Council wants more info about Lloyds’ contribution

By Ann McCreary

The Twisp Town Council kicked a contract between Twisp and Lloyd Holdco down the road once again, directing Twisp’s public works director to identify how in-kind services proposed in the agreement could be applied to construction of a recreational trail.

The most recent version of the contract, which was first introduced almost a year ago, calls for Lloyd Holdco to provide in-kind services of $18,700 to compensate the town for the withdrawal of a promised riverfront trail easement on property owned by Lloyd Holdco.

The trail proposed for the Lloyd property would have connected to a planned recreation trail extending along the other side of the river to the town park.

At the council meeting last week, council members and Bob Lloyd, one of four family members doing business as Lloyd Holdco, debated language that would provide the town a cash payment if Lloyd Holdco is “unable or unwilling” to provide the in-kind services according to a schedule established by the town.

Lloyd resigned from his seat on the Twisp Council shortly before meeting (see related story). Lloyd, who owns Lloyd Logging Inc., an excavation and construction company, has represented the family-owned Lloyd Holdco business during negotiations over the proposed contract.

Council members and Lloyd also discussed how much advance notice should be given to the town by Lloyd Holdco if the company is not able or willing to provide the in-kind work, which could include materials, labor, equipment, construction or maintenance for the planned trail.

According to the draft agreement, if Lloyd Holdco decided not to provide the services, it would provide advance notice of 90 days and pay the town $18,700 in cash. The agreement would then be considered terminated.

Lloyd said 90 days was too far in advance to provide notice because of the potential for unexpected events.

“Like the last two years when we [Lloyd Logging] were on fires and all our resources were committed,” Lloyd said.

Town officials were uneasy about the potential impact on the trail construction project if the anticipated in-kind work did not take place. The town might then incur additional costs related to change orders in the construction project, said Andrew Denham, public works director.

To provide the town some protection in that circumstance, a “penalty” of a higher cash payment could be built into the contract, suggested council member Hans Smith.

Denham said he would evaluate the trail project as a whole to identify a portion of the project, which would not impact other aspects of the construction, that could be completed through the $18,700 worth of in-kind services or a payment from Lloyd Holdco.

He said he would also work to come up with an appropriate amount that would be owed to the town if the in-kind services were not provided, and an appropriate advance notice period if Lloyd Holdco was not going to do the work.

Denham noted that the town does not have a detailed design for the trail yet, and is waiting for final authorization to move forward from the state Recreation and Conservation Office, which has awarded about $200,000 to Twisp for the project.

The easement from the Lloyds, which was promised in a notarized agreement in 2014, was withdrawn by the family last year because of “security” concerns, Lloyd said.

The easement would have allowed construction of a trail segment following the route of the former Wagner Street along the east side of the Methow River on property owned by the Lloyd family.

The 110-acre property on Twisp’s east side was originally proposed as an industrial/business park development, but is now zoned for residential and commercial use. The town vacated Wagner Street at the request of the Lloyds in the early 1990s.

Council members did not discuss a written comment submitted prior to the meeting by former council member Dwight Filer, urging that contract language be revised to make it clear that the town retains the option to acquire a right-of-way for a trail along the riverfront.

Filer said he wanted language in the contract clarified to ensure that the town could legally pursue eminent domain to acquire property for a trail as an option in the future.

“It is important for the Lloyd family to know these facts now, in order to prevent any misunderstanding that might lead them to expend resources, time and money planning for a future development without a trail easement,” Filer said in his letter to the council.

The letter was signed by eight other citizens, including former Twisp mayor Mike Price, former council member Susan Koptonak, and former planning commission member Susan Ernsdorff.

Filer asked to speak on the issue at the meeting while it was being discussed by the council, but was told by Mayor Soo Ing-Moody that the public comment period, which is scheduled at the beginning of each meeting, was over.

“I have issues that he [Lloyd] can participate and I can’t,” Filer objected.

Ing-Moody responded that Lloyd was part of the contract negotiations with the town. When Filer attempted to speak again, the mayor gaveled him into silence.

Ing-Moody told Filer said he was welcome to come talk to her personally. “My door is always open,” she said.

After the meeting, Ing-Moody said town is not relinquishing its ability to pursue acquisition of a trail on the Lloyd property.

“This agreement does not waive any potential future actions,” she said.

Council member Smith, who has said in previous meetings that the town remains interested in building a trail along the east side of the river, also said he believes options for trail acquisition remain intact.

“I do feel confident that the agreement under consideration does allow the town to pursue future acquisition opportunities for a town trail, including the town’s authority to pursue eminent domain if warranted,” Smith said.  

“I am just one council member, so I cannot speak authoritatively for the town, however it is my belief that the town government is still interested in obtaining some sort of trail right-of-way or easement on the Lloyd properties, and I do not believe there is any interest within the town to diminish our future ability to acquire such a right of way or easement,” Smith said.

“Whichever way this agreement gets finalized,” he said, “I know that my vote will be cast with confidence that the town has not waived its ability to pursue future trail related acquisitions on the Lloyd Holdco properties.”