Martin Family, Solar for Grand County and Buses
Hello friends and fellow Grand County residents. This petition is in support of Jeff and Tracie Martin, their daughters, their home and their business with all of it's very important, 4 legged and 2 legged employees. This petition has been edited since it was created due to changes from the Solar company, Town of WP and the County.
The Martin Family has lived in Grand County on County Road 5 since November of 2000. During that time the area surrounding our six acre home has been developed with increasing industrial type uses. Most notably, the county bought the 40 acres neighboring the Martin home in 2003 and built the Road and Bridge Facility.
In October, the county approved a lease of the remaining 12 acres of undeveloped county property to the Town of Winter Park. Winter Park will then build their bus maintenance facility immediately adjacent to the Martin home, devastating our home value and disrupting the way we operate our business.
Here are the current plans for the facility. Keep in mind this is a very large scale facility that will cost tax payers millions to build and maintain on property the Town of Winter Park will never own.
This facility will greatly impact the way of life for the Martin family. There will be an increase in noise pollution from the buses, light pollution from the 24 hour security lights and 21 hr operation day and air pollution from the bus exhaust. The view from our home will be obscured by the maintenance facility, making the home and property much less desirable. All of these factors will devastate the property value of the Martin home and the value of the surrounding homes.
More of the Story
Earlier this year in July, we learned that the County was investigating a lease to a solar company to build a seven acre solar farm next to the Martin home. The solar farm would have generated up to 5% of the energy supplied by Mountain Parks Electric. This investigation took several months but was never disclosed to the Martins until the day before the county was to vote on leasing the land to the solar company. After learning about the solar farm, we immediately came up with several ideas to protect our value including selling our property. We saw that fighting the development in the area would be difficult now and in the future and sought a solution that would benefit ALL parties.
The "best case scenario" we came up with involved selling our property to the Town of Winter Park. The plan would have:
- Salvaged our home's value.
- Removed the only piece of residential property in the area on the north side of the road.
- Allowed the Town of Winter Park to acquire six acres for their bus maintenance facility located next to the Road and Bridge facility with which they want to share infrastructure.
- Allowed the solar project to be built directly next to the substation reducing costs.
- Mountain Parks Electric could have fulfilled their renewable energy plans.
In all of our research we were still very aware that the Martin family would benefit the least in all the scenarios, but at least we had a plan to protect ourselves and receive fair value for our home.
We had our home appraised, consulted our lawyer and worked toward making the plan work. In September we were told we were part of the agenda for the town of Winter Park where the town council voted YES to start negotiating with us on purchasing our property for this bus barn. We were told the town was also getting an appraisal and to expect an answer in a few weeks. After follow up emails and phone calls with no answers, we learned that the Town was no longer interested in negotiating with us, because they had entered into a lease agreement with Grand County for the 12 acre parcel for the next 30 years at an impressively low lease rate of $1 per year.
Our solution would have created winners all around, but this new plan mainly benefits the Town of Winter Park. Allowing them to utilize valuable property in unincorporated Fraser, while our home value is destroyed and our business put at insurmountable risk. That risk will negatively impact the lives of 75 other living, worthy beings.
At this point we believe it no longer makes sense to have a family residence on our six acres. The Martin home is now the only residential lot in the area on the north side of County Road 5. The lot is bordered by the Mountain Parks Electric substation, the county gravel pit, the county Road and Bridge facility, and the proposed bus maintenance facility.
We think there is still a way to have an outcome that benefits all of us. You can see a map of the area with possible solutions here. Our new plan revives the solar project and involves one of the governments buying our home and possibly using it as employee housing for the facility workers.
A couple of the County Commissioners have expressed concern for us and are willing to enter discussions on how to better serve and protect us. We are currently negotiating with the County to come up with property solutions. But until there is a contract in place we need to continue to pick apart this plan for many reasons:
our livelihood, the dramatic devaluing of our biggest investment, the loss of income from having to change the way and location of our operation, the concern for the dramatic negative impact on the quality of life for us and our dogs, the concern about a huge increase in traffic on CR 5 and on the junction of CR 5 and 40 both ends) and possibly the impact it could have on the junction of CR 5 and 50, the increased cost to taxpayers to build, maintain and run the operation from this location, the devaluing of all the surrounding properties (Ruhls, Welches, Fischers, Berwicks, Waldows, Engles and Christensens).
If you would like to show your support by attending the meeting, we would appreciate that greatly. IF you can not attend then please sign this petition. Signing this petition if you can be there is helpful, as well. Your support is appreciated more than you will ever know.
By signing this petition you agree that:
- You are a resident in Grand County, or
- You have property in Grand County, or
- You have vacationed in Grand County and had a positive experience because of our business, or
- You are a friend of the Martin family living elsewhere.
- The Martin Family should be compensated for the currently appraised value of their home, or what the Martins deem as Fair Value.
- Grand County should not proceed with the lease agreement with the Town of Winter Park until an acceptable solution has been reached with the Martin Family.
Thank you for your support.