BY DORIS B. TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
Replacement of the somewhat controversial Willow Creek fence will be on the ballot in the November 5 election this year. The measure was approved for inclusion on the ballot after the City Council heard from numerous residents about replacement of an existing fence, made of cedar and apparently in very bad repair. The actual language of the measure would establish a general improvement district for somewhat more than one-half of Willow Creek subdivision.
Council chambers was packed with residents who wanted to speak about formation of the special improvement district and the fence, most in favor. There is a total of 1,073 homes in the Willow Creek subdivision. The proposed General Improvement District that would be established is only for Willow Creek filings 1 and 2. The area to be included is bounded by East Dry Creek Road on the North, and East County Line Road on the south, with the eastern and western border meandering and uneven. Willow West is excluded, as is Willow Creek filing No. 3. Most of the Western border of the proposed district goes along Willow Creek and Willow Creek Park.
If the district is approved by the eligible voters, then the fence will be built and there will be an indebtedness that will be paid for over 30 years. Property in the general improvement district, for which the City Council would be the board of directors, is estimated to be worth more than $540 million.
It appears that the fence likely would be along East Dry Creek Road on the north, small portion of South Quebec Street. Not all of Willow Creek has a perimeter fence. If the fence is approved, it will not increase the perimeters for which there is a fence.
Only one opponent of the fence, George Poggioli, of 8830 E. Mineral Ave., spoke to council. In an interview with The Villager, he stated that the only reason the issue is on the ballot is because the homeowners associations are hesitant to raise the issue. The measure is a way that the city hopes to circumvent the homeowners associations in Willow Creek, he said. Furthermore, the homeowners associations have the right to raise $1.4 million annually in dues, he stated, predicting the measure to establish the GED will fail.
Several Willow Creek residents spoke in favor of the measure. There was some controversy over the costs for maintaining the fence, if it is approved. The homeowners association had estimated that the annual cost of maintaining the fence, if approved, would be $12,000. City staff estimated that it would be considerably more than $12,000. Council asked the city staff to figure out what the city believes the annual maintenance costs will be, if the fence is constructed. Mayor Stephanie Piko said her in-box had been full of messages from Willow Creek residents.
Speakers in favor of the measure included David M. Jackson, of the South Metro Fire Rescue District and a realtor, Brent Hilvitz of redesigned Realty.
In other business, the council approved deeding to the Southeast Metro Stormwater Authority a tract of land known as Tract B, El Vista Subdivision. The land is used for drainage purposes and was received by the city from Arapahoe County. SEMSWA desired to acquire the tract of land and the city did not want the land. City staff said the tract of land generates ice in the winter, and also said the stormwater district was better equipped to deal with the problems caused by the tract of land.
The land was transferred to the city in 2009. It was specifically created and reserved for drainage. The parcel was established at the time of development and was intended to encompass waterways, swales and drainage structures.
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