Loveland's Independent News Source
Loveland - April 6, 2013

Loveland's Director of Development Services, Greg George, declared Larimer County the "common enemy" of
Loveland and Johnstown he said is bringing the two waring cities together.  George used the term as his
explanation to Loveland's City Council last Tuesday during a televised City Council meeting of why the cities are
cooperating together on an IGA (Inter-Governmental Agreement) establishing future city boundaries.

Over the past decade both cities have fought one another for control over property along I-25 in competition to
capture future tax revenue from retail and other businesses locating along the major interstate.  The legendary
battle between the two lead to the infamously poorly thought acquisition and annexation of 98 acres by the City
of Loveland south of Highway 402 where Loveland has no access to a sewage treatment facility.  Faced with the
high cost of sending sewage uphill and possibly over areas controlled by Johnstown, Loveland has been trying to
negotiate access to "Low Point" a nearby Johnstown controlled sewage facility without success.  Across the
street lies property annexed into Johnstown thus placing Loveland south of Johnstown along one section of 402.

Common Cause Maybe - Not Common Enemy

Ideally, cities and counties in Colorado establish what are called GMA's (Growth Management Areas) by
identifying likely future city growth patterns for a 20 year period and cooperatively sign an IGA (inter-
governmental agreement) between the county and city.  

When a county agrees in an IGA to recognize certain future growth boundaries of a city, the county than allows
more urban development within such boundaries in anticipation of the property's eventual annexation into city
limits.  At the same time, an IGA between the city and county prevents perpetual rural designations like
conservation easements" for working farms which prevent future dividing of the property for high-density

As an example, Larimer County has an IGA with the City of Ft. Collins which allows county land owners located
inside the agreed upon GMA boundaries to develop at a city level of density in anticipation of a future formal
annexation into the City of Ft. Collins.  Absent such an agreement, county land owners could rely only on rural
zoning thus only develop property according to county land use regulations which are not necessarily
compatible with city growth.  While annexing one's property into the city may seem to be a more obvious option
to creating GMA's, that option is only available to county land owners whose property is already contiguous with
existing city limits.

Loveland Vs. Johnstown

Loveland and Johnstown have long claimed much of the same property as their future growth areas thus
preventing Larimer County from signing a formal IGA with either city defining those boundaries.  Overlapping
GMA's by each city is the very obstacle for the county in negotiating IGA's with either city.  Loveland does have a
dated IGA with Larimer County which defines certain GMA boundaries but Larimer County has no such
agreement with Johnstown.  This is largely due to the fact the City of Johnstown's historic boundaries were
mostly in Weld County but now has grown into Larimer County.  

The conflict between the cities has prevented both municipalities from establishing a joint agreement about
their conflicting GMA's with Larimer County.  For its part, Larimer County has been calling for dialogue and
reconciliation between the two cities before the county can negotiate an IGA with either as both are claiming
the same growth areas along I-25 and 402.

Ironically, Loveland is sitting on millions of tax dollars from the citizen approved statewide open space sales tax
they are not using to acquire land.  Instead, the city is challenging rural land owners who have sought
applications with the county for a conservation development to preserve the bulk of their working farms while
preserving open space at no government expense.

Loveland’s Mayor, Cecil Gutierrez, during last Tuesday's meeting, complained that the city’s problem with
conservation easements goes beyond the 402 but all the way to Highway 60 on the north border of Longmont.   
Gutierrez has adopted the role of development promoter even to the extent of carrying around a map of the city
showing Boyd Lake Blvd. extending south beyond the 402 than connecting to I-25.  Gutierrez has refereed to the
urbanization of Highway 402 and the extension of Boyd Lake Blvd. as his "legacy."

One could interpret Gutierrez’s comment about reaching Highway 60 on the north side of Longmont to imply he
has a vision to see urban sprawl reach from Loveland all the way to Longmont without allowing for any open
space in the middle.  Of course, that would also require City of Loveland boundaries going around the Town of
Berthoud.  City staff along with McWhinney have long advocated for an extension of Boyd Lake Blvd. south --
passed 402 eventually connecting to I-25 far south of Loveland.

Larimer County’s position has traditionally been in support of growth management boundaries but limited by
the desire of private property owners.  Two years ago the Town of Wellington requested a modification with
Larimer County of their GMA growth management area boundary that contemplated urbanizing hundreds of
rural properties north amd west of Wellington.  When farmer protested the plan the county sided with the land
owners and denied Wellington’s request.

During the April 2, council meeting discussion Loveland Councilman Ralph Trenary mocked property owners
seeking to preserve their family farms by saying,

"we are going to see more low density 4 or 5 lots surrounded by 100 acres of playground farm
and that just isn't going to work

Extension of the growth management area will prevent many farmers from using a "conservation easement" to
preserve their family farms for future generations.  It appears, Mayor Cecil Gutierrez and a majority of Loveland’
s Council are looking to cut them off at the pass and place their property within the GMA in an agreement with
the county.  In the meantime, Loveland and Johnstown appear unable to conclude their cease-fire long enough
to establish GMA's with the county but their are trying.
Larimer County "Common Enemy"
Bringing Loveland & Johnstown Together
Greg George
Development Services Director,
City of Loveland calls Larimer
County "Common Enemy"
Watch video excerpts of
meeting with the following

1.  Greg George describes
Larimer County as
"I like to
call it we have a Common

4.  Councilman Hugh McKean
"And when we get into a
discussion of telling that guy
what he can and can't do with
his property I start to get a little
3. Mayor Gutierrez says not just the
402 but advocates growth
management area stretching all the
way to Longmont's north boundary
at Highway 60
2.  Councilman Ralph Trenary
engages in name calling of farmers
choosing conservation easements
"we are going to see more
low density 4 or 5 lots
surrounded by 100 acres of
playground farm and that just
isn't going to work"