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McMansions Along Big Thompson River - Proposed

The Loveland City Manager and staff have recommended the City Council ignore the Planning Commission and proceed with Annexation of semi-rural property along the Big Thompson River.  The Planning Commission found the Annexation, as proposed, is not consistent with adjacent properties among other reasons for their denial.

Now the matter was appealed to Loveland’s City Council and opponents fear the builders on council and their friends (Heckel, Clark, David, Johnson and Pielin) who are normally dismissive of residents who question any developments, will approve the annexation.The current owner bought the land as rural county land with no promise by the City of Loveland that it would be annexed and developed to a higher density.  Among the many problems with the location is that it has flooded in the past, is adjacent to low-density 5 acre home lots and borders the Big Thompson River which Loveland’s Master Plan contemplates keeping as open as possible.

The Council meets at City Hall Tuesday at 6:30 PM.  Any comments either before or after the meeting are welcomed.

2008-03-17 07:03:23 GMT
Comments (15 total)
Actually, 5th street runs along the north side of the development and already connects to Taft. I heard the developers have already met with some on the city council so the two developers - Larry Heckel and David Clark - are going to fight for the project which means the Mayor and Carol Johnson will do as they are told.

The developer doesn't even own the land but is buying it contingent on the zoning change so there are ZERO property rights issues here.

This land was never in the city, never zoned or valued as residential estate and really doesn't need to be annexed at all. Despite what the council approves or not, all the developer has to do (if they grant the change) is hang-out a couple years and make a different request to build even more houses per the max allowed for the ER zone. Than it will be easy to get everything they want since the requested density will be "right of zone."

This is an old trick. Propose a modest density and use it to obtain the annexation and zone change while later changing everything.
--Joan O'
2008-03-17 15:11:58 GMT
This why Loveland is not served by an open lands committee made up of people from outside the community. They decided to spend money for purchasing land in Estes Park when we have excellent cases right here where that money should have been used!
--Gail Wickum
2008-03-17 19:01:30 GMT
I don't understand the controversy. It seems like an easy decision for the council. The burden of proof is on the developer to demonstrate a change of the zoning and the development is consistent with existing surrounding properties and the characteristics of the area.

It doesn't meet that test and any person with integrity would need to simply say - sorry - you proposed something that exceeds the current zoning.

2008-03-17 23:17:37 GMT
I agree about the open lands committee. I tried to explain an issue one time to them and the ones who don't even live in Loveland didn't know what I was talking about.

The baseball park just across the river and bike trail from that property was bought with lottery funds. The city needs to make sure those millions coming to Loveland from the lottery for open lands are spent in Loveland just on projects like this one. What do I care about the HP property in Estes Park?

The only way to fix this problem is to appoint Lovelanders to the open lands committee for a change!
2008-03-18 18:14:36 GMT
I certainly hope the council has the common sense to deny this change in zoning. Doesn't take a professional urban planner to see what the developer is up to. And, BTW, the Council should have competent urban planners advising them. Are the planners afraid of disagreeing with the Manager, or what?
2008-03-18 22:49:35 GMT

Thanks to everyone who came out and showed support!!! But we can't let our guard down. They are likely to come back again soon with a slightly modified plan.
2008-03-19 06:34:33 GMT
It would be factual to state that Councilman Klassen owned (past tense) 24 acres 300 yards from the Staple property. I owned (again, past tense) both the S.E. and S.W. corners of 1st and Taft. Both were zoned and annexed to the city of Loveland some years ago, and sold by Klassen.
2008-03-19 17:39:08 GMT
Thanks, we will make that correction.
2008-03-19 20:10:32 GMT
Anyone see this email sent out by Councilwoman Carol Johnson?

-----Original Message-----
From: Carol Johnson []
Sent: Sunday, March 16, 2008 6:58 PM
To: Downtown Loveland Association
Cc: John Duval
Subject: RE: News from the Downtown Loveland Association

The Staples project is an annexation and zoning matter. All zoning matters are quasi-judicial and the Council is not allowed legally to hear arguments outside council chambers on quasi-judicial matters. Please do not encourage the public to contact council members on the zoning as we legally cannot discuss this or hear arguments outside council chambers. I have asked the City Attorney to clarify this matter for the public at the council meeting as I have been deluged with calls, emails and letters.

Thank you. Carol Johnson

Johnson is dead wrong on this. There is no law that says any of this at all - "as we legally cannot discuss this" - There is in Colorado a 1975 court ruling making zoning (but not amendments to zoning) quasi-judicial matters.

The Colorado Supreme Court in Snyder v. Lakewood distinguished between a judicial process that enacts a rezoning ordinance and a legislative process that enacts the general ordinance. In a subsequent decision, however, the Colorado Supreme Court partially overruled Lakewood, declaring that an amendment to a zoning ordinance is a legislative act.

In other words, there is no such law.

The project itself (which they also discussed and considered) is NOT a zoning issue and cannot be hidden behind the zoning issue to trump the public's right to communicate with their elected official. Also, the court ruling and state laws are meant to protect the public from ex-parte communication between the council and the applicant outside the hearing.

The quasi-judicial rule only means they need to make their decision on the appeal only based on information presented inside the hearing.

No law, court ruling or city ordinance provides a gag-order on residents from communicating to their elected representative on any issue.

They all eat together before every council meeting. If they discussed this issue they violated the process. However, the attorney doesn't tell them not to meet but instead not to discuss or decide city business.

Carol Johnson's abuse of terms to discourage public comment on this matter is an abuse of her office.

2008-03-19 21:07:14 GMT
How apropos the Reporter-Herald finished their article on this meeting by quoting the Mayor. Too bad the Mayor was in error in his quote when he said the owners have a right to develop this property. None of the neighbors who spoke to the city council have the right to build multiple homes or businesses on their land. They have the same zoning as the Staples Farm owners and are not crying bloody murder. The equitable and just solution is to provide the Staples Farm exactly the same as the neighbors. Break the 16 or so acres into 3 acres lots with homes. Any poor soul relying on the Reporter-Herald alone for news will believe a development proposal was denied. I guess the reporter doesn’t know this was an appeal over the denial of an annexation and zone CHANGE for the property. I live on a 1/3 acre lot in a regular Loveland neighborhood. Given the Mayor’s logic I should have the right to develop condos in my backyard to make a profit regardless of the fact my neighbors are single family homes.

Please send Gene Pielin and the Herald reporter to a Zoning 101 class immediately! I don't know what I can't stand more about Pielin, his arrogance or his ignorance.

2008-03-20 05:15:44 GMT
Thank you WW for posting Carol's letter to Loveland's downtown folks. Her comment, "we legally cannot discuss this" explains to me why she has been unable to find gainful employment as an attorney in Loveland. Pretending something is illegal when it is not is the sign of a foolish and silly person. No wonder voters kicked her off the Golden City Council. It is now our turn to clean house.
2008-03-20 05:20:44 GMT
Thank you WW for posting Carol's letter to Loveland's downtown folks. Her comment, "we legally cannot discuss this" explains to me why she has been unable to find gainful employment as an attorney in Loveland. Pretending something is illegal when it is not is the sign of a foolish and silly person. No wonder voters kicked her off the Golden City Council. It is now our turn to clean house.
2008-03-20 05:20:58 GMT
I don't think they have a chance at the County since they said this is their next move. In an election year, either before or after the election, politicians are more tuned than usual to the voters and they know supporting a group formed to profit by building these atrocities next to Big Thompson is political suicide.
2008-03-22 05:41:06 GMT
Author:Anonymous is a joke. You have no idea of the corruption that is part of City of Loveland policies and procedures. There are stories within the organization that you chumps only dream of. Create the avenues and you will find what you desire.
2008-03-23 05:14:41 GMT
My friend, the angry messages and insults only discredit you and your message.

Now back on topic, the County usually allows the city to take the lead and are not likely to allow this to go forward as proposed. If I were a member of this investment group I would object to the leader throwing good money after bad. Cut and run people - this isn't going to make you the millions you were hoping. Your business plan is predicated on the false assumption local officials will allow you to wreck the property values of the adjacent 3 acre lot homeowners by craming 24 McMansions on only 15 acres. You certainly have the right to build one home per 3 acres - this should be your target - since that is how the first half of Staples Ranch developed. Anything more shows complete diregard for nature, the neighbors, the community trail and traffic in exchange for a quick profit to yourselves.

If the people who are fighting to preserve the openess had done like you and put multi-family or dense housing on their half of Staples Farm you wouldn't be fighting to develop it since it would no longer be desirable. Admit you are trying to profit at their expense and scale back you expectations of profit.
2008-03-24 19:21:32 GMT
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