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On Tuesday evening, the Archuleta School District (ASD) Board of Education (BOE) took the first step in granting a portion of land to the Town of Pagosa Springs to provide a street extension necessary for The Foothills, an affordable housing project slated to occur near Pagosa Springs High School.
Town Manager Greg Schulte brought the proposal forward to the BOE at its monthly meeting Tuesday evening, with the specific request being to allow the town to move forward with obtaining a legal description to allow for possible future dedication of the land.
“Really, this conversation is within the context of the Foothills project that Steve (Graham) and Jack (Bridges) are proposing, and I know that you have been discussing that with them for the last few months as well,” Schulte said.
That project aims to develop affordable housing on land currently owned by the developers, as well as on land currently owned by ASD and land currently owned by the town.
“So,” Schulte continued, “the gist of this is that the proposal is to have the school dedicate a piece of property that really is the furthest southern end of South 6th Street, and that would … serve a couple purposes.”
Having that land dedicated to the town would mean South 6th Street would be extended one block, linking it into the lower portion of the Pagosa Springs High School parking lot.
He noted that the land is part of the “equation for the Foothills project,” but, from the town staff’s point of view, would serve a larger purpose to enhance circulation of traffic, provide additional access for emergency vehicles and would provide a “nice connection.”
Schulte then informed the BOE of the process should the board vote to allow the town to obtain a specific legal description.
The town, he said, would have Davis Engineering produce a legal description, which would then be brought back before the BOE for an official dedication, which he anticipated would occur at the BOE’s April 11 meeting.
That dedication would then have to be accepted by the town via ordinance, which would require two public readings.
He noted the town would pick up the cost of obtaining the legal description.
In response to a question from BOE member Lisl Keuning, Graham said the piece of land in question is about 60-70 feet by 130 feet.
Fellow BOE member Brooks Lindner asked if ASD would be conveying an easement, or full ownership, with Schulte indicating he believed they would be transferring ownership.
Bruce Dryburgh, who was chairing the meeting in Greg Schick’s absence, noted he did not see any purpose in ASD retaining ownership, with ASD Superintendent Linda Reed indicating if the town owned the land, it would maintain it.
Soon after, Reed noted that she had taken “several” of the board members by the area in question on their way to Ignacio.
Reed was referring to a March 7 trip the school board took to Ignacio to tour that school district’s new and newly remodeled school buildings.
The official notice for that trip made no mention of a site visit relating to South 6th Street.
Dryburgh later noted he felt the board should approve the agenda item and dedication of the property whether the Foothills project moves forward or not.
“I just don’t see any downside to it, personally,” he said.
A motion by Lindner to allow the town to obtain the legal description passed unanimously.
But the March 7 side trip was not the only mention of a meeting that, per state law, could be considered illegal.
The Colorado Sunshine Law indicated that local public bodies must notice a meeting 24 hours in advance and post specific agendas if possible.
Later, during Reed’s superintendent’s report, she mentioned a board lunch with the high school’s student council set for noon today, March 16, but, as of press time Wednesday, that had not been noticed to allow a quorum of the board to legally attend.