The Town of Pagosa Springs completed Draft Resolution (2004-15) opposing the Mineral County approval of the Village at Wolf Creek at a special meeting of the Council on November 9. “The resolution has not been filed, but the Town has sent comments to the Forest Service on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement,” Mark Garcia, Town Manager, said.
Village developer, Bob Honts, requested that the town wait on the draft resolution. “He asked us to please hear him out before we make a resolution,” Mayor Ross Aragon stated. “We want to be fair,” Aragon continued.
Honts declined an invitation to attend a Town Council meeting. According to Aragon, Honts doesn’t want the meeting to be public. “He said he [Honts] didn’t want it to be a three-ring circus,” Aragon said. In deference to meeting with Town Council, Honts requested a meeting with the Community Vision Council. “Honts said he would meet with the CVC, then with the Town Council,” Aragon said.
A meeting between Honts and the CVC scheduled for December 6 was cancelled because David J. Brown, CVC co-chair, will be out-of-town. Aragon attempted to reschedule the meeting on December 10, but according to Aragon, Honts will be in Denver that day. New alternatives proposed by the CVC for the meeting include three dates during the week of December 13-17.
“I regret that I couldn’t meet with them on Monday. I was ready to be there,” Honts said in a telephone conversation. “It’s a long trip for me. It takes sixteen hours to get there.”
When asked if he would be willing to be interviewed by the Daily Post, Honts said: “We are under an agreed court order not to do press statements. I can talk to you about Texas, but I can’t talk to you about our litigation with the ski area.”
According to Aragon, Honts requested the opportunity to make a presentation to the CVC on the proposed Village. “[Honts] asked us to submit any questions [CVC] had to him in advance of the meeting,” Aragon said. In a fax Aragon received on Thursday, December 2, Honts said he was still waiting on the questions. “Mark Garcia and Tamra Allen, Town Planner, are preparing those questions for submission to Honts,” Aragon said.
“I have to clear all questions with my attorneys,” Honts said. “We will have to wait and see when we get this thing rescheduled if that court order still applies.”
“I think it has to be an open meeting,” Garcia said of the developer’s desire to meet with the CVC. Angela Atkinson, Executive Director of CVC confirmed that CVC requested the meeting be open to the press.
Colorado Sunshine Law
Colorado Sunshine Law applies to “all boards, committees, commissions, authorities or other advisory, policy-making, rule-making or other formally constituted bodies and any public or private entity which has been delegated a governmental decision-making function by a body or official,” as stated in Law (24-6-401+)
Local governing bodies are required to keep open any gathering of three or more members, convened to discuss public business, in person, by telephone, or other means of communication. An executive session is permitted only during a regular or special meeting. A local public body can go into executive session only after two-thirds of the quorum present vote in favor of executive session. The reason for the session must be announced in public prior to closing the doors. A board cannot adopt any proposed policy, position, resolution, rule, regulation or take any formal action in an executive session.
Draft Resolution 2004-15
Draft Resolution 2004-15 of the Town Council, Town of Pagosa Springs, officially states the Town’s opposition to the Mineral County approval of the Village at Wolf Creek project. The Town Council understands they have no jurisdiction over the development proposed at the Village, but they have sought to participate in the public process associated with the development due to the imminent impact on the Town. “A Letter from the Town was sent to Mineral County prior to approval of the Village development,” Garcia said.
In the Draft Resolution, the Town Council and staff request, “that a comprehensive fiscal economic impact analysis be completed for the development so that direct impacts imposed on adjoining communities are identified.” According to the document, provided by Garcia, the impacts of the Village are not adequately addressed for the Region of Influence (ROI) and specifically Pagosa Springs. The Town highlights two socioeconomic impacts not addressed in the EIS: Impact to the local economic tax base resulting from potential decline of business in the lodging, dining and retail sectors due to development of the Village; and impact on associated transit elements, such as ground and air transportation to and from the development for employees and visitors.
Additionally, in the Resolution, the Town recommends a Regional Task Force be formed and an Inter-Governmental Agreement be executed with Mineral County and all affected agencies. The Town acknowledges that required permits from the U.S. National Forest, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Colorado Department of Transportation were not required prior to approval of the development by Mineral County.
“We are doing our best to build the premier mountain recreation village in the country, if not the world, and that’s what we are going to do,” Honts said.