Heron Lakes rezone approved

By Rudy Hemmann
The Surveyor

The applicant, Heron Lakes LLC, won approval of a rezone request along with changes to the concept plan and approval of a Final Plat (FP) for a portion of the project.

An information sheet provided by planning staff states the applicant requested changes in zoning to four parcels in order to accommodate PGA requirements, to move a golf course maintenance facility to an area away from the entrance of the development and to allow the applicants to take advantage of anticipated demand for commercial and mixed-use growth close to the main entrance to the course.

The applicants also requested FP approval for the purpose of creating legal parcels for what were five residential “superpad” sites which were approved in 2015. The superpad sites are located to the east of Lonetree Reservoir. The FP consists of approximately 153.2 total acres which comprise 227 single-family residential lots ranging in size from 8,500 square feet to 30,000 square feet.

Following an introduction to the agenda item by Community Development Director Curt Freese, during which he explained the requests in detail, the applicant’s representative, Jim Birdsall, addressed the board.

Birdsall stated the golf course is under construction, and there are currently two contractors working on moving dirt for the course.

“We are really, really excited about our clubhouse concept,” said Birdsall, “We are pursuing potentially doing a hotel that is connected to the clubhouse. We talked about doing that vertically, where it’s actually a vertically integrated mixed-use building, with some residential condo component as well. We may do that or we may connect it horizontally.”

He went on to describe a resort type of facility with a hotel, shops, restaurant and spa; these amenities, along with the natural beauty of the area, would make Heron Lakes a destination point in northern Colorado.

There were few questions from the board and a motion in support of the rezoning was soon made, seconded and approved unanimously. This was soon followed by a second motion approving the FP and concept plan, which was also seconded and unanimously approved.

The owner/applicants for the Heron Pointe development, Heron Ridge, LLC, requested two Preliminary Plats; one for the multi-family portion of the development and another for the single-family residential section. The multi-family section covers the northeastern portion of the development, and the single-family residential portion covers the southeastern, southern and western portions of the development.

A pair of residents from the Maplewood Estates subdivision, which lies to the southeast of the proposed Heron Pointe development, were present and voiced concerns regarding storm-water drainage and increased traffic on Larimer County Road (LCR) 17 during the public comment of the agenda item. Maplewood Estates is a county subdivision the residents of which have experienced flooding in the past.

Their concerns were echoed by Trustees Dick Shepard and Jan Dowker. Shepard was able to gain the assurance of the engineer in charge of the Heron Pointe project, Charles Sonnier of the design firm Lamp Rynearson & Associates, that, through careful survey work, the due diligence of his firm in the design of storm-water detention areas within Heron Pointe, and with the assistance of the county, that future flooding episodes would be mitigated. Sonnier stated the storm-water detention cells would be constructed to contain a 100-year rain or flood event.

Regarding traffic issues on LCR 17 the trustees were reminded by staff engineer, Stephanie Brothers, that extensive changes would be made to the road beginning in 2017. The changes include three traffic circles (roundabouts) between LCR 14 and Highway 287 along with widening of the road to one lane each way, a center turn lane, and bicycle lanes.

The trustees were assured the engineers would be staying on top of the issues brought up by the residents of subdivisions adjacent to the Heron Pointe project.

Two motions approving both Heron Pointe Preliminary Plats (Lot 1A and Lot 1B) were made in turn, with each motion being seconded, and then approved unanimously.

In other action:

The trustees approved motion directing the town administrator to sign a sewer service agreement with Longs Peak Farms (formerly known as the Haworth Property). The property is being developed under Larimer County regulations and the owner/applicants had requested the town provide sewer service for the proposed development. A connection to municipal sewage treatment facility is now considered far superior to the open lagoon type of treatment facilities which were permitted in the past.

The trustees approved a resolution appropriating funds in the amount of $30,000 for the firm Michael Baker International to proceed with their work on a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) for the town. The COOP would provide plans for town government to continue operating under emergency conditions.

The trustees approved an ordinance to exchange a town-owned 3.87-acre tract with the Heron Lakes development with a 5.58-acre tract owned by the development. This was a direct trade of properties with no exchange of funds involved.