Metro District Service Plan Policy Approved
The City Council unanimously approved a revised policy for reviewing metropolitan service plans on August 21. While commercial metro districts have been common in the City, the revised policy will also allow the consideration of residential districts.
The policy dictates that developers must provide public benefits as well as basic infrastructure. Public benefits are defined as environmental sustainability, smart growth principles and meeting the City’s strategic priorities. In addition, residential metro districts are encouraged to provide affordable housing although the policy does not spell out how developers would achieve this goal. City staffer Josh Birks said some lots could be “carved out” and designated as affordable or the developer could utilize a land bank or land trust.
The revised policy increases the mill levy cap from 40 to 50 mills, similar to the cap imposed by other municipalities in Northern Colorado. Councilmember Bob Overbeck was particularly interested in the financial disclosure documentation that would be provided to district residents and asked staff for more information.
The City will require a high degree of transparency, per Council’s previous direction. A website will be created by city staff that includes a search feature and the district will be required to create a deed that follows the property and a disclosure document listing all taxes. This information must be available to real estate brokers.
While the Council approved the policy, it is clear that some Council members are still skeptical. Ross Cunniff said he is a “reluctant supporter.” He doubts any developer can deliver what the City wants. Other Councilmembers (Stephens and Summers) remain concerned about how affordable metro district homes will be. Metro districts may be the only way to finance subdivisions in some remaining undeveloped parcels, but it won’t be easy to convince the Council to approve these projects.