A lively crowd of about 40 mostly Apple Valley Road residents met with Town Planner Paul Glasgow on Wednesday night to hear the options for 10 buyout properties totaling about 27 acres. The properties are located on Apple Valley Road and on the other side of the Saint Vrain river on Highway 36.
Some of the properties have river frontage, and all are available to the Town of Lyons to acquire. The overall message expressed by the audience was to limit the public’s access for recreational activities. Residents expressed concern that the Town might permit parking, picnicking, camping, or activities beyond tubing and fishing.
Glasgow assured the homeowners that the properties have deed restrictions that would not allow such activities. Some residents cited figures of $50,000 to $100,000 for annual maintenance of the properties. Other residents, presumably from the town proper, felt that the Town taking ownership would be a financial burden on the Town’s taxpayers. One attendee stated that the Town owns 20 such properties already, and in his opinion is in no position to take responsibility for an additional 10 parcels.
One possibility raised by a few people in the audience was that the Town or County could lease the properties to adjacent landowners for $1 a year, and the landowner would be responsible for weed control, litter pickup, and contacting the Sheriff’s office if there is camping or other trespassing. However, some residents were concerned that they might be liable for damages if someone hurt themselves on the leased property. Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen, in a later interview, noted that the Town’s property insurer will not cover bare properties (those without structures), and the Town is immune from such suits. Structures are forbidden on the buyout properties.
The Ecology Advisory Board and the Parks and Recreation department have recommended that the Town acquire all of the parcels. The Planning & Community Development Commission (PCDC) and Town of Lyons staff haven’t yet made a recommendation.