July 25, 2019
Council Discusses Wildlife Plan
The City Council discussed revisions to the Wildlife Management Plan (WMP) on July 16 but made so many changes that it will have to come back before the Council again for final adoption. The Council was particularly concerned with the impact of development on wildlife, in particular setting adequate setbacks for riparian areas along the St. Vrain River and other sensitive areas, as well as prairie dog management. When the WMP is approved, it will require a variety of additions to the City’s Land Development Code related to riparian setbacks, wetlands, and development review procedures.
In his comments, Councilmember Tim Waters noted that he wants the Natural Resources Department to comment on every development application received by the City. He also mentioned his support for hiring a new wildlife planner to review all applications. (The new planning position will be considered as part of the 2019-2020 budget process.). Wildlife and environmental issues have a renewed emphasis with this Council.
Council Changes Decision on Mountain Brook Appeal
The July 23 discussion about the Mountain Brook Preliminary Plat Appeal was fascinating. Mayor Brian Bagley requested that the item be added to the agenda for reconsideration after a 5-2 July 9 vote to send the project back to the Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z). On the 23rdthe City Council voted to overturn the decision it made on July 9, in essence denying the appeal by two Boulder County residents on Rodgers Road and approving the project’s preliminary plat. Polly Christensen and Aren Rodriguez voted against the overturn, while Mayor Bagley and Councilmembers Bonnie Finley, Joan Peck, Marcia Martin and Tim Waters voted for it.
The article in the Times-Call offers a good summary of the discussion but left out some important comments that are worth sharing (see the link to the Times-Call story, below). Mayor Pro Tem Polly Christensen, who had made the original motion on July 9 to send the project back to P&Z, accused Mayor Bagley of using shady tactics to ensure another vote was held on the decision. She also questioned the integrity of Councilmembers Tim Waters and Marcia Martin, saying they should recuse themselves from the vote. She reminded everyone of the upcoming City Council election in a not-so-subtle threat. Bagley and Waters are up for re-election this November.
Waters and Martin made it clear that they at least understand how the appeal process is supposed to work. A P&Z decision could only be overturned if certain conditions were met. Both agreed that the appellants did not make that case. It was encouraging to see them stand up to intense pressure by emotional County residents to meet the greater needs of Longmont.
This project will pay the cost for three new badly-needed collector roads in southwest Longmont and add 110 single-family homes, 149 townhomes, eight Habitat duplexes, as well as a 25-unit village for homeless veterans. The preliminary plat was approved by P&Z with a host of conditions, which the developer will have to meet “before a single home is built,” to quote Tim Waters. The project will be the subject of additional scrutiny by staff as it moves through Longmont’s development process.