Real Estate & Construction  January 3, 2024

Topgolf foes neutral on latest Timnath ballot initiative

TIMNATH – Guide Our Growth, the citizens group that successfully led a petition drive last year to keep a Topgolf golf and entertainment center out of the proposed Ladera development, has decided not to take a stance on the latest ballot initiative, which would limit the town of Timnath’s ability to annex land that contains a mine.

“Guide Our Growth is a pro-thoughtful development organization in favor of the Ladera development in concert with the 2020 Comprehensive Plan, the I-25 Corridor standards and the existing land use codes,” Dr. Bill Jenkins, the group’s president, said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon. “As far as the ballot initiative asking the voters whether the town should be able to annex land before or after a mine’s remediation and approval by the state of Colorado, that decision will be up to the voters of Timnath. Guide Our Growth is neutral on the issue.”

In a late June single-issue municipal election, 69.3% of Timnath voters supported Guide Our Growth’s move to effectively block the Topgolf facility by amending the town’s home-rule charter to prohibit permanent fences and netting taller than 65 feet. Topgolf’s site plan for conceptual review sought a height variance from the town’s 57.5-foot structure-height limits. The concept sketch showed plans for a roughly 38,000-square-foot facility on nearly 12 acres including a 40-foot-high building and netting poles 156 feet high.

Topgolf’s netting is designed to keep driven golf balls from landing outside its property, but Guide Our Growth members were concerned about several issues, including that the nets would pose a hazard to migrating waterfowl along the nearby Cache la Poudre River. Neighbors also said the tall nets would obstruct their views of the mountains and that lights and music the facility would generate would create disturbance into the night.

The latest citizen-led petition drive, which was not led by Guide Our Growth, has placed an issue on this year’s April 2 ballot that would amend the Timnath town charter to prohibit the town from annexing areas being used for mining until reclamation work is complete. 

Timnath Town Clerk Milissa Peters-Garcia confirmed in December that the group’s petition had more than the necessary 348 verified signatures to place the question before voters at the town’s regular April municipal election. The ballot language will be set at the next town council meeting Tuesday.

Ladera developer Connell LLC sought annexation and development of land southeast of Interstate 25 and East Harmony Road. The site includes land now operated by Connell affiliate Connell Resources LLC as a gravel mine.

The developer’s plan for Ladera includes more than 700 homes and about 2 million square feet of commercial, office and retail space including restaurants, a dual-branded hotel, an assisted-living center and storage units.

In a statement emailed to BizWest in November, Connell expressed disappointment that another petition had been submitted, contending that “the reclamation of the gravel pit is not the primary focus of this petition. It is – and has always been — to halt growth and options in Timnath.”

The new ballot issue would make the prohibition retroactive.

“It could be years before that reclamation is completed – or even started, for that matter,” said Matthew Wasserman, one of the residents who submitted the statement of intent for the new ballot issue. The other petitioners are Irvan Christy Jr., Harry Deveraux, Dan Ethridge and Christine Landon. Some are or had been part of the Guide Our Growth group, but Wasserman said that group is not officially part of the new initiative.

TIMNATH – Guide Our Growth, the citizens group that successfully led a petition drive last year to keep a Topgolf golf and entertainment center out of the proposed Ladera development, has decided not to take a stance on the latest ballot initiative, which would limit the town of Timnath’s ability to annex land that contains a mine.

“Guide Our Growth is a pro-thoughtful development organization in favor of the Ladera development in concert with the 2020 Comprehensive Plan, the I-25 Corridor standards and the existing land use codes,” Dr. Bill Jenkins, the group’s president, said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon.…

Dallas Heltzell
With BizWest since 2012 and in Colorado since 1979, Dallas worked at the Longmont Times-Call, Colorado Springs Gazette, Denver Post and Public News Service. A Missouri native and Mizzou School of Journalism grad, Dallas started as a sports writer and outdoor columnist at the St. Charles (Mo.) Banner-News, then went to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before fleeing the heat and humidity for the Rockies. He especially loves covering our mountain communities.
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