Town Board hears development code updates, takes first step in new trail connection
At the regular meeting of the Berthoud Board of Trustees on Nov. 23, the board voted to authorize a service agreement to begin design work to connect the current trail system with Loveland. The board also heard a detailed presentation regarding proposed changes and revisions to the town development code.
Deputy Town Administrator Jeremy Olinger briefed the board on a small portion of the much larger Colorado Front Range Trail, which Olinger called, “a backbone throughout the front range area,” that will ultimately extend to the Wyoming border in the north and travel south into Boulder County as well as traveling east into Weld County.
The town approached the board seeking authorization for Town Administrator Chris Kirk to enter into a service agreement with engineering firm JUB consultants to partner with the City of Loveland’s trail project on a section of trail at the northern reaches of town.
According to information provided to the trustees, “the 2018 Berthoud Unified Trails Master Plan identified a trail systems connection between the Town of Berthoud and the City of Loveland north of the Heron Lakes development on County Road 14. Since then, Berthoud staff and Loveland staff have been meeting yearly to coordinate trail system progress, locations, and partnered grant opportunities. Through these conversations and meetings, staff has learned the City of Loveland has begun the process to find viability in creating a trail through Southwest Loveland along the Eagle Vista Natural Area and would end at CR14.”
The Berthoud portion of the trail will join an existing trail at Heron Lakes Parkway, across from the neighborhood’s maintenance facility, just south of County Road 14, travel westward alongside CR14 before joining with the Loveland portion of the trail at the southern edge of the Eagle Vista Natural Area. Costs are estimated at just under $23,000; Kirk explained the trail crossing of CR14 is a “fairly significant” engineering project due to grading, surveying, protecting the natural area’s drainage and the like.
The service agreement calls for 30% of the design work to be completed, which Olinger said will be done in February or March. Kirk later stated, “once we get to that 30% design level, it’s a great time to go after grants,” saying such funds are available through several avenues that both Berthoud and Loveland will pursue to cover at least some of the costs of the project.
Following the presentation, the board voted unanimously, 6-0 with Trustee Tim Hardy absent, to authorize Kirk to move forward.
As part of the town’s approved Comprehensive Plan outlined in 2020 and approved this past summer, the decision was made to transition to what is called a “form-based/new urbanist” approach to development guidelines.
While the details of the development code revisions are far too complex and detailed to be outlined in this space (interested residents are encouraged to consult the town’s website for details), the proposed plan, “created a new vision based on a transect of uses, from rural to suburban, to urban and downtown commercial. The emphasis of each transect was placed on the transportation pattern and the overall design and location of buildings within each area, rather than the previous use-based approach which relied on function as its guiding principle,” according to the presentation made by Curt Freese, Berthoud Community Development Director.
Furthermore, according to information provided by Freese, “the goal of the new districts is for any new rezoning or annexation to be placed into one of the new zoning districts which correspond with the Comprehensive Plan. Existing zoning districts, and vested subdivisions in such districts, will remain in their current zoning district. The Mountain Avenue overlay
was created along the same design principles and will continue to remain in place for properties
within its boundary without change.”
Because the presentation was the first hearing on the matter, no action was taken but the trustees will digest the information presented before holding a public hearing and potentially taking a vote on the changes with a public hearing at the next meeting.
During the reports, at the conclusion of the meeting, trustees praised Kirk, Recreation Director Amanda Gustafson and town staff for the opening of the recreation center. During his time, Mayor Will Karspeck said, “I had a pretty bad experience the morning of the ribbon-cutting because a couple of your guys’ speeches,” as he motioned towards Mayor Pro Tem Maureen Dower and Trustee Jeff Hindman.
The Mayor continued, “That morning was supposed to be about unity instead it turned into a total division thing and I think that was really inappropriate.” During their speeches at the grand opening event, both Dower and Hindman made pointed remarks towards Karspeck, and others in town, who had expressed displeasure with the board’s decision to use Certificates of Participation to fund the development while Karspeck, during his prepared remarks at the ceremony, took a more harmonious and unifying tone. “I’m glad it’s done and I think, and we all think, it’s going to be good for the community so hopefully we can move on past that,” Karspeck said before gaveling the meeting to a close.
The town of Berthoud’s YouTube page, found by going to www.youtube.com and searching “Town of Berthoud” contains the full-length recordings of the two most recent board meetings with plans to add future meetings to the page.
The next meeting of the town board will take place on Dec. 14.
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