Trustees to hear Aspen Trails annexation proposal

kayla evansJohn Scarffe, Nederland.     During the Board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, July 15, the Nederland Board of Trustees set October 7 for a public hearing on a proposal for the Town to annex the Aspen Trails area.

According to background information, on March 18 the BOT took extensive comment during a public hearing regarding annexation of 17 acres of Arapaho Ranch at 1250 Eldora Road, known as Aspen Trails,

The proposed annexation is adjacent to the town at County Road 130 (Eldora Road) and Highway 119. The annexed land was originally proposed for 45 to 60 units of housing for seniors and people with moderate to low incomes, as well as a trail right-of-way to complete the communitywide trail to the Nederland Middle/Senior High School and a recreation center.

The Town is party to an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Boulder County, which also governs annexations to Nederland. The IGA requires that all annexation petitions be referred to the County for review by the County Planning Commission and for consideration of approval by the Boulder County Commissioners. The petition has been referred to the Boulder County Land Use Department, Boulder County Attorney, and Boulder County Commissioners, as required by the IGA.

The petition has also been referred to all special districts and utilities providers within the proposed annexation area. An amendment to the IGA will be required to allow for annexation of the subject property.

The Planning Commission reviewed the application on February 26, and voted four to one to recommend denial of the application, based upon two points: that the application was not consistent with the Nederland Comprehensive Plan Update, which promotes infill development; and that vacant lots within the Town are available for residential development.

To allow for Boulder County review of the application at its Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners, as well as to research additional evidence, the Board continued the hearing to May 6.

At this point, the Town and County are awaiting the results of a Housing Needs Assessment, a partnership effort of the Town and the Boulder County Housing Authority. The County wishes to receive at least preliminary data from this study before further considering the application, indicating it will help them understand the housing needs better and how this application may meet them. Study data is anticipated in early August.

It is unclear how long the County’s review process with take; however, given that the housing data and other information will be forthcoming in the next month, Town staff recommended further continuing the hearing until August 19 or September 2, in order to receive further evidence and updates on the case.

Town Administrator Alisha Reis told the Board the Town has no new information. The County has not done much in the way of review. They are looking forward to new housing board members.

Mayor Joe Gierlach opened the public hearing and allowed Arapahoe Ranch owner and the applicant for annexation, Kayla Evans, to speak first. She said after trying several times to walk the property with Town representatives it has rained. She is looking forward to the process working.

Nederland resident and property owner Ron Mitchell said there’s a terribly desperate housing need in this community. He just had one room available to rent, and he got 11 calls for just that one room.

Neighbor David Freeman said his concern is the increased traffic from the proposed development. If developed, the Town will need better traffic control on Eldora and Highway 119.

“People come around that blind curve at rapid speeds,” Freeman said. The Town needs to mitigate the high speed of traffic at that intersection, he added.

Harold Schneider said he is concerned about traffic congestion. If the development has 150 people in its units, that could bring 300 to 350 cars with other people visiting. “Unless there’s a plan for parking and congestion, it seems unsustainable,” he said.

Reis said the traffic concerns are well-understood, and Town staff will be working with the County and the Colorado Department of Transportation to come up with solutions. Evans said she will be compliant with all regulations for light pollution and already has a large berm.

The Board first made a motion to set a public hearing on September 2 but then decided that waiting until October 7 would be better and approved a motion to set the hearing for that date.

Treasurer’s Report

Town Treasurer Eva Forberger reported that so far the Town budget is favorable. Year-to-date actual revenue exceeds budgeted revenue by $37,633 primarily due to higher sales tax, property tax, and other taxes, offset by lower police fines and grant revenue.

Sales tax is higher due to across-the-board increases from sales tax vendors. Property taxes are higher due to timing, and it is not anticipated that this increase will be maintained throughout the year.

Other taxes are higher due to larger franchise fees and new motor vehicle registrations higher than budgeted. Police fines are lower due to less ticket revenue than budgeted, and grant revenue is lower due to the timing of grant receipts.

Year-to-date actual expenditures exceed budgeted expenditures by $1,326, primarily due to higher administration and finance costs, Board of Trustee costs, and public works costs, offset by lower law enforcement costs.

The next meeting of the Nederland Board of Trustees will be on Tuesday, July 29, at 6 p.m., with the Planning Commission at the Nederland Community Center. For more information about the Nederland Board of Trustees meeting, go online and see other articles in this edition of The Mountain-Ear.