Board postpones Ludlow decision but buys more water
By Will Cornelius
The Board of Trustees for the Town of Berthoud met on the last Tuesday of March with a full agenda. All members of the board were present.
Before the meeting officially started, Mayor Will Karspeck announced that the Ludlow Farm agenda item would not be voted on tonight. Karspeck said that the developer had asked for a hearing continuance. Approving rezoning and the neighborhood masterplan has been moved to the April 25 board meeting.
Related, the Ludlow Farm development team announced they will hold a question-and-answer session on April 6. The session will be at the Berthoud Recreation Center from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Party Room.
The meeting then began in earnest, but it was right back to Ludlow Farm. Public comment started with two speakers who had concerns about the infrastructure needs and sustainability of a potential development that could have up to 1,800 units.
Eric Ryplewski, the CEO of Berthoud-based Hilltop Broadband, closed out public comment by speaking to the board about the town not agreeing with Allo Communications on broadband internet needs. He highlighted the existing work Hilltop Broadband has done in Berthoud like the recreation center. According to Ryplewski, 15 percent of Berthoud households’ broadband came from Hilltop Broadband.
With public comment and Ludlow Farm put to bed the board unanimously passed the consent agenda and moved on to its first agenda item. Town Administrator Chris Kirk presented a contract for Berthoud to buy 50 shares of Colorado – Big Thompson water for a total price of $3,250,000 from Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (NCWCD) or $65,000 a share.
The board unanimously approved the measure. The town’s water purchase budget for 2023 was set to $3,000,000 — so the outlay will require a mid-year budget adjustment. The fund balance in the associated water source of supply fund is just over $30,000,000. For reference, earlier this year the Town of Milliken purchased 25 similar shares from NCWCD for $1,750,000 or $69,000 a share.
Walt Elish, the town’s business development director stepped up next to answer questions on an ordinance to — allow — the town to sell the old town hall. He explained that the ordinance would not oblige the town to sell the old town hall but would allow them to explore a potential buyer in the future. The only concern raised was if the old town hall building had historic status. Kirk explained that any future change or sale of the site would still require board approval. The board then unanimously approved the ordinance.
The agenda spot for Ludlow Farm was filled by Anne Johnson, Berthoud’s planning director. She reiterated Karspeck’s point that the Ludlow Farm development group requested a delay for the town board hearing. According to her, they wanted to hold a community open house to address issues raised at the last Planning Commission meeting. Trustees were advised not to attend the public hearing due to Colorado open meeting laws. Again, the board made no decision on Ludlow Farm and planned to revisit the issue on April 25.
Johnson stayed at the podium to present a potential annexation agreement for 34 acres of land west of Harvest Ridge South and south of Ludlow Farm. A hearing on the actual annexation proposal will be held on May 25. Another unanimous vote approved the future hearing.
Heron Lakes rounded out the pressing municipal matters with a preliminary plat filing to divide a 129-acre lot south of County Road 14 into 132 single-family lots. The only concern with the approval was if County Road 14 needed suburban curb and gutter infrastructure or if it can retain its rural road vibe. The town board eventually decided that the developers should create the suburban curb and gutter infrastructure as a part of the preliminary plat filing and voted unanimously on it.
Mike Foote, an attorney contracted by the town to help craft oil and gas regulations was last on the agenda. It was the second tranche of his regulation overview. He discussed public health, safety, welfare, environmental and welfare standards and how they can be incorporated into regulations for the town regarding oil and gas.
Elected officials’ reports focused on improving broadband and trash services in Berthoud. Kirk told the board he had planned an update on broadband talks with Loveland Pulse on May 9.
The next town board meeting is scheduled to be held on April 11.
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