Mayor blasts Stillwater
Post Independent Staff
SILT ” Tired of the jokes and jeers about “still waiting” on the Stillwater Ranch subdivision south of Silt, Mayor Dave Moore put the screws to the developers Monday night.
In an emotionally charged and sometimes dramatic speech at the regular town board meeting, Moore began by scolding developers Dennis Carruth and Ed Sutton, principals of SWD LLC for a comment Sutton recently made that the town “lacked integrity,” after the town revoked the subdivision’s PUD in July.
“You have the audacity to make a proclamation of this magnitude with total disregard and disrespect for some of the finest people that I have ever met,” Moore said. “I am not going to take the time to ask for an apology, and neither do we want one. A forced apology is no apology.”
Carruth was in attendance at the meeting ” Sutton was not.
Moore also pointed out that it’s more than 10 years the subdivision was approved by voters and annexed into the town. Since then, there have been numerous delays, missed deadlines, changes, amendments, broken promises and agreements, thousands of dollars spent and countless hours of work on the project.
“And what do we have to show for it all?” Moore asked. “Nothing. “
When voters approved the 1,472-acre subdivision with 1,200 housing units back in 1996, the developers had promised numerous amenities, including one or two golf courses, trails and pedestrian paths, an equestrian center, community recreation, ball fields, a swimming pool, water and wastewater treatment systems and more.
When the town revoked Stillwater’s PUD on July 10, 2006, it stipulated that if the developers wanted to move forward with the project, they would have to start from scratch, although the annexation of the property would not have to be redone.
But Moore said newly proposed agreements eliminate many of the amenities and benefits to the town that were originally promised when voters approved the subdivision so many years ago. He warned that if those promises were not kept, the relationship with Stillwater would be severed.
“It all started with a courtship with Stillwater that turned into a marriage and now it’s seriously looking like a divorce,” Moore said. “And why the divorce? Very simple. Stillwater isn’t keeping its vows, the vows are being broken, have been broken, and if something remedial doesn’t happen and happen soon, then we can expect a divorce.”
Moore insisted that if the project was to be approved, it had to include the same promises that were originally made in a brochure distributed to the citizens of Silt prior to the election.
“You will abide with your promises that were made to the town back in 1996,” Moore stated slowly, looking directly at Carruth. “We will not forsake the wishes of our citizens as expressed by a vote to approve Stillwater. We will hold Stillwater to their promises to the town of Silt.”
According to Moore, Carruth has promised the town that the amenities and services would be put back into the new agreements and apologized that the project had taken so long.
“Dennis was very respectful and humbled,” Moore said. “He was regretful of all the years that had gone by and no production.”
Carruth was not available for comment on Tuesday.
Town staff and the developers will work diligently to hammer out new agreements.
“Because of (Carruth’s) incredible efforts, we felt we owed him one more chance,” Moore said in an interview Tuesday.
Town Administrator Rick Aluise said he and staff will be meeting with Stillwater representatives several times a week to work things out. The developers also need to finalize an agreement with Valley Farms Inc. of Texas, which owns the property for the subdivision. In 2004, the parties ended up in litigation over defaulted deadlines until the landowner, Roger Dixon of Texas and president of Valley Farms, died in 2005. The litigation has since been resolved.
However, a final deadline to reach a contract with Valley Farms must be in place by Dec. 7, 2006. If an agreement is reached, SWD LLC will have one year to begin construction on the Stillwater Ranch subdivision.
Carruth has said in the past that it is his full intention to press on with the project and hopefully break ground in 2007.
Aluise said work has already been done on a new agreement with the town and will be presented at the Sept. 11 town board meeting.
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