Fossil Ridge districts years late in filing court-ordered papers
LAKEWOOD – The Fossil Ridge Metropolitan Districts, which were formed to serve the Solterra development in the Rooney Valley, are not in compliance with state law or the court order that created it nearly three years ago.
Solterra will ask City Council on Monday to extend the vesting of its development rights for 25 years, a decade longer than what Council was willing to do the last time Solterra asked two years ago.
Metropolitan service districts are governments with the powers to tax and issue revenue bonds and are former to provide such things as water and sanitation distribution systems, roads and other infrastructure, fire protection and other services.
In her order creating the districts on Oct. 10, 2006, District Court Judge Lily Oeffler required the district to file a copy of its service plan and the Lakewood City Council resolution approving the service plan with the Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder’s Office and with the Department of Local Affairs.
And state laws governing the formation of such “service districts” also require such entities to file a copy of the service plan with the county clerk.
After 32 months, Fossil Ridge has failed to do so, according to officials in the county clerk’s office and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
DOLA is the repository of records for Colorado’s metropolitan service districts.
News of the incomplete files came as a surprise to attorney Kristen Bear, whose firm -White, Bear and Ankele – represents Fossil Ridge and a number of other metropolitan service districts in the state.
“As a matter of routine we do file those things,” she said.
Late Friday Bear’s staff located a “proof of filing” document indicating the district sent City Council’s resolution to DOLA in December, 2007. Bear provided the Edge with an electronic copy of the fax “transmission verification report” attached to the resolution. It is dated Dec. 13, 2007.
The firm refiled that document with DOLA Monday, Bear said.
When it was pointed out that the fax was sent to the state agency nearly 14 months after Oeffler’s order was issued, Bear said she thinks her office filed the document several times with DOLA, but had not found further verification Friday.
Bear said her staff still was looking into what happened to the service plan that should have been filed with the county.
The Fossil Ridge Metro District encompasses a portion of Lakewood’s Ward 4 City Council district.
Both Ward 4 City Council members expressed concern about the districts’ delays in compliance.
“Obviously, it is a matter of concern if they are in violation,” said Councilman Adam Paul. “It is something I need to look into and get some answers.”
Councilman Doug Anderson said Fossil Ridge’s position as a government means it should be more diligent in taking care of such business.
“The developer was given some very special rights out there to become a special district,” Anderson said. “To see them taking this paperwork cavalierly is a breach of their side of the agreement.”