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Ken Merritt of Landmark Engineering presented for the developer of the first phase of Namaqua Central.  
According to Merritt, Morning Drive is a secondary "collector" roadway and therefore will need to be
joined to 22nd Street which currently dead-ends inside Loveland city limits just before with Morning Drive.
When later pressed by council whether the applicant indeed wants to connect 22nd Street to Morning
Drive, Merritt said his client is "indifferent" and was only responding to the city planning staff when the
connection was proposed.

Larimer county staff have indicated they were unaware the City of Loveland and the developer planned to
use Morning Drive as a collector street and say Loveland's planning department communicated to the
county they only needed an "emergency" exit from the newly proposed Namaqua Central development to
approve the plans.  LovelandPolitics has learned that one County Commissioner even warned Loveland's
traffic engineer  David Klockman by telling him that in the county the commissioners have vast authority to
close county roads if necessary.

The City Council heard nearly two-hours of testimony from the applicant's representative and city staff
defending the Planning Commission's decision to approve the plat which provides for gated access to the
development onto both Morning Drive and a proposed extension of 29th Street directly to the east of the
proposed development.

Mike Thompson demonstrated to council his concerns regarding safety through a presentation that
included a number of pictures near his house on morning drive.  Thompson testified that minimum street
standards require that an object as small as 6 inches high should be visible to a vehicle approaching it from
200 feet in the distance.  He then showed pictures of his wife standing on Morning Driving less than 200 ft.
from their home where only the very tip of her head could be seen.  

While the issue has been discussed a number of times before council and the planning commission before
the property was annexed into the city for the developer, Tuesday's meeting also included opposition for
the first time by Loveland residents who live on 22nd Street in the Trimble Hills subdivision.  Chad Walker,
President of the Trimble Hills Homeowners Association, presented a letter to the Loveland council in
support of Thompson's appeal that argued,

"This small section of 22nd Street was designed and constructed as a local street.  The City of Loveland
2030 Transportation plan (The Plan) confirms low volume classification int he Existing Street Network
map (Exhibit A) with identification as Other Roads.  Additionally this section of roadway was not designed
or constructed for through traffic."

Following the approximately 30 minutes allowed for public comment the council deliberated on the various
alternatives to the plat as proposed.  Councilman Kent Solt suggested the Morning Drive connection be
"emergency only" while the extended 29th Street access be the primary ingress and egress for the
development thus eliminating the need to connect 22nd Street onto Morning Drive for better circulation.

Councilman Larry Heckel asked Ken Merritt if any other future subdivisions would need to be served by
the proposed extension of 22nd Street to Morning Drive to which Merritt answered none.  Heckel
announced he could support a modified plat that took into consideration the concerns raised by residents
of Namaqua Hills and Trimble Hills.  Councilman Daryle Klassen and Councilwoman Donna Rice both
indicated early in the meeting they would be voting against the appeal and supporting the plat as approved
by the Loveland Planning Commission.  Councilors Solt, Shaffer and McEwen all made comments
supportive of the appellant.

When Solt offered up the solution of blocking only the Morning Drive access to the development for
emergency only use thus allowing for the traffic to the some 38 homes in the development to enter and exit
by Hunter's Run via 29th Street he appeared to have all the votes necessary to amend the plat according to
concerns raised in Mike Thompson's appeal.

Councilman Hugh McKean than asked whether gating only one side of the community would cause wildlife
such as elk and deer to get trapped.  This is because Merritt spent considerable time in his presentation
talking to the council about the parameter fencing the developer had planned to prevent domestic animals
and people from imposing on the wildlife in the open space adjacent to the proposed project.  Frustrated
that public comments were closed and they could no longer speak, members of the audience complained
among themselves that deer don't need a roadway to pass through but could use the same pedestrian exits
front the development as pedestrian will.

Nonetheless, Solt amended his proposal to gate both sides again as originally proposed which resulted in
the Loveland Fire Department testifying as to the dangers of too many "emergency accesses" in town and
gated entries into this development.  A primary concern of the fire department (especially with regards to
22nd Street) is the maintenance required to ensure emergency only through ways are kept open.

Eventually, after another 40 minutes of discussion and appeals from city staff not to allow the resident's
appeal the Loveland City Council punted and postponed any decision until another month.  Councilwoman
Carol Johnson requested the city attorney explain to the audience that as a quasi-judicial decision she will
not be able to converse with the residents.

While it is true councilors may only consider information provided in a quasi-judicial hearing for making
their decision it does not in anyway prohibit them from speaking with either the applicant or appellant
outside the hearing on the same matter.

After the council decided to delay the item and while many citizens were still moving out of the council
chamber, Mayor Gutierrez reminded the audience the council had more business and pleaded with
everyone from the public to take conversations outside.  Loveland city staffer David Klockman kept
talking to a woman in the audience as the City Manager Bill Cahill tried to get his attention so the meeting
could resume.  After some embarrassing moments, Klockman finally discovered what he was doing and
terminated the conversation.

Please feel free to comment on our

see LovelandPolitics' original story from October 2008.

The residents of Namaqua Hills and Trimble Hills
filled the Loveland council chambers Tuesday in
support of an appeal by Mike Thompson of the
Loveland Planning Commission decision to approve a
controversial development.  The Planning Commission
approved the developer's proposed plat for a new
housing development west of Hunter's Run and north
of the unincorporated residential area Namaqua Hills
that overlooks west Loveland named Namaqua

According to Thompson, the plan improperly relies on
meet even the minimal requirements of Loveland's
code for residential streets.  Morning Drive is a
substandard roadway maintained by county residents
who live in the unincorporated area of Namaqua Hills
who live in the unincorporated area of Namaqua Hills
west of Loveland through a special assessment by the