Lake Village showing little progress on crumbling roads, finances | SteamboatToday.com

Lake Village showing little progress on crumbling roads, finances

Blythe Terrell

— The people involved in the Lake Village subdivision asked the Hayden Town Board on Thursday for more time to fix the roads. They got it.

But significant challenges remain for developers of the uninhabited subdivision south of town.

Infrastructure problems have caused safety issues at the development, which has been in the works for eight years. The areas around several manholes are compacted, creating crumpled asphalt and jagged holes. The road needs a second lift to be level with the curb.

Lawyers had urged the town to call the $500,000 letter of credit and nearly $2 million in bonds to make repairs on the developer’s dime. Town Manager Russ Martin suggested extending the contract instead.

Trustees voted for an extension Thursday after hearing from several players in the development group, Mountain Adventure Property Investments, which is embroiled in legal issues and has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The developer has until Aug. 8 to show progress and must report back to the town every two weeks.

Ron Sills of 4-S Development said the group is working through its problems and has signed an agreement to talk.

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“I believe we have a solution,” he told the board. “I believe we came up with it. We just want you to give us a couple of months. We want to go out and fix it.”

Internal conflict

Mountain Adventure Property Investments includes Grassy Creek Holding Co., 4-S Development, Oregon-based Robinson and Sons and an Oklahoma subsidiary of FSB Bank.

The partnership has been rocky.

In August 2007, contractor Robinson Construction filed $2.3 million in liens against 4-S Development for work at Lake Village and Hidden Springs Ranch, another Mountain Adventure project. Mountain Adventure Property Investments then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Jan. 23 of this year.

Because of those issues, developers said they have been unable to work on the problems. Lake Village is the first filing of the 1,040-acre Villages at Hayden project. It is slated to include 86 single-family residences and six townhomes on 40 acres off Routt County Road 53.

Developers, builders and lawyers spoke at Thursday’s meeting.

Robinson representative Kirk Moisan told the board that his company still has not been paid but was working with its partners to resolve the disagreements. Mountain Adventure Property Investments hopes to have the lien and bankruptcy issues resolved by July 14, Sills said after the meeting.

Moisan said Robinson would like to be involved in the repairs. He added, however, that he thought the roadwork had been done by a subcontractor and that Robinson was not admitting fault for the problems.

He urged Hayden leaders not to call the letter of credit and the bonds, saying Mountain Adventure Property Investments would be able to move faster than the town to make repairs.

Sills echoed that.

“We have the ability to do it the fastest, fix it the quickest : so the road is done so those life-safety issues are gone,” he told the board. “That’s what we want to do.”

An ongoing concern

The town has been displeased with the lack of progress. The developers already received one extension, in November 2007. That was set to expire Sunday. Town trustees did not see the movement on the project they had hoped for under that deadline.

“If we extend this agreement, as we have before, we still won’t have any guarantee that this would get done,” Trustee Bill Hayden said.

But as the group debated, the developers and their representatives told them it could take even longer if they had to get funding from a bonding company. Either way, the trustees decided they would have to wait to do actual fixes.

The bankruptcy issue throws another wrench into the problem, said Robinson Construction’s attorney, John Bernstein. If Mountain Adventure still is stuck in its bankruptcy filings, it’s possible that no one, including the town, would be permitted to fix the roads.

Trustee Chuck Grobe expressed his frustration with the developers.

“It’s been going on eight years, and here we are, we’re going to do the same thing again,” he said of the proposed extension.

“If I thought I could get it done any quicker, I’d probably go that way,” Trustee Tom Rogalski said.

Mayor Lorraine Johnson praised the developers for showing up.

“I commend them all being here,” she said. “We have more of them expressing the same thing than in eight years we’ve been working on this. : Maybe that says something finally to us.”

Grobe was the lone vote against the extension. Trustees Richard “Festus” Hagins and Jim Haskins were absent.

Martin said he didn’t expect to see repaired roads come Aug. 8.

“I am hopeful, but not optimistic by any stretch,” Martin said after the meeting.

He had stern words for the Mountain Adventure Property Investments partners.

“They better take it seriously, because this is not a reprieve of an ultimate decision,” Martin said. “We’re giving them time to discuss something they should have been discussing the whole time.”

– To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234

or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com

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