School district disputes value of parcel
The Roaring Fork School District disputes the county assessors valuation of a property it plans to buy to expand Glenwood Springs High School, claiming there is no legal access to the building.The owner, Terry Fattor, said his property has access, legal or not, and its worth much more than the district is offering him. The Garfield County assessor valued Fattors commercial property behind True Value at $922,800. Fattor said the district offered half of that. But the districts appraisers could find no record of legal access to the building, superintendent Fred Wall said, and offered Fattor substantially less money.The building is accessible only by crossing private property, either through adjacent businesses on Grand Avenue or on Polo Road. Polo Road was thought to be city-owned until two or three years ago, when the district found out it owned the road, Wall and Fattor said. Fattor contends that his property has had access to Grand Avenue for 33 years, and the property would fetch at least the countys assessment of $922,800 if he sold to a private buyer. Fattor could likely get legal access before he sells, but would rather the district just give him a fair price, he said.If you want me to jump through hoops, I will, he said. Fattor also said he feels that a substantial piece of income is being taken from him, and the district should pay to replace that income. Fattor makes about $55,000 a year off of his Polo Road property, and cant buy another building in Glenwood Springs that would generate that kind of income with the money the district is offering him, he said. I think theyre obligated to put me back in the same place I was at before, making the same kind of money that I was prior to their taking my property, Fattor said.Fattor likely will make at least $100,000 on the property. He bought the property in 2001 for $350,000 from Rob Jones the owner of Glenwood Gymnastics Academy and one of Fattors tenants according to Garfield County records. Based on sale price and the countys current assessment of $922,800, the propertys value increased 164 percent in four years. But the sale price is not an accurate reflection of the propertys value in 2001 because Jones couldnt afford to own the building and gave Fattor a good deal in exchange for letting him stay, Fattor said. The district is already on a tight schedule to purchase property and start construction on GSHS, but likely wont be held up if negotiations take longer than expected or if condemnation is forced.To condemn a property, the district would need only to show a judge that it has negotiated in good faith, has condemning authority and that there is a public need, said Glenwood Springs attorney Lee Leavenworth.At that point the district could take possession and would have to pay Fattor only what its appraiser says the property is worth. After that the district and Fattor could wrangle over price, Leavenworth said. Both parties hope to find a resolution without condemnation.
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