Berthoud Weekly Surveyor | Covering all the angles in the Garden Spot

Town board approves new commercial development and annexations in southwest Berthoud

By: Dan Karpiel | The Surveyor | January 15, 2021 | Local News

At Tuesday night’s regular meeting of the Berthoud Board of Trustees, once again  held virtually via Zoom video conference, the board approved a pair of land annexations in the southwestern portion of town as well approved a neighborhood master plan for a commercial development at the Berthoud Parkway/Grand Market Avenue intersection.

Prior to getting to the business of the new developments, the board heard a presentation from Berthoud Economic Development Director Walt Elish regarding some amendments to a previously discussed economic development package and associated incentives for Berthoud business development. The board voted 6-0, with Trustee May Soricelli absent, to approve the proposal that provide various incentives and grants for primary employers both current and prospective.

Following a presentation by Curt Freese, Berthoud Community Development Director, the board voted unanimously to approve flood plain maps for flood insurance purposes as required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). According to information provided by Freese, “FEMA has notified the Town, that updated Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) are available with an effective date of January 15, 2021for adopting. Such maps are updated every by FEMA every 10-20 years, and to avoid sanctions, the Town must adopt the proposed resolution by the effective date.”

Freese stated the board must adopt the resolution in order for properties in designated flood plains to be eligible to purchase flood insurance, stating “the town doesn’t have a lot of authority on this, it’s something the federal government does.”

The board then moved on to discussion surrounding the submitted master plan for a commercial development at the southwestern corner of the Berthoud Parkway/Grand Market Avenue intersection. John Hauser, the applicant representing Parkway West LLC, was available to answer questions from the board, the majority of which revolved around the aesthetics of the proposed development.

Hauser did not mince words and stated that, while official agreements with tenants have not been made, Starbucks, Taco Bell and McDonalds restaurants and a Kum & Go gas station are prospecting the development.

The site will be zoned C-2, general commercial, which according to the information provided, “is a primarily auto-related commercial district that allows all commercial uses (from gas stations, to fast food drive-thrus, to offices) with the exception of outdoor storage.”

Several trustees questioned the physical appearance of the development, expressing a desire for the developments to be consistent with surrounding neighborhoods and visually appealing. Town Administrator Chris Kirk informed the trustees “(while) we have architectural guidelines … companies have the same that enhance their branding. Yes, we have input and influence and control but we won’t design their building. Our primary goal is architecture will be … consistent and cohesive.”

While the trustees continued to pick at the details of the proposal and make suggestions for design elements, such as berms to obscure drive-thrus and other such aspects of the developments, Hauser stated, “We’ve been super, super receptive. We’re proud of the design and I’m surprised to hear people throw rocks at them,” to which Trustee Tim Hardy replied, “I always like to ask for more, why would you do your job half-assed?”

After much discussion, the board unanimously approved the master plan for the development with enhancements using berms and landscaping to obscure the view of some aspects, provide a bike trail connection and pedestrian safety lights at the round-about, the latter at the urging of Mayor Will Karspeck.

The final order of business for the board was discussing the proposed annexations, known as PK1 and PK2, south of Hillsdale Park and the Rose Farm development and on the eastern side of South Berthoud Parkway. Due to the fact that the details of the proposed development that is enclosed by the two annexation parcels were not available for public view for the required period of time, the board was unable to approve the master plan for the development.

Yet, after Kirk and Town Attorney Erin Smith informed the board that the town’s annexation procedures do not require the related approval of the neighborhood master plan, the board was able to vote on the two annexations, PK1 at 4.47 acres in the northwestern portion of the area and PK2 at 36.82 acres on the southeastern portion. Both were approved unanimously and Jim Birdsal of TB Group, the developer, will return at a future meeting to present the master plan.

The next meeting of the town board will take place on Jan. 26.

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