Trustees approve PORT plan

By Rudy Hemmann
The Surveyor

The Berthoud Board of Trustees held a regular meeting Tuesday evening and took a major step forward by accepting the Parks, Open Space, Recreation and Trails (PORT) master plan. According to an information sheet provided by town staff, the master plan “is considered a critical final piece for the town due to recent growth, and the fact it is the last major planning study the town needs to adopt.”

The document goes on to note the rather rocky history between the town and attempts to pass a useable PORT plan over the past 15 to 20 years. A previous planning commission, a parks committee, which is no longer in existence, and a previous iteration of the tree committee had all offered PORT Plans over the years, but none was ever seriously considered for adoption.

The PORT Plan presented Tuesday evening was the result of surveys of citizens of the town and the surrounding area conducted by the town’s consulting partner in this effort, GreenPlay LLC, several hours of work by numerous committees since late 2015 and additional work from three committees born in July of 2016.

It was representatives of these three committees who reported their findings and conclusions to the trustees on Tuesday evening. The three committees each concentrated on different aspects of the master plan. Reports were heard from a building or facilities committee, a parks and trails committee, and an amenities committee.

The trustees were receptive of the information provided and thanked the committee members for the thoroughness of their presentations.

After hearing the presentations from the committees, and a few minutes of discussion, Mayor Steve Mulvihill suggested making a motion to adopt the PORT master plan document, and instructing staff to take the input from the three committees, based on their prioritization, and come back with information for the board regarding practicality, affordability and funding options.

Trustee Jeff Hindman objected to accepting the master plan, and generated arguments against the master plan due to inaccuracies in the document.

Mulvihill stated, “I understand what you’re saying, but – based on the findings of the committees – that supersedes the document … this is the result of $73,000, nine months (of meetings), 15 years (of waiting) and three committees of 20 to 30 people, and to now elongate this, it is never going to come to an end. I want to honor the work the committees have done … They have come up with conclusions, and all we are asking for at this time with this motion is for staff to take those recommendations and determine if they are practical. We are not passing a budget for anything, we are only asking staff to support what these committees have done.”

Hindman would not relent, citing map inaccuracies and inaccuracies in the data presented in the document. He argued the document had not yet been fully vetted.

Mulvihill reminded the trustees that the master plan document is over 300 pages long and is a living document and could be changed at any time.

The motion by Mulvihill was seconded and passed on a 6 to 1 vote, with Hindman casting the lone “no” vote.

The trustees unanimously approved a motion authorizing the town administrator to sign a contract with the Larimer County Humane Society. The town contracts with the humane society to care for and house animals taken into custody within the town limits, due to the town facilities being inadequate for periods of more than a few hours. According to an information sheet provided, the contract to be signed is identical to the contract for 2016, with the following exceptions. The long-term and short-term-care fees for both cats and dogs will increase by $5.

The board affirmed the following appointments to the Berthoud Community Library Board. Marie Bernard, Emmy Ingham and Erin Coleman were appointed by the library board for terms which begin Jan. 1, 2017, and end Dec. 31, 2020.