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Timnath Town Council approves amendment to Ladera plan on first reading

TIMNATH — The Timnath Town Council Tuesday approved on first reading an amendment to the existing Planned Development Overlay District for Connell LLC’s Ladera subdivision, despite opposition from Guide Our Growth, a nonprofit that advocates for “smart, sustainable growth within Timnath.”

The changes were approved on first reading by a 5-0 vote. A public hearing and second reading for the amendment is scheduled for Aug. 8.

The amendment alters several aspects of the land-use code for the Ladera project’s first phase, including:

  • Removing a restriction for care facilities that care can take place only for less than 24 hours, allowing it for up to 14 consecutive days. The change would allow for different types of care facilities that might require overnight care of a patient.
  • Increasing floor-area ratios for a proposed indoor storage facility and hotel.
  • Increasing the height allowance from 40 feet to 65 feet for a potential hotel.
  • Reducing the buffer standards for the intended storage lot.
  • Modifying standards for tree replacement and preservation of trees.

The Timnath Planning Commission on July 18 recommended approval for the changes by a 5-0 vote.

In a July 11 letter to the Timnath Planning Commission, the Denver law firm of Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe PC, representing Guide Our Growth, voiced opposition to the changes.

“… the proposed Rezoning would allow for increased height and density beyond what is otherwise allowed in Timnath’s Regional Commercial zone district,” the letter states. “Connell also has not provided any justification for why the town should further relax its zoning requirements beyond what was just recently approved for this site when it was annexed into Timnath and initially zoned in October 2021. Finally, the proposed rezoning seeks to create lot-specific standards for lots that have not yet been approved and platted.”

Ladera, to be located near the southeast corner of Interstate 25 and East Harmony Road, south of Costco, would include 650,000 square feet of retail development, 110,000 square feet of office space, 800 attainable housing units and 50,000 square feet of mixed-use development.

Ladera’s developers, Connell LLC, originally planned to include a Topgolf entertainment facility as part of the project, but voters in June passed a ballot measure to the town’s home-rule charter to prohibit permanent fences and netting taller than 65 feet.

Topgolf’s site plan sought a height variance from the town’s 57.5-foot structure-height limits. The concept sketch showed plans for a roughly 38,000-square-foot facility on nearly 12 acres including a 40-foot-high building and netting poles 156 feet high.

Timnath Parkway contract delayed

In other action Tuesday, the Town Council tabled until the Aug. 8 meeting consideration of a measure to approve the construction phase of the Timnath Parkway improvements project. The measure was presented as having a $7.7 million budget, but Town Council members were informed that it was actually in excess of $10 million.

Town staff had recommended awarding the contract to Connell Resources LLC, which submitted a response to a request for proposals of $6.87 million for its portion of the overall budget.

But council members asked for a more-detailed presentation on the overall project and expressed concern that the ratings for the bids were not provided in the packet, and also noted that other bids were not included in the packet.

Timnath payments to TST draw concern

Timnath resident Brian Kurth rose during the public-comment period to express dissatisfaction with Timnath’s continuing no-bid relationship with TST Inc. Consulting Engineers of Fort Collins, which has contracted with the town since 2010, securing more than $17 million for planning and public-works functions, with none of the contracts going out for bid.

The TST contracts have never gone through a public bidding process, with no requests for proposals being issued.

“Since 2011, TST has billed the town of Timnath more than $17 million without a fair and transparent competitive bidding process,” Kurth said, “And already this year, TST has billed the town of Timnath nearly $1 million.”

“Now here’s where it gets really interesting,” he added. “The town’s staff who routinely recommended referral business to TST are in fact, TST employees themselves. That’s right. Timnath’s director of public works, director of community development and until recently, senior planner, are all TST employees working under contract with the town of Timnath and while acting in their capacity as town employees, they have a clear and present conflict of interest when recommending who is awarded contracts with this town.”

Kurth urged the council to vote no on Resolution 46, the Timnath Parkway resolution, in part because it also included $363,000 to TST for construction administration and observation of the Timnath Parkway project.

Source: BizWest