Two housing developments progress and a third dispensary is stopped

By Amber McIver-Traywick

The Surveyor

As the year draws to a close the town board had a full agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting that included several hot-button issues. Two housing developments were voted to continue to progress. These included the Hammond property, located near U.S. Highway 287 and Larimer County Road (LCR) 10 E, had their fourth filing approved and the hotly-debated townhomes being proposed by Creekside Development LLC on Eight Street near the high school had their concept plan approved. A special review for a potential third medical-marijuana facility to be located on Second Street was voted down. A proposed annexation of the Johnson Farm area was also considered. All of the votes from the board were unanimous, with Mayor Pro Tem Chris Buckridge being the only member absent.

The town board took a few minutes at the beginning of the meeting to acknowledge outgoing Town Administrator Mike Hart. Hart was presented with a desk clock by the town to show their appreciation for his many accomplishments during his eight years of service.

The board considered a special review for a potential marijuana dispensary that was to be located at 750 N. Second Street. The property would be the final building that would be allowed to house a dispensary, according to guidelines set by the town. The area designated for these types of businesses runs north of Mountain Avenue, south of Bunyan Avenue, east of the rail line, and west of First Street. The property satisfied those requirements and was also 1007 ft., according to a survey done on the property, from any other dispensary, which is also a town requirement.

The planning commission had supported the dispensary being considered by the board by a 4-1 vote earlier this month, as the majority felt it met specific criteria a business needed to be considered. The members of the commission did, however, have a list of additional recommendations they suggested the business should meet. These included a security plan being submitted to the town before it was permitted, along with other safety precautions, the applicant taking steps to mitigate the odor coming from the facility, and the applicant adding signage to alleviate parking issues with the surrounding area.

The applicant, Tom Moss, a former Berthoud resident, spoke to the board, presenting his case for the dispensary, mentioning the tax revenue for the town as well as completing the number of dispensaries allowed in that corridor should be considered in the decision. Moss ultimately failed to convince the board there was a need for a third medical-marijuana business. Several community members, including Sergeant Jim Anderson with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Berthoud Squad, spoke vigorously against having another medical marijuana dispensary in town, citing what they felt were the detrimental effects it could have on the town.

Trustee William Karspeck summed up the sentiment of the board on the matter when he said,It’s incumbent upon the applicant to show the needs for this product are not being met by the existing facilities, and I don’t think we have any evidence that the needs aren’t being met at this time, so I don’t think we have any choice, in my opinion, but to say that it doesn’t meet the special-use review requirements.” The vote against the facility was unanimous.

The other topic that drew the most public participation was the Creekside multi-family housing concept plan that was presented to the board. The proposed town-house development will include 12 dwelling units per acre, which would result in a maximum density of 89 dwelling units. This is 20 percent fewer dwellings than could be constructed on the property. Due to the long narrow strip of land reserved for open space along the greenway to the northwest of the property, a total of 3.65 acres of open space is proposed, almost exactly 50 percent of the overall acreage for the entire development.

A few of the issues citizens who were opposed to the development brought up were; increased traffic and safety issues, the negative effect they felt it would have on the aesthetics of the area, students no longer having a social path to walk to town from the high school, perceived property value loss, and a loss of mountain views for the single-family homes across from the proposed development.

Each of the board members expressed understanding the concerns of the community members, but all recognized the property was zoned for multi-family and the project should be allowed to proceed. Mayor Steve Mulvihill mentioned he had received a great deal of feedback about more affordable housing options from people who are police officers, teachers, single parents, and other community members who can’t afford to live in Berthoud due to the ever-increasing price of homes in the town. “The reality is, if we want to have the opportunities for those types of people to live in town we have to have some options for them.”  The mayor also noted 8.6 percent of Berthoud’s housing supply is multi-family, compared to the state’s average of 32 percent. Mulvihill continued by saying, “There is no easy way to get through this, but we have to do something to accommodate a lot more people.”  The vote in favor of the applicant was unanimous. The applicant will now be required to obtain future platting, preliminary and final approvals, consistent with the concept plan they presented.

The second development discussed was The Hammond property’s Fourth Filing Preliminary Plat. The plat is comprised of 8.202 acres, which will have 24 single-family lots, with roughly -3 acres of open space, or 37 percent of the total area, was given the go-ahead by the board. The fourth filing corresponds with the street layout of the third filing, extending the street on the western end, which connects to 10E, and will also complete the 10-foot-wide regional trail along LCR 10 E. The planning commission approved the preliminary plat unanimously at their Sept. 28 meeting, with a recommendation the lots adjoining 287 would be staggered and also include staggered fencing.

Property owners Arthur and Sara Lynn Johnson presented a petition for annexation and zoning of 39 acres of property located west of LCR 17 (Berthoud Parkway), and east of Highway 287. The property is surrounded by currently undeveloped land and farmland. The zoning proposed for the property is for single-family residential. The board agreed to pursue the possibility of annexation further. Details of the annexation and zoning proposal, as well as a concept plan, will be presented for consideration at a future planning commission meeting and before the board of trustees at a future public hearing.

After going into an executive session the board made a motion to approve an out-of-class pay compensation adjustment for Jeremy Olinger, currently the director of parks and recreation, while he is serving as the interim town administrator.

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