Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tierra Bello Approved by the CDRC

Dear Neighbors,

The 7-member County Development Review Committee (CDRC) this afternoon approved the Tierra Bello Subdivision proposal by a vote of 6:1.  There was no public discussion of the development, but the report I sent you earlier was distributed to the committee members, who recessed their meeting for a few minutes to read it carefully.


In my opinion, the vote did not indicate strong support by the CDRC for Tierra Bello, but rather the belief that the committee had no legal basis on which to oppose the project. The CDRC staff had already reviewed the Tierra Bello proposal and had recommended passage, on the grounds that it did not violate any county code requirements.The issue of water availability was off the table, since the Eldorado Water and Santitation District had already issued a legally binding water permit to the developer. Thus, confronted with a staff recommendation and unable to consider the global issue of water availability, the committee members, in my opinion, had little choice but to approve the project.


Interestingly, in the discussion among the committee members, it became clear that they fully understood that the County Commissioners, whom they advise, have the latitude to consider broad issues of water, neighborhood impact, etc., of the development, and are not at all obligated to support the CDRC recommendation. Despite the vote, I came away from the meeting heartened that these larger county development issues will very much be on the minds of the County Commissioners when they take up the Tierro Bello proposal at their May meeting. Thus, if you are concerned about water issues in the community (and I hope you are), it is very important to make your opinions known in the next few weeks. I'll send around a memo in the next couple of weeks with specific suggestions, but in the meantime I hope you will inform yourself on the issues.


Jim Garland

Tierra Bello CDRC Vote Today

Dear Neighbors,

            Attached is the agenda for today's County Development Review Committee (CDRC) meeting, during which a vote will be taken on the Tierra Bello subdivision. Sorry for the late notice, but I've been out of town all week and just returned last night.

            As some of you may recall, the vote last month by the CDRC resulted in a 3-3 split vote. The tie-breaking 7th member did not attend the meeting, so the vote was postponed until this month when presumably the 7th member will be present.

            In response to my inquiry, Ms. Vicki Lucero, the County's Building and Development Services Manager, replied:

" The CDRC closed the public hearing at their last meeting, so they will not be taking any more public comment.  The one committee member who was not present at the last meeting has received a copy of the meeting minutes so that he is aware of the discussion that has already taken place.  Upon review of the minutes he will be able to vote on the project." (Note that the schedule has changed slightly so that Tierra Bello is now first on the agenda.)

            I replied to Ms. Lucero by protesting the CDRC chairperson's decision to close the meeting to public discussion: " I think members of the community are going to be pretty unhappy with no opportunity for further public comment. As everybody is aware, reading minutes of meetings is not an adequate substitute for hearing the actual discussion. Perhaps CDRC minutes are different, but usually minutes of meetings merely list the topics that were discussed, with at most a sentence or two of elaboration. Given the strong community feelings about this proposal, if a committee member who missed the discussion casts the deciding vote without being fully informed, it will seriously undermine the reputation for fairness of the CDRC in the eyes of the public."

            Please keep in mind that the CDRC does not have the final say on the Tierra Bello proposal. The CDRC, which has appointed members. advises the Board of County Comissioners, which has ultimate authority. The BCC recently tabled indefinitely the Spirit Wind Ranch development, another development by Mr. Joe Miller.

            While there probably will not be any public comment allowed on the Tierra Bello proposal, I  nevertheless believe it would be a good idea to have community members present for the vote, just to remind the CDRC of the broad community interest in this proposal. 


Jim Garland



Saturday, March 16, 2013

Final Report: Community Negotiations with Tierro Bello

Dear Neighbors,

Attached please find two documents:

(1) My final report on negotiations with Mr. Joe Miller and his attorney, Mr. Ronald VanAmberg, over the restrictive covenants of the proposed Tierro Bello subdivision. Recall that Mr. Miller was asked to consult with community members about their possible concerns. My report is based on comments received by community members, and Mr. Miller's response to those comments.

(2) A copy of the latest (revised) restrictive covenants for Tierra Bello.

Unfortunately, I do not have a complete email distribution list for all the neighbors and subdivisions that would be affected by the Tierra Bello project. I would appreciate your forwarding this communication to any of your neighbors or acquaintances who might be interested in the project.


Jim Garland

President, Spur Ranch Road Association

102 Spur Ranch Road