Bill Bivens: Dillon Yacht Club problems and solutions
April 25, 2009
As an owner of one of the units at the Yacht Club, I am concerned on how the town has handled the situation with the reconstruction project on Lower Gold Run and on Tenderfoot.
After we were notified last fall with a letter from the town that there was going to be a project to install a recreational path on Lower Gold Run and along Tenderfoot, we became concerned because, in that letter, it also stated that the parking problems of Yacht Club were our problem and that they were going to take away one of our only solutions, and that was our ability to tandem park.
We then set up a meeting to go over what it meant to us and what possible alternatives there were. At that meeting they suggested cutting off one end of our building to make parking out front next to the water. In the end I am sure Denver Water would never let us put parking so close to the lake or for that matter use their easement rights that go alongside our buildings. And to cut off the end of our building did not sound like a reasonable solution.
Another suggestion was made that we could purchase a piece of property across the street for a parking lot for overflow parking. Of course that suggestion would mean a variance in town codes, which state that the parking must be contiguous to our current parking. This does not even mention how the neighbors on the other side of the street would react to having our parking lot next to their homes.
During and after the meetings we found some things out that started us down the path of fighting the town and their plans.
The recreational path would be an added value to the town and its visitors but there has to be some compromise based on a few facts.
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1. The Town of Dillon in the mid 60s allowed the developers of Yacht Club to build so close to the street, thus making for little or no parking accommodations. When the buildings were built there was plenty of street parking available, The town manager Devin’s comments in your paper the other day recognized this when he stated, “It (Yacht Club Condos) was built at a time when there wasn’t off-street parking requirements.” Unfortunately his conclusion was “Condo owners did not provide enough parking spaces for the units. This needs to be remedied.” Well, I for one was not born yet and somehow it is not my fault the town did not make the developers of the property put adequate parking in place. So for him to say it’s the condos owner’s fault is not true, it is really the developers and the town that are ultimately responsible.
2. When the condo complex was built there was plenty of parking on the streets of Dillon, but over the past two or three decades, there has been more development along Tenderfoot and Gold Run, thus minimizing the street parking, to where a few years back they disallowed it all together and told owners and residents of Yacht Club, you can park in town parking lots and then walk down Tenderfoot. The Town over the years has allowed tandem parking along Gold Run and Tenderfoot and even though a lot of citizens and neighbors agree that it has been kind of helter-skelter, we believe this is the perfect opportunity to define parking and try and allow for the best solution given the set of circumstances and also to allow residents, guests and ultimately taxpayers to park near their homes.
3. The town and its employees have stated over and over again that the reason the bike path is necessary is because of safety. We believe that without the town’s help in solving our parking situation, which none of us here today created, the town’s solution imperils our residents, guests and owners that are now forced to walk down Tenderfoot to the Yacht Club, from town parking lots.
4. During the last several weeks our attorneys have presented alternatives to the town: a one-way street on Gold Run to accommodate the parking issues at Yacht Club; have the bike path run along Upper Gold Run instead of Lower Gold Run. There were a few more suggestions, but nothing from the town ever materialized.
5. At the last Council meeting we were told we had a chance to speak during the citizens comment section of the meeting, which was conveniently before their discussions regarding this issue and while they were discussing the matter amongst themselves, we could not speak or rebut what they were saying. After an executive session, we were told that no compromise would be offered.
6. That has led us to this very difficult decision to try and find a solution through the legal system because we believe that our rights were infringed upon at the hearing and we were not given due process. We believe there are a number of alternatives that make sense and can work for everyone; these alternatives the town is unwilling to consider.
The Yacht Club and its owners understand that a problem was created a long time ago before the development of Dillon really took hold and before the current owners purchased into the complex. But to have the town bury its heads in the sand and try and force the construction project without really trying to compromise is a little bit sad and a bit arrogant.