the Patricia Ann Scott Family Limited Partnership successfully disconnected the land from the city on the basis that the city had not provided water and sewer to the land.
District Judge Michael O'Hara's decision on the deannexation came at the end of a two-day hearing.
The city's attorney argued that the land should not be deannexed because the partnership had not properly asked the city to extend water and sewer services, and so could not make a case for disconnecting the land from the city.
After the hearing, partnership representative Walter Scott said the partnership plans to divide the parcel into five 35-acre lots and sell them. If the land had stayed a part of the city, he planned to develop more than 100 lots.
"This is a very poor economic use of the land," Scott said about dividing the land into 35-acre parcels. "It really decimates the West of Steamboat Springs Area (Community) Plan, which we're very regretful for."
"It really is tragic, it really is. I just think it's utterly stupid, but that's the way the city wants to play," Scott said.
City attorney Daniel Foote, who argued the case on behalf of the city, said he did not think the decision would change the city's policies to make developers "pay their own way." He did not know yet whether the city would try to appeal the decision.
During the two-day court hearing, city staff, engineers, a nearby landowner and Scott testified.
Because both parties agreed that technical requirements for disconnecting the land existed, the key issue in this case was whether the partnership had made enough of a demand to the city to provide the services, O'Hara said before giving his decision.
O'Hara said that according to testimonies, he thought the partnership had made an adequate demand and that the city had put the partnership in an "unreasonable" position. The partnership could not develop a sewer and water plan because of a lack of easements, and so could not go through the city's planning process.
"Doors at the city have been closed to the petitioner in one way or another" for about the past year, O'Hara said.
"(The partnership) asked and begged the city to act and do something to make this property developable and has not met with any success," he said.
O'Hara said that he thought there must be something else going on that he didn't know about, because he could not understand why the city would take such a "vehement" position against the partnership's request to disconnect its property from the city.
The partnership's attorney, Mark Freirich, must submit an order for the deannexation within 10 days.
Attorney's fees were not awarded.
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