Fort Collins City Council punts Hughes Stadium rezone due to second ethics complaint

FORT COLLINS — The Fort Collins City Council delayed final approval for rezoning the Hughes Stadium property on the city’s far-west side for a housing development due to a new ethics complaint filed Tuesday afternoon.

The council voted 4-3 to move its discussion to March 17 about the development of an estimated 550 homes on the 165-acre site owned by Colorado State University.

Resident Rory Heath said in a public comment period before the hearing that he filed the new complaint Tuesday against council members, reiterating previous complaints against Mayor Wade Troxell and Mayor Pro Tem Kristin Stephens for voting on the proposal while being employed by CSU. He also accused council member Ken Summers of potentially being beholden to outside interests because of his previous lobbying activities.

State records show Summers terminated his lobbying registration in 2016, but his company, KGS Consulting LLC, is still in good standing with the Colorado Secretary of State.

Troxell said the new complaint didn’t have merit, while Summers called it “bogus, frivolous and with no factual basis.”

The council voted to delay the hearing after Mayor Pro Tem Kristin Stephens said she didn’t agree with the complaint but wanted to postpone the hearing again in light of that new complaint and asked for an alternate review board to view the complaint.

“There have been a lot of attacks on my character, and I’d like to have those resolved before we continue,” she said.

Council member Julie Pignataro said the last-minute complaint was “disrespectful” to the crowd of people in the audience wanting to comment on the rezoning and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

“I’m not really thrilled about it,” she said.

Two residents filed complaints against Troxell and Stephens last year, accusing them of having a conflict of interest because they work for CSU. The rest of the city council later found those to be without merit but delayed the rezoning hearings anyway to make its decision on the complaints.

The Hughes development is situated on the site where Hughes Stadium once stood when it was home to CSU’s football team, nestled closely to the foothills that lead to Horsetooth Reservoir and the mountains to the west.

Miami-based home developer Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN) originally proposed building 600 to 700 homes on the property. The city instead zoned the property with higher density to the east and lower density toward the foothills in a 4-3 vote in November, restricting the number of homes within the lots.

Some Fort Collins residents have fiercely opposed the development, arguing that it would trade away open space, wildlife habitats and unobstructed views of the mountains for houses they believe wouldn’t help the city’s home pricing woes and cause undue traffic.

Speaking to reporters after the vote, Heath said his complaint was not meant as a delay tactic; it was filed on the day of the hearing because he needed time to research it and because city offices were closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

Heath believes the council has ignored the area’s history as public open space and pleas from residents to halt development. He said he doesn’t believe the council can police itself with alleged conflicts of interest.

“Do I trust the ethics review process from what I saw from the last individuals who had the very same strong concerns? It was not fair,” he said. “The topic was steered away in that case by fellow council members who share the same pitfalls.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include additional information about the complaints.

 

FORT COLLINS — The Fort Collins City Council delayed final approval for rezoning the Hughes Stadium property on the city’s far-west side for a housing development due to a new ethics complaint filed Tuesday afternoon.

The council voted 4-3 to move its discussion to March 17 about the development of an estimated 550 homes on the 165-acre site owned by Colorado State University.

Resident Rory Heath said in a public comment period before the hearing that he filed the new complaint Tuesday against council members, reiterating previous complaints against Mayor Wade Troxell and Mayor Pro Tem Kristin Stephens for voting on the proposal while being employed by CSU. He also accused council member Ken Summers of potentially being beholden to outside interests because of his previous lobbying activities.

State records show Summers terminated his lobbying registration in 2016, but his company, KGS Consulting LLC, is still in good standing with the Colorado Secretary of State.

Troxell said the new complaint didn’t have merit, while Summers called it “bogus, frivolous and with no factual basis.”

The council voted to delay the hearing after Mayor Pro Tem Kristin Stephens said she didn’t agree with the complaint but wanted to postpone the hearing again in light of that new complaint and asked for an alternate review board to view the complaint.

“There have been a lot of attacks on my character, and I’d like to have those resolved before we continue,” she said.

Council member Julie Pignataro said the last-minute complaint was “disrespectful” to the crowd of people in the…