Heron Pointe developer ready to move forward

By John Gardner
The Surveyor

As the dust continues to settle on the Heron Pointe development, developer Bob Dehn said that the project is moving forward after a referendum petition was rejected by Berthoud Town Clerk Mary Cowdin last week.

“We are moving forward,” Dehn said, Wednesday. “That is what we feel is the right thing. We are going to get moving to get this built as quickly as possible and finish the process that we have to do.”

The Heron Pointe development’s concept plan and annexation was approved by the Berthoud Trustees in January and includes approximately 80 acres of single-family residential, multifamily residential, and a commercial component as well. The property straddles County Road 17, south of County Road 14.

The next step in the process is for the developer to get approval of the final plat. But, Dehn said that he’s willing to reopen dialogue with nearby residents.

“If we feel that there are some things that will improve [the project], we will keep correspondence open with neighbors and with the town,” Dehn said.

Some nearby residents of the development opposed the project by submitting petitions to repeal the annexation in February, but that petition was deemed insufficient by Cowdin after all 314 signatures were found to not include all pertinent information required by state statute. Opposition then circulated a referendum petition, again gathering over 300 signatures, which was rejected again by Cowdin because according to municipal election code, the time frame to petition the annexation had already lapsed.

As of Wednesday morning, Cowdin said that there isn’t anything more the town can do.

“There is nothing for us to do on our end at this time,” she said.

Town Administrator Mike Hart said that the town’s attorney, Greg Bell, and opposition’s attorney, Ted Bendelow, continue to discuss issues, but Hart couldn’t comment further on those discussions. Bendelow had no comment as of Tuesday.

But in what Dehn considers a positive turn of events, both sides have agreed to meet Wednesday (April 1) evening as a good-faith gesture to further discuss the project and see what, if any, compromise can be reached.

“As a developer, I want to make sure that this is a good, quality development,” Dehn said.

Ed Kahle, a nearby resident of the proposed development and spokesperson for the opposition group, confirmed the meeting but said that he was unsure what it would yield.

“We are willing to meet with the developer and kind of give it one last chance to see if we can get a neighborhood that everyone is more satisfied with,” Kahle said.

With Wednesday’s meeting scheduled after press deadline, information about that meeting will be posted online at Berthoudsurveyor.com as it becomes available. But, Kahle said that the group is still considering legal action against the town over the rejection of the petition because of what he called a “double standard” for this petition and a similar petition submitted during the Haworth annexation recall.

“Even if we are successful with the builder, or not, we think that whoever is running the [Berthoud] government, there needs to be some checks and balances there,” Kahle said. “I think there are some things going on there that are not up to par.”

Cowdin explained, Wednesday morning, that while both petitions were similar, and both were approved prior to circulation to gather signatures, it wasn’t the petition form that was deemed insufficient; it was the signatures missing resident’s information that was the cause. Some signatures for the Heron Pointe petition didn’t include the town of residence and none of the signatures included Larimer County, which are both required by state statute. She said that the Haworth signatures did include the proper information.

“If they did not include [town or county of residence] it was not included in the signature count,” Cowdin said of the Haworth petitions.

Dehn said that he hired a lawyer to review the petitions and the town’s decision and they found Cowdin’s determination to be correct.

“We feel comfortable based on what [Cowdin’s] recommendations were,” Dehn said.

Kahle said that nearby residents’ main concern remain with the density and the commercial aspect but they are prepared to make some concessions as long as Dehn will meet them somewhere in the middle.

“The impact of the high density and commercial, it seems like too much for this neighborhood,” Kahle said. “But, we are going to have to be willing to give and take.”