Bonds OK’d for Green Gables

Glenn Wallace
Posted 9/27/12

Jefferson County commissioners overruled a prerecession policy last week in support of the developers of the former Green Gables country club. The …

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Bonds OK’d for Green Gables


Jefferson County commissioners overruled a prerecession policy last week in support of the developers of the former Green Gables country club.

The unanimous decision during last week’s regular meeting of the Board of County Commissioners granted the developers permission to form two Green Games Metropolitan Districts. Once formed, the districts will take out mill-levy bonds, raising the millions of dollars needed to construct the necessary infrastructure for planned developments, including roads, sidewalks, water lines, storm water drainage, common areas and parkland.

“The total cost for improvements for both districts is a little more than $37 million,” county planner Alan Tiefenbach told the commissioners.

The legal firm McGeady Sisneros, P.C., requested approval to form the districts on behalf of the Green Gables developers, who received county approval of zoning changes earlier this year to develop residential and commercial units on 152 acres of land that was formerly used as a golf course. The zoning changes allow the developers to build up to 225,000 square feet of commercial space and as many as 600 residential units.

Tiefenbach said that county staff had recommended denial of Metro District One, which would include most of the residential space, because of a policy a former Board of County Commissioners had set.

Policy Part 7, Chapter 2, Section 5.A.6 states that “the use of special districts solely as a financing mechanism,” for making necessary development improvements is to be discouraged by the county.

The county’s current supervisor of planning, Mike Schuster, said by phone that his understanding was that the policy was written before 2008 in response to complaints from some residents that their property-tax burden was made significantly greater than their neighbors by developers using special-district taxes, instead of their own pockets to pay for upfront infrastructure costs.

At the hearing, Tiefenbach said developers historically pass along those costs through increased lot-sale prices. However, when property taxes are used to cover infrastructure costs, he said, there is no compelling reason the developers could not still sell the lots for a slightly higher price.

“In this case it could be considered double dipping,” Tiefenbach said.

During last week’s meeting, though, both the applicant, and board of commissioners Chairman Donald Rosier said the practice of using metropolitan districts to help fund up-front development costs has become increasingly common and necessary in recent years.

“I have formed many metro districts, and I know that without those districts, those communities would not exist nowadays,” Rosier said.

As part of their approval, the commissioners included several conditions that had been recommended by the Jeffco Planning Commission. Among them is a provision that the developers provide full disclosure about the district and the additional mill-levy taxes to potential buyers, which could add $1,700 or more to their potential property tax, depending on the sale price of the property.


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