Mr. Mayor, it’s Still a $30 Land Deal

Dave Chandler
Posted 6/12/18

Prime real estate in Arvada to be sold for $30: No matter what Mayor Marc Williams says in his Arvada Press Guest Column of May 24, that’s what it is. The plain fact is that nine acres will be sold …

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Mr. Mayor, it’s Still a $30 Land Deal

Posted

Prime real estate in Arvada to be sold for $30: No matter what Mayor Marc Williams says in his Arvada Press Guest Column of May 24, that’s what it is. The plain fact is that nine acres will be sold for $30 to a private, for-profit developer – it’s in the contract. Go look it up for yourself and see it in black-and-white. No matter how much Mayor Williams tries to spin this into a government “investment” the sale price is still only $30. Trammell Crow’s $75 million contribution is necessary at that level only because government – the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority – is dictating what kind of development this must be. If the project was market-driven, compatible with the area, and site appropriate, the developer’s cost would also be reasonable and fitting for the current market. Any alleged economic benefit that might accrue from this government mandated complex is complicated by the subsidies it is to receive. All sales and property taxes generated will be rebated to Trammell Crow until 2034. This project gets a free ride on city services unlike other Arvada businesses. Tax Increment Financing (TIF) used here diverts tax dollars back to the developer that would otherwise go to Jeffco schools, the Fire District, the Apex Recreation District, and other voter approved taxing authorities. Then there are compatibility issues. Lack of services is still a tremendous problem for a project of this magnitude. There simply isn’t a grocery store or other basic services in close proximity – this means more traffic on already overburdened Wadsworth Bypass. For Olde Town and the G-line, ‘traffic congestion avoidance’ could become a serious problem as potential customers seek to stay away from long lines, overcrowded streets, and lack of parking.

On March 19, the Arvada city council in a very irregular maneuver, passed a parliamentary motion – not a resolution, not a First Reading ordinance – but a motion that illegally, in our opinion, allowed them to rehear the Olde Town Residences plan less than an hour later. The law was manipulated for the benefit of a particular developer and for the advantage of Arvada Urban Renewal. Citizens were excluded from important decisions. The people were deprived of meaningful time for engagement with their elected representatives. Due process was thwarted in a prejudicial manner. Arvada for All the People has reluctantly initiated a lawsuit over this episode because the principle at stake has a profound impact on how Arvada citizens can be treated by their government. If we don’t triumph, it could mean that in the future a contrived motion could be presented to the city council and if passed could subvert the plain meaning of the law. In other words, Arvada government becomes lawless. If we win, it means that all agencies of Arvada government must follow the law. No special procedures for special developers – everyone must be treated the same. Let our democratic system work properly; let the American free enterprise and market system work as it is supposed to, and undoubtedly a development will be built on the site that will give Arvada taxpayers an immediate return and that will be productive and sustainable for years to come.

Dave Chandler represents the group Arvada for All the People. Learn more at www.ArvadaforAllthePeople.com.

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