No repairs at Lake Village
Four development partners still trying to iron out problems
The Steamboat Pilot & Today, July 20, 2008
Steamboat Springs — The developers of Hayden's Lake Village subdivision say they're pushing toward repairing failed infrastructure, but some officials and members of the community remain skeptical.
Hayden town officials have given Mountain Adventure Property Investments, LLC, until Aug. 8 to show progress on the repairs. In the uninhabited subdivision, pavement is crumpling around several compacted manholes, and the roads need a second lift to be level with the curbs.
"We are going through the engineering company and expect to have that full report next week," consultant Alison Strauss said. She said several weeks ago that the group was expecting a report the last week of June. No repairs have been made.
A partnership dispute among the four companies that make up Mountain Adventure Property has caused much of the delay.
Local company Grassy Creek Holding; local company 4-S Development; Oregon-based Robinson and Sons; and Oasis Development, an Oklahoma subsidiary of FSB Bancorp., make up the group. Grassy Creek and 4-S are locally owned and control 61 percent of the company's stock.
"We've been in discussions since the second of July," said Roger Johnson, a manager for Mountain Adventure Property Investments and Grassy Creek Holding. "There are just some complicated issues that are going to take some time to work through. I believe it's been productive so far."
Strauss said the partners aim to have started work on repairs by the Aug. 8 deadline. Legal issues have complicated the work.
Mountain Adventure and 4-S have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a result of liens filed last year by Robinson Construction, which says it has not been paid for some of the work on Lake Village. Mountain Adventure says it has paid Robinson Construction in full.
Neither Robinson and Sons nor Robinson Construction is connected with RN Robinson & Son, an excavating contractor that has been in Hayden since the mid-1940s. The Hayden company has not done any of the subcontracting work on the project, either.
Hayden resident Wes Dearborn owns Dearborn Builders. He bought a Lake Village lot during an auction in 2006 and has been unable to build on it because of the legal problems. He and other lot owners are named as defendants in Robinson Construction's lien filing.
Dearborn said he had planned to construct a spec house on the lot to showcase some of the environmentally sensitive features he would like to start building. Now, his hands are tied, and he is unhappy with his investment.
"There's a lot of people interested in getting a house, and they thought that was going to be an avenue," Dearborn said.
In his opinion, it would be ideal for another developer to take over.
"I think that would be the best, to have banks foreclose and have someone buy out developers and move forward," Dearborn said. "I think it's a great project for Hayden."
Some Hayden Town Board trustees said they were skeptical about the project.
4-S owner Ron Sills came to the town with development plans seven years ago, Trustee Chuck Grobe said. The plans and partners have changed several times, Grobe said, and the project still is unfinished.
"I'm trying to turn all this stuff around," Johnson said of the partnership and financing issues.
Town officials agree that they would like to see that happen.
"I've had weekly conversations with someone involved in the project," Town Manager Russ Martin said. The town wants the developers to get a new letter of credit and new bond agreements for the project. "I would rather them just get to the point where they've got an understanding of where we're at. … Make progress. Don't talk about it, do it."
The people facing real challenges are those who bought Lake Village lots, Dearborn said.
"Hardworking people have their money tied up in this, and they can't do anything," he said.