Opposition petitions to overturn Heron Pointe

By John Gardner
The Surveyor

Colony Ridge residents, neighbors of the recently approved Heron Pointe annexation and subdivision, are petitioning voters in an attempt to overturn the decision.

The Town of Berthoud Board of Trustees adopted several ordinances on Jan. 13, approving the annexation and zoning of the Heron Pointe property.

Similar to the 2014 campaign that successfully overturned the contentious Haworth annexation, this petition seeks to leave it up to the voters to decide the property’s fate.

“This petition is to refer the annexations and zoning to the registered voters of the Town of Berthoud for approval or rejection,” the petition states.

Berthoud residents Gary West and Kristopher Jennett are listed as “designated representatives” for the petition. Both West and Jennett are Berthoud residents, whereas Colony Ridge is technically unincorporated Larimer County, so residents there would not be eligible to vote on the issue.

The petition only needs 201 signatures, or five percent of registered Berthoud voters, for the petitions to pass and for a special election to be set.

West said he agreed to be listed on the petition because he agrees with Colony Ridge residents that the project isn’t a good idea for Berthoud.

“This particular piece of property is a reach that they don’t need to make,” West said. “It’s going to impact the finances of my community and that’s why if it comes to a vote I will vote against it.”

According to Berthoud Town Clerk Mary Cowdin, the town doesn’t have an April election this year. So, if this effort is successful, it would require a special election. That election would have to be on a date no less than 60 days and no more than 150 days after final determination of petition sufficiency, Cowdin explained in an email to the Surveyor.

“I can’t give you an election date yet,” Cowdin said.

The petition is due back to town hall next Tuesday, Feb. 17, by 5 p.m.

Cowdin also expects the election to cost the town between $10,000 and $15,000.

The Heron Pointe property is located at the intersection of Larimer County Road 14 and LCR 17 and includes approximately 80 acres that saddles LCR 17. According to previous Surveyor reports, the project includes approximately 46 acres of single-family residential with another 16 acres of mixed-use properties. In addition, the development includes approximately 20 acres of commercial space on the portion of the property directly east of LCR 17.

Some funding through a collaboration of the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Town of Berthoud and Larimer County, to address traffic issues along LCR 17 between U.S. 287 to LCR 14, has also been approved, but isn’t included in the Heron Pointe development.

The issue comes from residents of the neighborhood adjacent to the Heron Pointe property. Homeowners have voiced opposition at town board meetings as well as several letters to the editor published in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor.

Residents’ main concerns regard housing density that is higher than surrounding Colony Ridge and Maplewood Estates neighborhoods, increased traffic issues and its impact on existing roadways, existing and anticipated storm drainage issues that could impact current residents, and opposition to the commercial development aspect at the intersection of LCR 17 and LCR 14. Other issues included items such as too little parks and open space included in the development, and lighting and noise concerns.

Developer Bob Dehn said that he’d met with some of the concerned residents on at least four separate occasions, and as recently as Feb. 9, to discuss possible agreements suitable to both sides. Dehn said he agreed to several concessions and redesigned the development to accommodate some residents’ concerns. He was relatively confident that those meetings were beneficial to both sides and that the outcome was going to be positive. But that all changed Wednesday morning when Dehn said he received a call from a representative that said some concerns remained.

“They keep telling me that it’s not against me as a developer, it’s against the town of Berthoud who isn’t listening,” Dehn said.

Dehn disagreed, saying that Berthoud is listening.

“They want us to work with the residents,” Dehn said. “Berthoud wants good and smart growth and we want to be that person.”

Attempts to reach Colony Ridge residents were unsuccessful as of press deadline. However, West said he’s never been involved in any conversations with Dehn, or residents of Colony Ridge for that matter. West said he’s only spoken to Ted Bendelow, the attorney representing the Colony Ridge residents.

Dehn said he’s hoping to keep the communication open to try and reach an agreement before the Feb. 17 deadline.

“I’ll keep working with them until Tuesday,” he said. “But if they turn in the petitions on Tuesday, there’s not much I can do.”