More money for developer, fewer roads for residents: Problem Solvers investigate

Problem Solvers

ELIZABETH, Colo. (KDVR) — Residents in Elbert County fear their commissioners are about to approve a sweetheart deal for a the developer behind a massive subdivision that’s been permitted for 1,786 homes.

At Wednesday’s Board of County Commissioner’s meeting, Jim Marshall is going to seek final approval for a Spring Valley Ranch plan known as DGA-3 (Development Guide Agreement). DGA 1 was approved in 2001, followed by DGA 2 in 2006. Together they called for Marshall to build 16.5 miles of road in exchange for all of his housing permits in the development.

But now, 20 years later under DGA-3, Marshall is asking for permission to reduce his road obligations by about six miles, some critics argue it’s even more than that.

“He’ll save at least $6.5 million,” said Candance Head-Dylla, who lives in the nearby Meadows Station subdivision.

Head-Dylla has been an outspoken critic of the proposed amendment because she said it would shift responsibility for funding the six miles of roads to taxpayers.

“They accused us of being anti-development, anti-progress, we’re actually just the opposite. We have no problem with development. We would like to build the extra road that he’s on the book right now to build,” she told the Problem Solvers.

Along with other residents, Head-Dylla has tried to share concerns at public meetings and through the county’s complaint process. But last month, the three county commissioners approved a resolution on the consent agenda that revoked the county’s “Complaint and Commendation Policy.”

“They have blinders, they’re not listening to their constituents,” complained Byron McDaniel who sits on the HOA board for Spring Valley Ranch.

He told FOX31 he’s concerned the commissioners are about to let Marshall off the hook for millions in road improvements he said are desperately needed.

“The county has got to have some responsibility here in saying that we need roads to the north for emergency responders, ambulances to get to the hospital,” said McDaniel.

The Problem Solvers reached out to the three commissioners for comment but Board President Chris Richard said it would be inappropriate for them to discuss something they will soon vote on.

Jim Marshall also refused to answer questions from the Problem Solvers, including how much money he might save if the DGA 3 is approved. However he insisted the roads in question aren’t needed by the county anyway during a phone conversation. 

“I will confirm that the biased opinions you have heard … are contradictory to the facts,” Marshall later said in a text to Investigative Reporter Rob Low, without explaining what he thinks the faces are.

County documents obtained by the Problem Solvers suggest Marshall felt he shouldn’t be obligated to build all 16.5 miles of road because a 3,000 home development nearby called Spring Ranch Vista that was never built. But neither Marshall or the county commissioners have been able to provide FOX31 with documentation to show that the road obligation was ever tied to that scrapped subdivision. Neighbors and a former county staffer tell FOX31 that’s because no such documentation exists.

When FOX31 asked Board President Chris Richardson if any documentation existed tying Marshall’s original road obligations to Spring Valley Vista, he responded with an email that said, “That is an issue that needs to be addressed at the public hearing. Clearly, ensuring adequate capacity to carry anticipated traffic to/from/through the area is required.”

The Elbert County Planning Board has already endorsed the amendment that would reduce not only road obligations for Jim Marshall, but reduce his development impact fees.

“He’s under contract right now to build the roads that everyone is saying we need and yet they’re letting him off. Honestly, we don’t really understand it,” said Head-Dylla.

“I think the county supervisors could do a much better job of holding the developers accountable,” said McDaniel.

The county commissioners are expected to vote on the issue Wednesday, Feb. 10 during a 1 p.m. public meeting in Kiowa at the Fairgrounds Ag Building.

Due to COVID-19, there is a remote option for the attending meeting as well. Residents may access the meeting via on the Elbert County Public Information Facebook page or directly at this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCupNTEqqkrX5y0KVe8J_DQw

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