Meeting Summary by Nanci Wendland
Wellington has a new Town Community & Business Liaison, Caitlin Morris. She introduced herself to the board members and let them know she’s excited to get started working with the Wellington Main Street business group. Approximately twenty (20) residents attended for Public Comments regarding Ordinance 06-2023, an ordinance to amend the original Town of Wellington Marijuana Ordinance, which was voted in by residents November of 2021 by one (1) vote.
Members from D.R. Horton, developer, and Sage Homes builder introduced their new development on the southeast side of Wellington, and how plans were changed to accommodate the water issues. Bob Gowing, Public Works Director, presented an update on three dams north of Wellington that have been reclassified High Hazard and need to either be improved or removed. Bob offered the board mitigation recommendations and cost.
Meeting Notes by Nanci Wendland
Amending the Marijuana ordinance was presented by Dan Sapienza, Town Attorney, and Cody Bird, Planning Director. They gave the board three (3) options for amending the verbiage of the original ordinance passed by voters in November of 2021 by one (1) vote (see page 21 and 22 of the attached packet for more details).
"The three versions are sort of different collections of options that we presented to you at the work session. Planning director Bird put together a list of approximately 20, 15, 20, different things that could be done to change the marijuana ordinances to to affect different goals. The board requested that we put together three versions of that" - Dan Sapienza, Town Attorney
No setback changes.
Clarifies that Home Day Cares are included under definition of Schools.
Under Option A, there are no locations available where additional marijuana businesses could get a license due to zoning & setback requirements.
Increases setbacks for homes and other licensed stores.
Decreases School setbacks from 2,000 to 1,500 feet.
Removes Home Day Care facilities from definition of Schools for licensing.
Opens 2-3 additional sites around town for marijuana businesses.
Leaves School setback same as Option A at 2,000 feet
Removes Home Day Care facilities under definition of Schools.
Opens at least one (1) available option for a marijuana store.
There were approximately eleven (11) residents that spoke at the meeting. Below are some of their concerns. For more detail see attached agenda and minutes.
1. One of the proposed sites is too close to residential neighborhood and home day care.
"I believe they're more suitable and appropriate locations to build that do not involve setback limitations. I asked the board to consider locations North of town or where permitted that meet these setback requirements. As you vote tonight I ask that you vote as if this marijuana store is built is being built in your neighborhoods across from your house across from your children across from your family like it is in mine." - Aaron Bradley - Resident
2. Teenagers are currently using the lot for hanging out. Marijuana brings crime and increased traffic putting these teenagers at more risk.
"I have also noticed that a lot of a lot of teens teenagers use that whole area for skateboarding, so there's a lot of child teenager activity in this area. Again I'm not against the business um again the location is not ideal" - Angie Billington - Daycare Owner and Resident
3. A couple of residents favored Option B. The proposed location (request for licensing) would face the highway off the frontage road along I25. There is no day care, or home day care facilities near the site.
4.One woman replayed the original discussion form 2021 and asked the board to keep their word; or consider putting a store up north with heavy industrial businesses.
"Mayor, I have a solution so that you can keep your promise to the residents... Why don't you rezone the pot shops to light industrial that's the north part of town that's the furthest away from residence because you have the buffer of the commercial so that there won't be this problem with the location and you can open up three pot shops up in industrial. I'm asking you guys to keep your word stay consistent to what you said you were going to do." - Resident
Trustee Gaiter made a motion to Amend Option B to use a 2,000 setback instead.
All board members agreed that home day care facilities should not be classified with Schools. If you have a day care facility in a residential home, it would be better to keep the residential zoning code. Most favored either amending Option B to keep home day care under residential and keep the setback at 2,000 feet.
"I have been consistent that I think that we need to keep with what the voters have asked for. They wanted to have marijuana here in wellington. There are options to go and look at other properties that are not currently zone C3 and to have those rezone C3. There are other options to open a store and I don't think that we should just be going through and changing the process for those." - Trustee Jon Gaitor
Yes – 5;No – 2 (Tietz and Daily)
"We know there is legal liability we know that there was issues with the very poorly written ordinance to begin with and that created massive conflicts. This will have to change no matter which way we look at it in some aspects because of those legalities and issues what I will say is I will not support ordnance version B" - Trustee Shirrell Tietz
#1- Discuss updates to the Saddleback Subdivision and Development Agreement:
Cody Bird, Planning Director, Jen Simmons with Sage Homes, and Tom Dugan with D.R. Horton presented their changes for the subdivision.
This subdivision on the southeast side of I25 was approved in 2018. However, when discussing the detailed plans, it was realized that this subdivision had no non-potable water for outdoor watering use. They would have to use treated town water even for outdoor use, and this subdivision was to offer larger lots than in-town. This is a problem for the town of Wellington whose water rates jumped up to 3 times the normal rate due to incapacity to accommodate the increased growth and use of water and wastewater.
"Where are we today... those larger lots this particular subdivision does not have non-potable water sources for it and the increasing water costs may put those larger lots where homeowners have to pay for town treated water to irrigate lawns on large lots. And where the town would have to perpetually provide that irrigation water the owners would have to through their purchasing price provide water. But the town can then treat for irrigation may not be in alignment with the town's goals and plans today. And so town staff asked the developer to look at what are some other alternatives." - Cody Bird - Planning Director
A new water treatment/wastewater plant is in the process but won’t be completed until late 2025.
The original plans, which included large-sized lots, were denied, and returned to D.R. Horton for revision on water usage.
D.R. Horton and Sage Homes have agreed to:
Reduce lot sizes.
Have more open spaces with natural grasses that once established shouldn’t require a lot of water.
Strict Covenants regarding water usage.
The builder has agreed to provide front and side landscaping to each home to reduce a homeowner’s costs.
The board had questions, but the questions were too detailed at this time and will be brought up again at a July meeting. This was a discussion period only to present options for the new subdivision.
#2- B-Dams Presentation and Discussion:
B-Dams (Boxelder Basin has several dams that protect Wellington, Timnath, Fort Collins, and Larimer County. The town of Wellington would be the first to completely flood should there be a breach in any of the dams.
These dams were constructed in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Three (3) of the dams have been reclassified as HIGH HAZARD and need to either be improved or removed. Removal is not an option. The initial cost to repair was $25-30 million.
Public Works and Finance Directors from all four (4) communities hired a consulting firm to reevaluate the dams, provide some design criteria and cost sharing mitigation measures. Flood mitigation costs have been lowered substantially based on a shared agreement between the four communities. A trust fund would be created for each community based on their risk factor.
"This actually helps aid and assist our residents in being able to afford their homeowners insurance without having to buy additional flood insurance." - Trustee Shirrell Tietz
Wellington’s risk factor is the highest and mitigation would require $487,000 each year over the next 5 years. In addition, there would be a yearly maintenance cost projection of $12,000-$13,000 per year. This was incredibly good news, and all board members were in support of this new plan. A cost summary is on pages 99-100 of the agenda.
"I want to make sure that we're protected because we're expending 30 percent of the costs on everything didn't agree more" - Trustee Jon Gaiter
Everyone thanked Bob Gowing for his excellent work on this major project. Bob will keep the board updated.
Meeting adjourned at 9:20PM
Observers Follow-up Questions:
Will there be a Metro District tax for homeowners in the new subdivision, Saddleback?
Will the new planned dam north of Hwy 287 cause any issues with the Boxelder Basin?
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