Town faces lawsuit over executive session

A local resident has filed a complaint in District Court against the Town of Pagosa Springs alleging that the town violated Colorado Open Meetings Law in a Sept. 17 executive session.

The complaint, filed by blogger Bill Hudson and his attorney, Matt Roane, names Town Clerk April Hessman as the defendant in her capacity as the custodian of records for the Pagosa Springs Town Council.

The executive session at topic in the lawsuit occurred on Sept. 17 and was noticed on the agenda as, “Revision to Springs Partners 10-Year Vested Right Agreement Pursuant to C.R.S. Section 24-6-402(4)(e) Determining Positions Relative to Matters that may be Subject to Negotiations, Developing Strategy for Negotiations, and Instructing Negotiators.”

Representatives of the Springs Partners, owners Matt Mees and Bill Dawson, joined council in the executive session.

The original 10-year vested rights for the project were granted by council in 2008, with vested rights extending time limits on proposed developments, assuring developers that a municipality won’t affect changes in regulations or agreements to the detriment of the proposed development.

The development in question is slated to be located west and south of The Springs Resort.

According to documentation provided by Hudson, on Oct. 22, Hudson filed a Colorado Open Records Act Request with Hessman requesting a copy of the audio recording made during the Sept. 17 executive session.

Per state law, governmental bodies are required to record executive sessions and retain those recordings for 90 days — for the Sept. 17 executive session, that 90 days would fall in mid-December.

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This story was posted on November 25, 2015.