Government & Politics  January 24, 2023

Timnath Town Council to mull resolution opposing citizen initiative on structure height

TIMNATH — The Timnath Town Council is expected to vote Tuesday night on a resolution opposing a proposed ballot initiative that would amend the town charter to put proposals for structures more than 60 feet high to a public vote.

The item calling for consideration of the resolution was added to the council’s agenda on Monday, a day before its meeting and just three or four days after town residents received an anonymously mailed postcard that urged them not to sign the citizen-led petition that would force the council to set an election date.

The petition drive, launched by Guide Our Growth Timnath, a group of five Timnath residents, was prompted by a “site plan for conceptual review” that was provided to Timnath planners by applicant TB Group on behalf of property owner Sheri Welch and Connell LLC for a project described only as an “outdoor recreation and golf entertainment center” but widely believed to be for a Topgolf facility such as the one along Interstate 25 in Thornton. The conceptual site sketch shows plans for a roughly 38,000-square-foot facility on nearly 12 acres including a 40-foot-high building, and seeks a height variance for netting poles stretching 156 feet into the air.

“I have a home, and my back door would have a view of that,” said Jacque Wilson, a member of Guide Our Growth Timnath. “The height limit is currently 57½ feet, and anything where that does not meet code needs an exemption. We want to put anything over 60 feet to a citizen vote.”

According to a news release issued Monday by Guide Our Growth Timnath, “if approved by the voters, this charter amendment would add specificity to the town’s comprehensive plan, town code and land-use code and require affirmative voter approval of proposed buildings and structures other than communications towers taller than a five-story building. Development projects that would exceed these limits require only a Town Council-authorized variance for construction to proceed. The change could affect Topgolf’s intent to build a 14-story structure near a new Floor and Decor south of Costco in the highly congested area.”

Acknowledging that the group could have simply called for a vote on this particular project instead of seeking an amendment to the charter, Wilson told BizWest that “as we researched this, this is what holds up best, has more meat.”

Timnath town clerk Milissa Peters-Garcia said the group’s petition was approved Dec. 21, and it has 90 days — until March 21 — to collect “the verified signatures of 654 Timnath residents, 10% of voters registered at the time.

“I then have 14 business days to verify them,” Peters-Garcia said, “and then it would go to the next council meeting to be sent to an election.” 

To be sure they have enough, Wilson said, her group is aiming to turn in “roughly 750” signatures.

The resolution on Tuesday night’s council agenda, signed by Timnath mayor Mark Soukup, recognizes citizens’ constitutional powers of initiative and referendum, but points out that its passage would require “multiple amendments to the town’s comprehensive plan, town code and land-use code. It points out that the land-use code already “incorporates public input into development decisions through adoption of the town’s comprehensive plan, implementation and updates to its LUC, notice of proposed development to affected parties, neighborhood meetings and public hearings.”

The resolution states that the ballot initiative would undermine the public participation and engagement of the public, planning commission and Town Council “in the development project approval process currently contained in the town’s LUC” as well as the “lengthy analysis of a proposed development project under the LUC,” and strip the “reviewing governmental and resident led boards and commissions of development review and approval authority.”

Instead, the resolution contends, the initiative would “bestow the power to act in a quasi-judicial matter on the public generally, without any consideration given to the due process or property right concerns this may raise for those seeking to develop a project within the town limits, thereby putting the town at heightened risk for litigation.”

Timnath residents received this postcard in their mailboxes on Thursday and Friday. Courtesy Guide Our Growth Timnath

The oversized, two-sided postcards received by Timnath residents on Thursday and Friday contained no information about who was responsible for their content, included a return address of ”P.O. Box 41” in Timnath, and had a postmark indicating that the bulk postage was paid through a permit issued in Denver.

Carrying the headline “Decline To Sign The Petition,” the mailing contended that “it will cost Timnath residents tens of thousands of dollars to hold a special election this spring, and quite possibly cost us tens of millions of dollars in the long run by jeopardizing Timnath’s economic future! The town needs these dollars to support our first responders, fill our potholes, fund our parks and reduce traffic congestion.”

The mailer alleged that the petition drive’s ballot issue was “drafted behind closed doors by a lawyer backed by a developer, neither of whom live in our town.”

Wilson said members of her group would attend Tuesday night’s meeting.

TIMNATH — The Timnath Town Council is expected to vote Tuesday night on a resolution opposing a proposed ballot initiative that would amend the town charter to put proposals for structures more than 60 feet high to a public vote.

The item calling for consideration of the resolution was added to the council’s agenda on Monday, a day before its meeting and just three or four days after town residents received an anonymously mailed postcard that urged them not to sign the citizen-led petition that would force the council to set an election date.

The petition drive, launched by Guide Our…

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