City OKs subdivision on Redlands without 7-year road warranty

Citing worries about setting a precedent by deviating from development codes and concerns that city staffers were requesting an arbitrary warranty by asking for a seven-year guarantee on road construction, the Grand Junction City Council approved a plan for a Redlands subdivision without the recommendations approved by the planning commission on Wednesday night.

City councilman Bennett Boeschenstein cast the lone dissenting vote on the proposal, which approved the 72-home Pinnacle Ridge subdivision development with the standard one-year roads guarantee the city requires, with an additional year promised by the developer.

During the almost three-hour meeting, testimony about other subdivisions with challenging soils and topography were referenced and used as examples of roads that had not aged well over time, including Mariposa Drive, adjacent to Pinnacle Ridge subdivision.

City planners asked for a seven-year warranty on the two miles of road through the subdivision, which the developer opposed.

Robert Jones, president of Vortex Engineering which is handling the project, used words including “onerous,” “unreasonable” and “premature” to discourage the council from requiring the warranty, and said there was “no empirical evidence to support the need.”

Councilman Chris Kennedy said he thought an extended warranty like this was “a bit of a big ask.”

Rick Dorris, city development engineer, said seven years “seemed like a good number to protect the taxpayers,” citing concerns that road failures could be costly for the city in the long run.

Several councilors expressed concern that warranty length seemed random and unfounded. An engineer with the Colorado Geological Survey advised requiring a 10-year warranty, which City Manager Greg Caton said staffers used as a guide for the recommendation.  Staffers said the warranty was a hedge against road problems that have arisen as late as five years after other subdivisions were completed.

Though some councilors said they wished they had more evidence of the soil conditions at the site, ultimately they voted 6-1 to give the project the go-ahead.

“We’re opening ourselves up to lawsuits,” said Boeschenstein, citing his reluctance to go against recommendations from the state geologic survey. Other councilors cited a need to be consistent with the development code in approving the proposal.


COMMENTS

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So the only city councilor with a spine was Bennett Beoschenstein, who voted to assure the city taxpayers wouldn’t have to shoulder unnecessary expense later for repairing shoddy roads because a developer wanted to put more money in his pocket.  Bennett, you deserve an award. And shame on the rest of Council for failing to stand up for citizens’ best interests.

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