Dillon, Yacht Club back in court
April 29, 2009
DILLON ” A kerfuffle over parking rights between Yacht Club’s homeowners association and the Town of Dillon sends everyone back to court Friday. The Yacht Club lawsuit originates from the town’s elimination of parking spaces in a public right-of-way that has been used for decades by condo owners. A court-ordered mediation session Tuesday did not resolve the conflict.
The preliminary injunction hearing could further set back Dillon’s road reconstruction plans if Yacht Club wins its case to delay the project until a compromise is found. The hearing is set for 9 a.m. in courtroom R at the Summit County Justice Center.
Dillon hoped to move forward on a second season of summer road projects ” this year’s project focuses on revitalizing Gold Run Circle and Tenderfoot Street ” by May 4.
“The mediation (on Tuesday) was a failure in the sense that the town was unwilling to compromise or offer any compromises,” said Ed Gassman, an attorney representing Yacht Club.
Devin Granbery, Dillon’s town manager, agreed that the mediation was unsuccessful, saying it “resulted in impasse.”
Yacht Club is located at the corner of Gold Run Circle and Tenderfoot Street. Residents are tandem parking for units because not enough spaces were constructed when the complex was built in the 1960s. Owners say losing parking spots will significantly reduce the value of their property.
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Gassman also said that many condo residents were surprised when Dillon cracked down on parking rules.
“The current people who live there didn’t design the building and they didn’t create the current situation,” Gassman said. “They were led to believe by 40 years of parking that that was OK. Now the town has changed its position. Most of the people there didn’t even realize that they were parking in the town right-of-way. It wasn’t until the town marked lines that they became fully aware.”
According to Gassman, District Court Judge Terry Ruckriegle encouraged both sides to work hard to resolve the parking disagreement.
“We’ll do financially whatever it takes to make this work,” said Bill Bivens, the vice president of Yacht Club’s homeowners association.
Bivens, who was present at Tuesday’s mediation, said he offered to update the facade of the building and to help with costs associated with changing road-project plans.
“They (town staff) came with no offers at all,” Gassman said. “We may go back to the judge to ask for another shot at mediation, but the town would have to be willing to work with us on that.”
Yacht Club was granted a temporary reprieve April 22, when Judge Ruckriegle issued a restraining order against Dillon’s road-reconstruction project.
The condo’s HOA could seek a permanent stop to road work around the complex if a compromise with the Town of Dillon isn’t successful.
“The town is still standing strong on their position that it’s their right-of-way to use as they please,” Gassman said.
Granbery did not respond to Gassman’s comments about the mediation session due to pending litigation.
The town has suggested that condo residents use overnight parking near Bootleggers, a walk that many people say is too long, especially in winter.
With no bus route running by Yacht Club, condo residents have few options for parking solutions.
A bus used to run past the condo complex in previous years, Gassman said, but it stopped because of icy driving conditions. The overnight parking lots in Dillon’s town center could possibly be eliminated in five years, as part of Dillon’s master plan.
“In essence, the town is telling Yacht Club to tear it (the condo complex) down and build a new building,” Gassman said. “They did say in discussions that it would be nice if a developer came in and did that.”
The Yacht Club HOA president, Steve Delaney, said Dillon has been offered the complex’s lake-front land for a bike path to preserve the right-of-way parking that the condo owners say they need. The HOA has maintained that it doesn’t want to stop the project. It merely seeks a compromise and suggests that Gold Run Circle be made a one-way street, with recreational traffic in the second lane.
Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.