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RTD station in Adams County: Fight over east, west Federal sites gets even more confusing

Update below: On Friday, we told you about a dispute about where to build an RTD Gold Line station in Adams County -- on a previously approved east-side site in a blighted area or a west-side plot near a wetland area and land owned by a Louisiana developer, the TOD Group. A meeting yesterday was supposed to clarify the matter, but according to eastside proponent Kim Gillan, everything remains up in the air.

At the onset of the meeting, Gillan says, commission chair Alice Nichol denied the existence of a June letter from the commissioners to the Federal Transit Authority expressing their preference for the west-side site. Later, however, the letter was produced. As noted in Denver Post coverage of the event, Nichol said the commissioners had erred in making this proclamation, which put the county between advocates for the different Federal sites.

On a similar tip, Adams County planning director said the substance of the June letter now needs to be adjusted, because "the commissioners recognize that the decision on where to site the station rests with RTD and the FTA, not Adams County."

That's news to Kevin Flynn, RTD's public information manager. Flynn did not attend the meeting, but he emphasizes that his organization has been following Adams County's lead.

"We think the west side works better only in conjunction with the Adams County land-use plan, which they changed last October to include this," Flynn says. "If they no longer want it, then it doesn't work for us.

"The reason we're looking at the west side is because we were asked to change it" from the east-side site in conjunction with the aforementioned plan, he continues. "If they don't want us to have the station there, they should let us know, because RTD did not initiate this change."

Given that both the commissioners and RTD's Flynn say they're not pushing the switch to the west, who'll decide where to build the station? At this point, Gillan isn't sure. Commissioner Nichol "said, 'We wrote it, so we'll stand by what we wrote,'" she maintains. "But I don't know if she was saying, 'We stand by our support of the west side' or 'We take responsibility for writing this letter,' even though they've adamantly denied it up until this point. And they've been questioned at more than one meeting about this.

"This is a big mess for everybody," Gillan concedes, "and I think Adams County just wants it to go away. But we're not going anywhere -- and no matter which side the station winds up being on, there are questions that need answers."

Update, 1:23 p.m.: In response to this post, the RTD's Kevin Flynn sent the following note:

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Just to clarify, my understanding is that the Adams County commissioners' meeting yesterday was not "supposed to clarify the matter" regarding the station location. To my knowledge, the station location was not on the agenda, which I found here:

http://www.co.adams.co.us/documents/meeting/12-13-2010%20bocc%20agenda.pdf.

We weren't on the agenda, and I wasn't at the meeting because there was no reason for RTD to be there. My understanding is that item 8 was a hearing on amendments to the county's land-use regulations, and we are not involved in that. I don't know how it became construed that this meeting was to clarify the station location.

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