Friday, July 07, 2006

St. Anne's Land Condemnation: Local Reactions Uniformly Opposed to City

The Arvada Press website appears delinquent in publishing recent letters to the editor, so I have transcribed the relevant local letters on the possible eminent domain condemnation of St. Anne's below.

I find the first letter of June 29, 2006 remarkable because it suggests "good faith" is a prefabricated buzzword of city negotiators, the phrase having also appeared in the CBS4 story linked above. It seems to be an attempt to poison the arguments of any who object. I am surprised at the unanimous dissent of local writers.

"City pursuing St. Anne's property at all costs"

The June 1 Arvada Press had an article titled "City wants land for New Library parking" by Neda Raouf.

At the first Friday Meeting this month at the American Legion Wilmore Richer Post #161, Mr. Bill Ray, deputy city manager, appeared in place of Craig Kocian, the City Manager, who was out of town. He said the story in the Arvada Press concerning condemnation of St. Anne's propety was not accurate or true.

After the meeting was over, the deputy city manager approached me and told me the problem existed and is taking so long to negotiate because officials at St. Anne's Church did not bargain in "good faith."

In a book titled Wadsworth/Grandview Environmental Assessment, on page 3-86 is a map whose source is Arvada Intermodel Village Plan, 2002. The map shows outlines of townhouses on St. Anne's property way back in 2002. The city of Arvada did not own the property then and still does not own the property.

This aggressive maneuver can lead people to think that the city acquiring the property is a done deal, which is the farthest from the truth. One can think this is another attempt to intimidate the people of St. Anne's Parish. This is by no means a noble service provided by the people of our city government.

I allege that the city of Arvada is abusing its authority. If there is to be any condemnation in this matter, it should be directed at the city officials who created this mess.

Nick D.

From the July 6, 2006 issue of Arvada Press:

"City Lied About Parking Lot"

I was a participant in the light rail/community redevelopment forum about six weeks ago. During that meeting, several people expressed concern their property might be subject to eminent domain condemnation. An Arvada city representative stated that this could not happen, because according to Colorado State law, cities do not have the right to exercise eminent domain. Now, according to the article published in this week's edition of the Mile High News, "the Arvada City Council approved an ordinance to use eminent domain to acquire the lot owned by Shrine of St. Anne's Catholic Church." Clearly, we were lied to at the Light Rail/Community Redevelopment Forum.
Rich E.

"Arvada Should Back Away From Eminent Domain"

Arvada is acting like a bully in attempting to acquire the St. Anne property by condemnation or threat of condemnation. Where were the city officials and council when the library site in old town was first considered? A private citizen wanting to develop a piece of property would be required to meet parking requirements before a building permit would be issued. While the city doesn't need a building permit, certainly the counicl and responsible city department heads should have considered the need for parking without the necessity of taking property of St. Anne's which has plans of its own that are just as important, if not more so, than those of the city. Citizens should be outraged by the double standard that the city is trying to implement.

Construction of the library at the new location should never have been approved. But the City Council seems determined to remake old town from a sow's ear into a silk purse, for reasons not readily apparent or justified. The council's determination to revitalize old town Arvada at all costs has already produced an unduly constricted main street that vehicles cannot easily traverse. Rather than place the new library on property that everyone could be proud of, the council with its limited vision and forseight elected to bury the new library amongst the clutter of old structures, which increases the lack of parking in the area. To say the least, the city should use property it already owns instead of trying to destroy the future plans of the church.

I am not a member of St. Anne's nor of the Catholic faith, but what the city has done and is attempting to do is wrong and reprehensible.

Val M.

See also the remarks posted at the Arvada Press Story, remarks often low in quality but clearly in opposition to the city. I repeat my surprise at the unanimity here. I have not followed local politics much, but it is plain to see that many citizens are skeptical of their representatives' city planning abilities and their motivations.

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