Agreement with Johnstown Faces Obstacles

The City Council had a long discussion concerning a possible Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Johnstown on April 2. According to staff, Larimer County has made it clear than an agreement between the two municipalities must be intact before the County will consider extending Loveland’s GMA overlay zoning district to allow more commercial development at the 402/I-25 juncture. In addition, Loveland has placed a high priority on a corridor plan for Highway 402 and that can’t happen without the agreement.

The relationship between Loveland and Johnstown has been fractious since 2000, when Loveland extended its Growth Management Area (GMA) south to Highway 60 and east of I-25. This move was seen as aggressive by Larimer County because it appeared to set overly optimistic deadlines for the City’s annexation of that area.

In the meantime, the County has approved conservation development plans with low-density residential development for various properties in the area. Community Development Director Greg George warned that without an IGA, this patchwork network would hinder future growth for Loveland. He said the IGA was important to fight a “common enemy,” meaning those property owners who might want to create conservation developments on their property. Several Councilmembers, particularly John Fogle and Hugh McKean, were offended by this characterization, saying the rights and interests of the property owners were more important than any plan the City might have for the area.

In the end, it was clear that some members of the Council felt that Loveland was giving away too much in the IGA proposal designed by staff. Several councilors noted that the area removed from Loveland’s GMA (along the east side of Interstate 25 as well as the land at the northwest corner of Interstate 25 and Colo. 402) was larger than the land Johnstown would lose from its GMA south of 402. The staff was directed to take the input provided by the Council and revise the IGA, presumably in such a way as to give Loveland more leverage in the negotiations with Johnstown.

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