City Hall halts Old Town developer
May 8, 2009
City Hall on Wednesday ordered an Old Town developer to halt work on a section of road that is under construction, claiming that the firm building Echo Spur on Rossi Hill has left the site in terrible condition.
City Engineer Matt Cassel said the letter he sent to the developer gives the firm seven days to describe to City Hall the measures that would be taken at the site and to provide a timeline for the roadwork and work on utilities. One of the developers said Friday morning he had not received the order to stop work.
According to Cassel, the order’s demands include the developer:
remove construction equipment
restore or replace of construction-site fences
put a cover on the site to make it less dusty
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fix the steepest part of the excavated site so it is not as steep
City Hall holds a little more than $40,000 in a financial guarantee from the developer, Cassel said, but it was unclear if officials would tap that money.
The site is in a tucked-away section of Old Town close to roads like Rossi Hill Drive and McHenry Avenue. It is visible from sites close to the land, but it is not seen from many other vantages in Old Town.
Once finished, the road that is under construction would be a new section of McHenry Avenue, Cassel said. There are 16 house sites on the land, and one of the developers said there are plans to build 11 or 12 houses, each between 2,000 and 2,200 square feet.
Connie Bilbrey, who is one of the developers, said the work stopped last winter after the road cuts were made. He said the stoppage was planned for the winter. Bilbrey said he expects work will restart by mid-June.
"It’s always been our plan to complete our infrastructure in the summer," Bilbrey said.
He estimated the roadwork will last three or four months once it resumes. The road stretches approximately 300 feet. He said the work thus far on the road cost his side approximately $150,000 and another $70,000 for the engineering before the digging started. He said the next step is to start building retaining walls on the sides of the roadbed.
The dispute reached Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council on Thursday, with a few neighbors attending a meeting and the elected officials receiving a briefing from the city engineer.
Bill Tew, who lives on the 500 block of Rossi Hill Drive, is among the displeased neighbors. He told the elected officials he is pleased with Cassel’s actions, calling the site a "black eye."
Tew wants City Hall to demand proof the developer has financing in place to proceed and wants the developer to be required to post a higher financial guarantee. In an interview, Tew called the site a "dirt pit."
"It’s ugly. It’s dirty. I’m watching the trees die," Tew said, questioning whether the developer has the financing to complete the work.
Bilbrey, though, said he has financing offers from banks and private-equity firms. He said the events of this week were not expected.
"We’ve had no phone calls. Our phone is here every day," he said.