Council extends moratorium

Residents of Fairview will have to wait to build on lots

Dana Strongin

Residents in the Fairview neighborhood will have to wait another 90 days before they can build on some lots.

The City Council on Tuesday voted 6-0 to approve an ordinance extending a moratorium for building permits on certain lots within the Fairview subdivision area.

Passage of the ordinance ad–d–resses an issue involving lots that were sold more than 15 years ago.

The city annexed lots in the area in 1989 in connection with west of Steamboat plans and then sold the lots to adjacent homeowners.

Since then, residents have disagreed about whether they were allowed to build on those lots. Some of the area’s residents have said that when the city sold the lots, it agreed not to allow building on them.

According to city staff, the lots were sold with deed restrictions prohibiting the sale of the lots separate from the adjacent lots. The deed restrictions do not mention any prohibition of building on the lots.

The council passed a moratorium on building-permit applications on the lots in April and extended the moratorium in July. The groups met with a professional mediator, but no final agreements were made. City staff members have told the council that more time is needed to promote negotiation.

Staff Attorney Dan Foote emphasized that need during Tuesday’s meeting. The disputes center on two areas, or “blocks.” Foote said negotiations for Block 2 are nearing closure.

Council member Susan Dellinger asked Foote whether staff needed the full 90-day moratorium to solve the issues in Block 2.

About three or four issues remain to be negotiated for Block 2, Foote said.

“We could use the time,” he said.

However, Foote told the council that he wasn’t sure the 90 days would help bring a solution to the dispute within Block 1.

“I don’t know if any resolution will be made for Block 1,” Foote said. “I’m out of ideas right now.”

Council President Ken Brenner said he had a problem with extending the moratorium if there was not a plan for Block 1 negotiations.

Brenner also said he did not want the city to hire a professional negotiator to deal with the issue again. The groups met in late November for a 15-hour session, which did not result in any set solutions. The city will foot the bill, which was more than $9,000.

Before the council voted to extend the moratorium for more negotiation — without paying for another professional mediator — Brenner emphasized that he wanted Block 1 residents to work together to come up with an agreeable solution.

If the council has to solve the issue, Brenner said, “No one’s going to be happy.”

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