Executive Session Update: Purchase of 1500 Coalton Road4 min read
Good evening, neighbors! Our Superior Town Board just wrapped up a Special Meeting to discuss community space on Main Street in Downtown Superior – and as usual, I will be publishing a full recap later this week. However, I know that many people will be talking about the results coming out of our Executive Session at the beginning of the meeting – meaning, our unanimous decision to approve a purchase agreement for 1500 Coalton Road (the former Land Rover facility) – so I wanted to immediately share my thoughts on that.
First, you may read the official press release here. I will not attempt to restate all the facts contained in this announcement, but will instead provide my color commentary and rationale for my vote to approve the purchase agreement.
At the December 10, 2018 meeting (recap here), I struggled with the decision to rezone. It was clear that the lease was signed under the belief that The Denver Collection could legally operate in this space, which was unfortunate. However, I ultimately chose to uphold the previous Board’s zoning, and our Board voted 6-1 to rezone this property to Recreational Activity Center (RAC).
After that decision, the property owner filed an appeal, and the ensuing litigation has been the subject of several executive sessions with our Town Attorney since that date. Although I am a stalwart champion of transparent government, I agreed that executive sessions were necessary, since discussing pending litigation in an open forum would expose our position to opposing counsel. In those executive sessions, we tried to explore our legal options. However, a potential settlement was proposed: for us to purchase the property ourselves, in order to do with it as we pleased.
I will admit that hearing that the Town itself could control the space had me pretty excited. Although I don’t yet know what we will do with this property, I think it’s a very valuable piece of land, given its location right at the center of our population. (Our economic development consultant, who had no knowledge of this transaction, said as much in his current state report last week.) The Coalton Road corridor is walking distance from thousands of our residents, and the opportunity to resolve this litigation and control the destiny of the property was one I thought we couldn’t pass up. I want to reiterate that we still have not decided what we will do with the property, but seeing that there were multiple viable options gave me comfort in moving forward with the settlement agreement.
For me, ultimately, it came down to the fact that I thought it was important for us to protect the zoning that our previous Board of Trustees had tried to implement. As I’ve said numerous times on numerous issues, I think it’s important for people to be able to purchase homes in Superior and not be surprised by things changing around them that they could not have foreseen. If you buy a home next to an empty lot zoned for commercial development, you can’t complain when that development comes in; however, the zoning of this property was intended to prevent a used car dealership from replacing Land Rover. I am sure many adjacent homeowners bought their properties with that in mind, and at the December 10 meeting, many of them came to public comment to say just that.
One thing I gave a lot of thought to was whether I felt comfortable approving a purchase offer without first speaking with the community, when I am all for transparency. My answer is that I wished we could have these discussions in the open, and was really dismayed that we could not. However, I didn’t want that to stop me from doing the right thing – which the residents of Superior entrusted me with doing when I was elected. Thank you again for your trust – I hope I am living up to it, despite these circumstances not being ideal for open communications!
Now that we can speak freely, I am sure you will have many comments and questions, and I certainly welcome those. As far as next steps, we will be going through inspections and potentially closing in the next 30-45 days, and will also start to explore potential uses for the building in that time. Once the litigation is no longer hanging over us (assuming a successful closing), we can be completely transparent – and I look forward to robust discussion on the opportunity ahead!