These signs have popped up all around the 189-acre Strawberry Fields property recently. A city spokesperson says, "The city did not post those signs and will be removing them."
So the city has decided to conduct an appraisal review of the appraisals it's refused to release to the public regarding the land swap with The Broadmoor
(Under the Colorado Open Records Act, the appraisals "may" be denied on grounds disclosure "would be contrary to the public interest." This is the provision the city used in denying access to the Independent
's March 31 request
for those appraisals.)
At issue are valuations done by the city of its land — a half-acre parking lot near the Cog Railway and 189-acre Strawberry Fields open space — and appraisals done by The Broadmoor's appraiser of various trail easements and tracts on the west side of the city. The city land's total value is roughly $2.2 million compared to The Broadmoor's value of more than 400 acres of more than $3.3 million. Lots more acres, lots more value, it seems.
The city's latest maneuver is rather strange, though, because the city's real estate manual is specific about when an appraisal review is to be used, to wit:
An appraisal review process is required any time the fair market value determined by the City’s appraiser and the fair market value determined by the property owner’s appraiser are so far apart as to have a negative impact effect on negotiations.
The manual also describes how an appraisal review is conducted:
The review appraiser will review the City’s and property owner’s appraisers’ computations, the nature and quality of the interest being appraised, deeds or option contracts when provided, size, maps, legal descriptions or construction plans when applicable. The review appraiser must: evaluate the City’s and owner’s appraisers’ qualifications; identify any legal matters needing resolution; study the information, data and analyses presented for qualitative and quantitative adequacy; and determine whether the appraisal reports conform to law, regulations....
And here's the rest of the description of what the appraisal reviewer, in this case Muegge and Associations, Inc., will look at:
The review appraiser must determine whether the facts cited in the original appraisal reports are correct, if the assumptions are valid and necessary, the analyses and approaches are properly processed and the appraisers conducted thorough appraisals. The review appraiser must determine that the appraisers’ documentation, including valuation data and analyses of the data, demonstrates the soundness of the appraisers’ opinion of value. Recognizing that appraisal is not an exact science, there may be more than one acceptable appraisal of a
The review appraiser shall identify each appraisal report reviewed as:
a. Recommended. The recommended appraisal shall be used to establish the fair market value for the transaction.
b. Acceptable. An acceptable appraisal meets all technical requirements, but should not be used to establish fair market value.
c. Not acceptable.
If the review appraiser is unable to identify an appraisal as “recommended”, as an adequate basis for the establishment of the fair market value, the City may obtain another appraisal or ask the review appraiser to present and analyze market information in conformity with 49 C.F.R. § 24.103 and USPAP Standard 3 to determine fair market value.
Jeff Greene, during the March 30 public meeting. He says the appraisal review and associated documents will be release; he just doesn't say when.
In a news release issued on Monday, the city said the appraisal review in this case had been ordered "to ensure our reviews are thorough, our communication complete, and all stakeholders and professionals adhere strictly to best practices."
Also from the release:
The City of Colorado Springs has followed the requirements of the Real Estate Manual by obtaining appraisals for all property proposed for the exchange in the City’s ownership. The Broadmoor has also had its property appraised by an independent certified appraiser. Pursuant to the provisions of the Real Estate Manual, all appraisals of the property proposed for exchange have been submitted for an appraisal review in which an independent third party appraiser will review the appraisals to determine whether the reports conform to the law, regulations and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices.
Mayor John Suthers' Chief of Staff Jeff Greene said the appraisal review and both batches of appraisals to be studied in the review will ultimately be released to the public, and the city's news release said the appraisal review will be completed "by the end of April."
Which means the review won't even be completed until after
the Parks Advisory Board votes to recommend or not recommend the exchange to City Council. Council is slated to vote on the proposal May 10.
(Have Park Board members been given the appraisals in advance of their Thursday decision? Just wondering.)