|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Wednesday, 25 August 2010 00:00|
The developers behind a plan to build a 137-condo development along the former Beaver Creek Golf Course have six months to come up with $1.3 million in financial assurances for the project, following a decision last week by the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors.
The board gave its approval to the plan to divide some of the land for the construction of condominiums in 2005, but the developers are accused of not living up to their end of the agreement with the county, including a promise to make sure there were financial assurances in place.
Ron Schabatka and Seth Williams are the men behind Beaver Creek Land and Water, the corporate entity pushing for the development.
The recent economic downturn didn’t leave the developers’ plan unscathed; the golf course, which was a major cornerstone to selling the condos, shut down along with a popular restaurant near the location.
The stalled project has strained feelings in the community. Many residents have been vocal about their desire to see the Board of Supervisors revoke the permissions in place to proceed with the building of the subdivision.
Many residents have told county supervisors they just want the golf course to be maintained and eventually reopened, and the continued closure of the course has wreaked havoc with their property values.
William Ring, a Flagstaff attorney representing the developers, argued his clients want the same thing — a functioning golf course. Investors in the project argue by shutting down the condominium project, the chances are slim the golf course will reopen anytime soon; they say selling the condos would generate the money needed to reinvest in the golf course.
Other residents, however, told the board last week the developers had no interest in the community, and were stalling on the project until a new buyer comes along to renovate the course.
Janet Aniol, president of the Lake Montezuma Property Owners Association, likened the developers to “pirates,” something Ring vehemently denied.
Another disenchanted resident, John Squire, told the board that for all the concern he believes the developers have for the community, they might as well be “two businessmen from Dubai.”
Others spoke on behalf of the developers’ characters. Joel Gilgoff, a former coworker, described Schabatka as a hard worker and dismissed the talk that he doesn’t care about what happens in the community.
Ring went on to outline what he considers the good-faith progress being made through meetings with the county’s employees at the direction of the Board of Supervisors.
“I personally and professionally resent the characterization of my clients as pirates,” Ring said, arguing it’s next to impossible to engage in any useful or meaningful negotiations with people with those kind of attitudes. His clients have been working diligently as hard as they can to see this project turn into a success that benefits the community.
Kala Pearson, with the Beaver Creek Regional Council, said her group and others have in fact tried to have productive discussions with the developers about residents’ concerns, but their suggestions have been routinely “rebuffed and ignored.”
The issue of revoking the project has been before the board four times now.
The developers argue, in part, the county can’t revoke approval, because some of the lots have already been sold to other parties.
Following an executive session to obtain legal advice and a public discussion, the board voted to give the developers six months to prove they can meet the original stipulations for moving forward with the project, stipulations Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor Chip Davis said the community had originally helped develop.
Until then, Davis said no permits would be issued for the project.
“We need to balance the needs of the community with legal property rights,” Davis said.
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