PrairieStar Fifth Filing approved by Planning Commission and Town Board

By Rudy Hemmann

The Surveyor

The Berthoud Planning Commission convened an online meeting on the evening of Thursday, July 23, 2020. The commission Chair, Jan Dowker, gaveled the meeting to order at approximately 6:05 p.m.

  1. A proposal brought forward by Scott Sarbaugh, President of PrairieStar, Inc. for development of approximately 54.5 acres was brought to the attention of the commission. Sarbaugh requested the commissioners approve both a final development plan and a preliminary plat for the tract which is located east of Berthoud Parkway (formerly Larimer County Road 17) and north of U.S. Highway 287. The property straddles Grand Market Avenue and, according to the staff report for the project, is projected to hold 247 residential lots along with lots of various sizes to accommodate commercial development.

Curt Freese, Berthoud Director of Community Development, gave a brief presentation and highlighted the main points of the proposal. In his presentation, Freese noted that the parks and open space amounted to approximately 15.65 (or 34%) of the total area; a 2.86 acre village green to be located in the center of the commercial area, with expanded playground, picnic shelter and a theater area along with several other amenities which are either planned for the subdivision or are already there and being used by the residents.

A public hearing was opened on the proposal and most of the comments centered on the railroad tracks located east of the project. Sarbaugh stated there were no U.S. standards governing the minimum distance that a residence, or a series of residences, needed to be from a railroad. Canada has established 75 feet as a standard. Sarbaugh informed the commissioners the dwellings in the development will not be closer than 175 feet from the tracks.

Following a brief period of discussion and questions by the commissioners a motion to recommend the town board approve the PrairieStar fifth filing final development plan and a motion to recommend the town board approve PrairieStar fifth filing preliminary plat, with the following conditions: Lot 10, block 24, fronting Grand Market Avenue shall be removed or reoriented; Lots 12 and 19 of block 37 must reorient driveways to meet LCUASS driveway standards; the shared entrance from Urban Place for the commercial/mixed use building and the apartments in block 41 must be revised.

Both motions were seconded and passed unanimously.

  • Brian Shear acting as the agent for Todd Loose of ECO Industrial, LLC, proposed a 10-lot industrial subdivision on approximately 68.8 acres immediately east of WCR 7 and south of the Serenity Ridge Subdivision and the Berthoud Tech Center (Summit Solutions/Ursa Major). The property in question presently is mostly undeveloped, and water, sewer, road maintenance or other infrastructure needs are the responsibility of the applicant. The property is zoned M2-Heavy Industrial.

A motion to recommend the town board approve the Berthoud Tech Center preliminary plat was made, seconded and unanimously approved.

  • Verizon Wireless, LLC, through their agent Charmaine Dregalla of Land Asset Strategies, submitted a request for a Use by Special Review for construction of a telecommunications tower.

According to the staff report location of the 6.81-acre site is 4407 Weld County Road (WCR) 44. The parcel is located north of WCR 44 east of Interstate 25 and west of WCR 11, in front of the satellite wastewater treatment facility. The tract is owned by the town.

The applicant proposes the construction of a tower 70 feet in height disguised as a farm silo, which will be able to serve up to three wireless providers. Verizon Wireless, LLC, will be the owner and operator of the tower. The tower facility will be surrounded with a six-foot fence which will be maintained by Verizon.

A five-year lease agreement renewable up to five times for a total of 25 years was approved by the town board during their meeting of Sept. 9, 2019, is in place.

Dregalla stated the main reason for the construction of the tower is the growth taking place in the area surrounding the truck stop and the future development of Wilson Ranch. Coverage is already reaching capacity because of heavy usage of handheld wireless devices.

A motion approving the Use by Special Review Permit for the Truck Stop Telecommunications Tower was made, seconded and approved unanimously.

  • Berthoud resident Mike Marshall requested the commission grant a variance for expansion of a non-conforming building/use he owns located at 809 First Street. However, during questioning and discussion of the request by Marshall the commission was able to convince him that his request was only making a bad situation worse. In the end, Marshall agreed with the commissioners that he needed to withdraw his request and work with town staff to attempt to rectify the issues with the property.

During a regular business meeting held Tuesday, July 28, 2020, the Berthoud Board of Trustees acted on items 1 and 2 above.

In both instances the trustees followed the advice of the planning commission and approved the item. Regarding PrairieStar, there was considerable discussion of the railroad right-of-way and whether the 175-foot setback from the tracts would be sufficient. Scott Sarbaugh, President of PrairieStar, countered with there being no US standards concerning a minimum distance from a railroad right-of-way the point is essentially moot.

Other topics which were addressed are drainage issues along the southern edge of the development, and adherence to LCUASS driveway standards. The board then approved the PrairieStar fifth filing final development plan and approved PrairieStar fifth filing preliminary plat, with conditions.

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