Government Affairs: Fort Collins

July 25, 2019

Council Pushes Rezoning for Hughes Stadium Property

The City Council set a new precedent on July 16 when it approved a resolution on a four to two vote to proceed with the rezoning of the 164-acre Hughes Stadium Property. The parcel was annexed into the City last fall.

Normally the City would consider a new zone classification at the same time as the development application, but the property’s owner has not submitted a formal development application. Councilman Ross Cunniff introduced the strategy of separating the rezoning process from the development application, saying it makes the process “cleaner and allows citizens to focus on beliefs related to zoning apart from the application.” Cunniff also explained that as a property owner within the notification area, he received information about the project, but said he would be able to act on the proposal in an unbiased manner.

Before the Council deliberated on the resolution to initiate the rezoning process, it took comments from the public. Nearly 20 citizens who live near the parcel spoke, listing concerns about the preliminary conceptual review submitted by Lennar Homes, who bought the property from Colorado State University last fall. Lennar hopes to build between 600 to 700 homes and condominiums. Residents listed issues such as increased traffic and density as reasons for their opposition.

Cunniff, along with Council members Emily Gorgol, Julie Pignataro and Kristin Stephens, voted to initiate the rezoning now. In stating her position, Gorgol agreed with Stephens and Pignataro who said a separate process will provide more opportunities for citizen feedback and increase transparency. Mayor Wade Troxell and Councilman Ken Summers voted against the resolution, arguing it was not a good idea to set the precedent of separating the rezoning from the development application. Troxell argued that predictability is important for the developer and the separated process creates risk and goes against the City’s goal of creating more affordable housing.

The City has already scheduled a neighborhood meeting on August 6. Letters will be sent to 9,000 property owners and renters living with 1,000 feet of the parcel. A rezoning hearing before the Planning & Zoning Commission will happen on September 19 and a City Council hearing will follow on October 1.

Mobile Home Park Moratorium

The City Council unanimously approved an ordinance on first reading to implement a moratorium on mobile home park redevelopment until August 30, 2020, or until the City adopts an ordinance containing regulations that address “identified issues and concerns.” Tom Leeson, Director of Community Development & Neighborhood Services said that mobile home parks are an important source of affordable housing for lower-income working families, seniors and people with disabilities.

Upon redevelopment of a mobile home park, a mobile homeowner must not only move their personal belongings but must also move the house itself which is complicated by issues including lower value homes not being cost-effective to move, older homes not being able to withstand relocation, and some parks prohibiting the relocation of mobile homes constructed before 1976 because such homes predate safety standards. The passage of HB-1309 “Concerning the Regulation of Mobile Home Parks” encouraged local governments to play an active role in preserving mobile home parks.
City Manager Darin Atteberry said there are rumors “there will be movements in this space” in Fort Collins and the staff wants to get ahead of the issue before it becomes a problem. The moratorium will give the City time to look at “a number of options” but there was no discussion regarding what those “options” might be.

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