District starts condemnation process for school expansion
The Roaring Fork School District board agreed Wednesday night on a timeline for booting out businesses in order to expand Glenwood Springs High School.Voting 5-0, the board authorized beginning condemnation if the owners don’t agree to sell by Oct. 7.The board set the Oct. 7 deadline in order to have time to pursue condemnation if necessary and still be on target to have access to the properties by Jan. 1, as called for by its construction time line.”It does not mean that we are going to go through condemnation proceedings for certain,” said Shannon Pelland, an Re-1 assistant superintendent.Pelland said an attorney has advised the district that the law stipulates the district would be able to take possession of property 30 days after filing for condemnation but that it might take even more time.Negotiations could continue with the property owners even while the condemnation process goes forward, she noted.Pelland said she thinks the Sumers Family Trust, which owns the True Value property, wanted the district to pass the condemnation resolution before it would sign a contract to sell. The mere threat of condemnation results in a tax advantage for property owners, allowing them more time to reinvest the proceeds from the property sale before being hit with a capital gains tax, Pelland said.”It just strikes me as so funny that they want us to do this. … It just is such a funny deal. Who knew?” board member Sue Hakanson said.The condemnation resolution also applies to Terry Fattor, who owns the property that’s home to Glenwood Gymnastic Academy. The school district has reached a deal to buy from a third property owner.Board member Pete Delany said that while the word condemnation sounds ominous, “I’ve come to learn it’s a standard part of the process, and it’s what needs to be done to keep the project moving.”Neither Fattor nor the trust is refusing to negotiate, he said.”This isn’t a kicking-and-screaming-against-people’s-will kind of thing.”
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