Measure 1C: Peak 7 neighborhood shoots down proposed $6.66 million paving project
FRISCO — Measure 1C, the project meant to pave 21 roads in the Peak 7 neighborhood, was shot down by 112 votes. Despite the seemingly even split among neighborhood residents heading into Election Day, the measure didn’t come close on the ballot.
Just before midnight Tuesday, 396 votes were accounted for with 142 in support and 254 against with 64% of the vote.
The measure, which would have affected more than 300 homeowners, was the most contentious local issue on the ballot. Signs were posted throughout the neighborhood showing support one way or another, neighbors accused one another of concealing information, several letters to the editor were submitted and a lawsuit was filed against the county commissioners regarding the issue.
“I think after the information had the public spotlight on it and people saw the real truth about the project, it turned a lot of people around,” Mark Pappas, a Peak 7 homeowner, said after hearing about the election results.
The roads that were to be paved included American Way, Ski Hill Road from the northern U.S. Forest Service boundary south to Discovery Road, Adams Way, Brook Street, Burro Lane, Discovery Road, Glory Hole Drive, Lone Hand Way, Pine Circle, Prospector Circle, Protector Circle, Protector Place, Quartz Circle, Shadows Drive, Sitzmark Circle, Skicrest Lane, Ski Pole Court, Ski Tip Road, Thunderhead Road, Timber Way and Twin Pines Court.
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The proposed project was to be funded through a local improvement district formed by the Summit Board of County Commissioners, and paving the roads was estimated to cost $6.66 million — $20,000 per landowner or more if the landowner could not pay up front and needed to enter a financing agreement.
Some landowners felt the project was necessary due to the poor condition of the roads, while others did not think the cost or potential environmental damage was worth paving. Aside from the argument that $20,000 is a lot of money, neighborhood residents were concerned about environmental implications and changes to the character of the neighborhood if the roads were paved.
“We all moved into a woodland neighborhood ripe with wildlife, and paving would affect that character,” said Larry Lewarton, a Peak 7 resident who spoke at this year’s election forum. “Paving would certainly result in increases for both passenger and commercial traffic going to the ski resort and at increased speeds.”
Opponents of the project also were frustrated with the increase in price from the initial estimate of $5.6 million to the final estimate of $6.66 million.
“Everybody thought they were voting for something that would cost $10,000 or $11,000 and it turned out to be $20,000, and that was not what they voted for,” Pappas said about the petition to put the question on the ballot. “The residents properly shut them down, and hopefully in the future, if the county tries to create any more of these (local improvement districts), they’ll be more careful about the regulation surrounding the process.”
Pappas was one of the plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit against the county over the proposed project. When asked whether he will drop the lawsuit as a result of this election, he said he will discuss the matter with his lawyer but that the lawsuit has served its purpose.
“Obviously, the main point of the lawsuit was to have the (local improvement district) dissolved, and by the results of this election, it’s been resolved,” Pappas said.
Now that the project will not be moving forward, residents who were in support of the project are disappointed that their roads will remain gravel. Bernhard Fritz-Krockow, a resident who was on the committee to pave the neighborhood, said that while residents are aware the roads are in poor condition, people were opposed to the process of this ballot measure, the cost of it and the extent of the project rather than the paving itself.
“I think we all see the problem, and we have to find a common solution because the problem persists, and it’s not going to go away. It’s only going to get worse,” Fritz-Krockow said. “We’ll have to get together to find out what will work.”
“My hope and prayer is that the community and the neighborhood will unite because this has been very divisive in our community and our neighborhood,” said Megan Greff, a Peak 7 resident who was in support of the project. “I’m hoping that the people who were in opposition that really ran an ugly campaign against it, I’m hoping that they actually step up and do some of the things that they said they would do.”
For now, the dirt roads will remain in the Peak 7 neighborhood and residents will not have to come up with the money to fund any major road upgrades. However, this was the fourth time a committee has been formed to try to pave the neighborhood, according to Fritz-Krockow, so it is very possible the neighborhood will see the issue come up again in future elections. Moving forward, both sides of this issue agree that something does need to be done.
“It’s certainly something that needs to be addressed. The roads up there are in terrible shape,” Pappas said.
“There definitely needs to be some traffic counting measures no matter what happens because there are so many large trucks that are servicing Breckenridge and particularly the ski resort,” said Mark Harris, a Peak 7 homeowner and a Colorado Springs architect.
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