Town board goes long

By Rudy Hemmann

The Surveyor

With an agenda filled with weighty issues the Berthoud Board of Trustees began what would become one of the longest board meetings in quite some time.

The evening got off to an inauspicious start with the consideration of a Metropolitan Service Plan for the Rose Farm Development.

An information sheet provided states, “The developer of the single-family section of Rose Farm comprised of 123 lots, has made a request for the consideration of a Metropolitan District. Such districts are allowed under State Statute if approved by the jurisdiction they are within. If approved, the Rose Farm Metropolitan District would be allowed to issue debt for the construction, planning, design etc. of public infrastructure as provided in their Service Plan, in the amount of $6,957,349, as well as maintenance of any common properties within the boundaries of the district.  

The amount of debt borrowed by the District cannot exceed the $6.9 million-dollar improvement cost estimated in the Service Plan. The Metropolitan District would then be allowed to levy taxes generally through property taxes (levied on the purchasers of the lots), for the repayment of the estimated public improvements, and maintenance approved in the Service Plan. The area is confined to the lots (and property owners) in the Service Plan. The applicant has chosen not to include the R-3 Multi-family portion of Rose Farm, located in the northeast corner of the development, and owned by a separate developer.

The burden of the need for the Metro District is placed upon the Applicant. Special Counsel, Mr. Alan Pogue, represents the Town in the review of this request, and will also be in attendance to answer any questions the Board may have related to Metropolitan Districts.”

Special Counsel for the proposed district, Matt Ruhland of the law firm Collins, Cockrel & Cole gave a Power Point presentation that outlined major aspects of the plan.

During board discussion it became apparent that several of the board members were fearful that the amount of property tax burden which would be levied on each residence in the Rose farm Development would make it less likely that the residents of the development would be willing to increase the mill levy on their real property to support other projects, such as a recreation center or a recreation district.

Pogue and Ruhland were called to the podium to answer questions concerning the issue. There was confusion regarding one clause of the Metropolitan Service Plan which stated there was a “need” for the Metropolitan District. A comment was made from the dais that the developer(s) did not “need” the extent of the improvements requested and could get by with less. The “need,” explained Pogue, comes about when there is no other entity, such as the town, which would step up and provide the infrastructure for the development.

After nearly two hours of discussion it was decided to “continue” this item to the next regularly scheduled meeting on June 12, 2018 to give staff time to contact other communities in the area that allow metropolitan districts, assess how they were set up and determine if there were any which fit the needs of the town. An up or down vote of the service plan issue will be made at the June 12 meeting.

The trustees considered the annexation of the Heron Lakes Lake Club.

As stated in the information sheet, The Heron Lakes Investments LLC, submitted a petition for annexation, and the voters of the town authorized the processing of said petition by vote on Tuesday April 3, 2018, enabling the Town Board to consider annexation of property to be known as the Heron Lakes Lake Club. The Town Board accepted the petition at its April 17, 2018 meeting.

The application is to annex 32.444 acres into the Town of Berthoud with a Mixed-Use (R-4) zoning classification. The property is located off LCR 14 (A Town owned and maintained road), with Heron Lakes to the East, Lonetree Reservoir to the South, and Rabbit Run Ln.  (a five-lot agricultural subdivision in the county) adjacent and with the Jaskowski property a few hundred feet away to the west.  Annexations require a hearing before the planning commission, in which commission makes a recommendation for acceptance or denial to the town board, and a recommendation for a proposed zoning district, which is then forwarded to the town board, who then accepts or denies the recommendation.

The applicants, who also own the Heron Lakes Golf Course development, intend to annex the property into town and combine it with the golf course.  The property will provide boat and fishing access to Lonetree Reservoir, and potentially also host a lake-front restaurant and motor coach use (which would require a hearing as a conditional use or use by special review).  Plans for the boat dock/storage and parking to the reservoir access have been submitted, but are not part of this request. In addition, the applicants will add this to their metro district, which will maintain and manage the property.  Due to the fact the property will be in the Heron Lakes Metro, like the golf course, it is legally required to be open to the public.

A motion approving a resolution which sets forth findings of fact and determinations regarding the eligibility for the annexation; followed by an ordinance annexing the property; followed by a third motion for an ordinance to establish the R-4 zoning for the property were each made in turn and approved on identical 5 to 1 votes with Trustee Laak casting a “No” vote for each measure.

Other items on the agenda included an annexation request for three acres on County Road 10E, which was approved. Passing of the retail marijuana regulation and retail marijuana excise tax, both were approved.

A discussion followed regarding a plan to put a recreation center on the ballot in November. Space constraints does not allow more information this discussion. A follow up article on this subject will be in next week’s Surveyor.




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