by Beecher Threatt
Shortly before granting a five-year extension of Divide Ranch and Club's preliminary development plan and Planned Unit Development agreement, the Board of County Commissioners learned that the 677-acre property is for sale. The developers/owners are Heritage Inn and Suites of Kansas City, Inc. and H.T. Heritage Inn of Erie, LLC.
Commissioner Lynn Padgett was reluctant to grant the extension without conditions; however, she voted for the extension with the other two commissioners. A sale to another developer was one scenario she was worried about.
"While the homeowners' association (Fairway Pines Estate Owners Association) recommends the extension, I don't think they realize there could be another developer," she cautioned, saying a new developer could come back in five years and plead for another extension. "I'm worried for people who sank their investments and savings into a property, that this will continue on for five years perhaps with nothing being done."
"If there is another developer, I want them to understand the county means it (this is the last extension)," Chair Heidi Albritton declared.
The BOCC, in its resolution agreeing to the extension, cited the compelling public interest held by the current private landowners. The extension continues vested property rights in the developer, which according to the BOCC's resolution are necessary "to complete the PUD, retain
ownership of lots already purchased within the PUD, and continue sales of unsold platted lots."
The original PUD agreement was pursuant to a previous version of section 6 of the Land Use Code, which the BOCC says does not limit its authority to grant an extension.
The property for sale includes the golf course, new clubhouse and remaining unsold lots. It is being offered by Land Advisors Organization in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Referring to a future sale, Divide Ranch and Club General Manager John Gurule told the county commissioners, "The owners won't take a lowball offer. It won't be a Cornerstone or a Bridges. They won't just take a million for it."
Recently Cornerstone Montrose, a luxury golfing development between Ridgway and Telluride, sold to SilverLeaf Financial, a firm specializing in buying and liquidating distressed properties.