One metro district stalls while other pushes forward
March 13, 2014
While one proposed metropolitan district discussion has gone dormant, another is scheduled for a public hearing at the Windsor Town Board's regular meeting Monday.
Windsor town staff briefed town board members on the status of two proposed metropolitan districts, Harmony Ridge and Raindance, during a March 3 work session.
Town Attorney Ian McCargar said in the case of Harmony Ridge, the lawyers for the applicant, the Landhuis Company, presented the board with two options — grant the district unrestricted eminent domain powers or commit to constructing a sewer line to serve the proposed site. The applicant also asked the board to approve the district by Feb. 27 in order to meet a May deadline to get the district's formation on the ballot.
"So we didn't accept any of those options and it would appear the Harmony Ridge Metropolitan District, at least at this time, has gone quiet," McCargar said. "That doesn't mean they won't be back, but that's where we stand on Harmony Ridge."
He said the town received a second metro district application in early February, called Raindance Metropolitan District. The district covers about 1,289 acres at the northeast corner of Weld County Road 13 and Crossroads Boulevard.
"The pitch was that Raindance was Harmony Ridge, all the stuff you said you liked about Harmony Ridge, plus no request for eminent domain powers, but a request for a creative manner of accounting for certain mill levy revenues," McCargar said.
McCargar said the applicant filed the rough draft of a service plan to the board's attorney on special district matters, Jim Mock, who reviewed the plan and sent back a memo detailing changes that needed to be made to conform to the town's model service plan for metropolitan districts.
"The district's lawyers have chosen to step around Mr. Mock. That has not gone over well with him," McCargar said. "It would not go over well with me."
McCargar said the applicant was hoping to hold a public hearing for the district March 10, but his and Mock's recommendation to the board was not to hurry the district's applications, saying the two districts were a "significant departure from the town's model service plan."
Raindance applicant Martin Lind was in attendance and told McCargar he took exception to how the proposed district was being characterized.
"I'm sitting down here on the end of this table, just completely taken aback by you," Lind said to McCargar. "We're using the exact same lawyers that have done all the work in Water Valley since its inception."
He said his lawyers planned to work with Mock on changes to the model service plan that he said were not major issues.
"When you say that we're far reaching — more than some district trying to assess 60 mills, trying to pull a five-mile sewer line, when we're not doing any offsites, we don't want any eminent domain and we are within 10 percent of the max mill levy."
He said while Windsor allows 35 mills to be levied in its model service plan, Raindance was proposing to levy 39 mills — the same amount levied in Water Valley.
"I have never brought a proposal to this town board and asked for something to be slid through — not ever, not once," Lind said. He said he was simply asking to agree on a schedule and get on a schedule to meet the April deadlines.
Town board members gave directions to town staff to work through the week with the applicant on the proposed service plan to see if something could be ready for public hearing Monday, and if the proposal wasn't ready at the time, it could be tabled.
As of Friday, the item appears on the town board agenda for a first reading and public hearing Monday.