Government & Politics  December 20, 2023

Loveland council to bring back Sugar Creek development for reconsideration

LOVELAND — After a 4-4 tie vote on Dec. 5 denied the annexation and rezoning necessary for the proposed Sugar Creek development on the north edge of Loveland, developer Black Timber Builders LLC was given a second chance.

Members of the Loveland City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to reconsider after hearing speaker after speaker from nearby neighborhoods plead for denial of the reconsideration.

Those neighbors, almost all residents of Larimer County in estate or low-\ density properties, complained about traffic on their streets and on Larimer County Road 30, safety of their children going to school, and about density that they said was out of character for adjoining neighborhoods.

They said that Black Timber had the chance Dec. 5 to delay but chose instead to receive an up-or-down vote. With Mayor Jacki Marsh absent on Dec. 5, the vote failed in a tie.

Marsh made it clear Tuesday that she supported the development, including the density, and had concerns only about safety for children going to school and about traffic, which she said the developer will need to address when the issue comes back to the council on Feb. 20 for first reading.

Sugar Creek, a 171 acre property that would include, at least conceptually, a variety of housing types including some that could be considered affordable or attainable, would be built on a cluster of properties south of LCR 30 and east of U.S. Highway 287. Part of the property at one time was envisioned for a new Loveland High School, but the Thompson School District backed off that plan and has put the property back on the market.

Russell Baker, one of the owners of Black Timber, asked council members to familiarize themselves with not only the city comprehensive plan but other plans that affect that area of the community. He listed a plan that outlines the space between Loveland and Fort Collins and the U.S. 287 corridor plan, which anticipates higher density in the area adjacent to the highway.

Baker said the developers would like at the February meeting to “put guardrails on the development” to help alleviate some of the concerns that have been raised. He said LCR 30 “is a safety issue now without (Sugar Creek), and we can help improve that.”

Bliss also said the developer will bring a conceptual preliminary land-use plan to the council at the February meeting in order to give members a better sense for what would be built on the property.

Members of the council and speakers during public comment all raised concerns about the inadequacies of County Road 30, which would be annexed into the city and form the northern boundary of the development. The road is crossed in a couple of locations by the Louden Ditch and then, as it winds to the east, passes along Donath Lake through a narrow corridor. Bliss noted that a cost estimate for upgrading that roadway would not be possible by Feb. 20 but, in answer to council member Andrea Samson said that some general parameters for upgrading the road could be prepared in time.

Council member Troy Krenning told the council that “We can fashion conditions of approval (when the annexation comes back to the council), so it wouldn’t be beyond our reach to condition our approval on that County Road 30 must meet our expectations.” He said he remains opposed to the development but did vote to reconsider it because “the last meeting was a messy meeting, and a 4-4 vote is not a majority vote.

“My no vote (on the development) remains because of Monroe Drive, County Road 30 and the higher density closer to the buffer zone,” Krenning said. “If you can overcome those concerns, I could be persuaded to change my vote.”

LOVELAND — After a 4-4 tie vote on Dec. 5 denied the annexation and rezoning necessary for the proposed Sugar Creek development on the north edge of Loveland, developer Black Timber Builders LLC was given a second chance.

Members of the Loveland City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to reconsider after hearing speaker after speaker from nearby neighborhoods plead for denial of the reconsideration.

Those neighbors, almost all residents of Larimer County in estate or low-\ density properties, complained about traffic on their streets and on Larimer County Road 30, safety of their children going to school, and about density that…

Ken Amundson
Ken Amundson is managing editor of BizWest. He has lived in Loveland and reported on issues in the region since 1987. Prior to Colorado, he reported and edited for news organizations in Minnesota and Iowa. He's a parent of two and grandparent of four, all of whom make their homes on the Front Range. A news junkie at heart, he also enjoys competitive sports, especially the Rapids.
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