Horse Gulch Blog

Watchdogging for the greater Durango area

19 Apr 2010

City Planning Department says Grandview land owners must pay for water infrastructure

Posted by Adam Howell


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Given our current economic recession and the poor parcelization of properties in Grandview that’s taken place over the past 18 months, Assistant Director of City Planning Tim McHarg said at a meeting Monday that the City cannot help provide the ailing subdivision’s infrastructure.

Instead, the City has decided to use its limited resources in a more strategic and focussed approach to ensure that the historic downtown Durango area remains vibrant and healthy, he said.

In the joint City and County study session, McHarg laid down the realities of the City not having the financial or staff resources to implement the Grandview Area Plan, as adopted in 2003.

“It was expected that the City, the County and CDOT would provide that infrastructure, but that’s not the way the city has historically done business,” McHarg said.

McHarg also highlighted using a map and words the tremendous amount of parcelization that’s recently taken place in Grandview, especially just east of Three Springs Boulevard.

“As a result of that, it becomes increasingly more complicated and complex to do things like provide urban infrastructure, which are essentially linear systems,” McHarg said. “As a result of having to get out to a more far-flung larger development project, where you potentially could internalize some of the costs in doing the infrastructure, you’ve got to leap frog over a whole bunch of smaller properties. Typically the smaller properties are either fully developed or have some economic vitality to the development and so they are not willing or able to pay their fair share of the costs for that urban infrastructure to go by. So it becomes very expensive for the larger parcels to internalize the costs of actually providing that infrastructure.”

Additionally, there’s no system in the Grandview Area Plan to establish a special improvement district to get property owners in the area to help fund the infrastructure, McHarg said. Also, the City cannot establish any special improvement districts in the county, as only the County can do that, City Planning Director Greg Hoch said.

Providing a transition buffer between different-sized parcels of development became another falter of the Grandview Area Plan, McHarg said.

“The second thing is that you’ve got a lot of large lot suburban and exurban type of residential developments out there, and the Grandview Plan recognized those land uses, and what it attempted to do to protect those folks from encroaching urban levels of development was require them to provide buffers, or density transitions,” McHarg said, adding that the buffers could reduce the value of adjacent property. “They were well intended but I just don’t think they were able to bear fruit.”

By the end, the Grandview connection was not discussed at the meeting, but I’ll keep you updated once I hear anything further about it.

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