According to the Broadmoor hotel's website, the Ranch at Emerald Valley offers "refined luxury" and "rustic charm." It's a perfect destination "for everything from an intimate getaway to a quintessential Colorado vacation for a group, family, and friends."
Or for a meeting of elected city and county officials.
At least that was what it was used for Monday, when three of five El Paso County commissioners and seven of nine Colorado Springs City Council members toured the ranch, set to open Aug. 1. (Commissioners Peggy Littleton and Darryl Glenn didn't attend; nor did Councilors Jan Martin and Joel Miller.)
When the Independent asked the city about tagging along, we received a missive not from Council, but from the Broadmoor itself. Director of communications Allison Scott told us via email Friday that the tour "is purely a social function hosted by Mr. [Steve] Bartolin [the Broadmoor's CEO] to preview The Broadmoor's Ranch at Emerald Valley. The tour is not a business meeting subject to the open meetings law."
But the tour itself actually was posted as a public meeting on the city's website: "Joint City Council/County Commissioners Emerald Valley Tour and mtg.," starting at 11 and ending at 3. It was posted by the county, too. So it's curious why both entities would allow the Broadmoor to keep the media out.
"If public business is discussed, especially in a quasi-judicial matter, it could be used to influence the outcome at a later public meeting," which is illegal, warns former longtime El Paso County Attorney Bill Louis. "It's important that the public be present to hear what's discussed."
Asked if he also sees it as a public meeting, Denver attorney Christopher Beall replies, "Absolutely. It is a gathering of a quorum or more of both bodies for the purpose of receiving information about a matter within both boards' jurisdiction — what the Broadmoor is up to."
Council just last week approved a deal providing water to the ranch, and it's expected to take up the proposed closure of Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard in the weeks ahead, which would accommodate the resort's golf course expansion.
The group held an open meeting in the Broadmoor's Remington Room later Monday afternoon. Discussion there focused on the county's recently enacted 1041 authority, named for a House bill empowering counties to have say-so in matters of statewide interest.