LOVELAND — A project including more than 1,000 housing units could rise in northwest Loveland if the City Council gives final approval Feb. 21 to a developer’s annexation and zoning request.
According to a plan endorsed by a unanimous city planning commission on Nov. 28 and a 9-0 first-reading vote by the City Council on Tuesday, a 266-acre tract of vacant land north of West 57th Street between Wilson and Taft avenues would be developed by Walton Colorado LLC, a division of Scottsdale, Arizona-based Walton International.
What’s designated as the Taft Ridge First Addition would also require Planned Unit Development zoning, documents submitted to the council say, so it could contain “a variety of residential uses including single-family, duplex, townhomes and multifamily, along with a 3½-acre commercial node at the corner of 57th Street and Wilson Avenue.”
The development’s maximum density would align with the “low-density residential” designation in Loveland’s comprehensive plan, allowing up to four dwelling units per acre or 1,065 residential units.
The objective, Walton Colorado’s documents state, is to “design a ‘full-service’ neighborhood with access to housing, jobs, services and amenities within a safe and comfortable walking distance.”
On Tuesday night, the council gave unanimous first-reading approval to the annexation and zoning requests.
In a presentation before council members, Kristin Turner and David Dalton, representing Walton Colorado, said the development would be built in phases over as much as eight to 10 years and include two collector streets, one running east and west and the other an extension of Coolidge Avenue, thus dividing Taft Ridge into four quadrants, and including a centrally located park space.
Turner said the plan calls for “housing diversity, a minimum of four product types and as many as eight.” It also addresses price “attainability,” with options including multi-family units and “housing for the life cycle, from starters to new families and empty nesters.”
Single-family homes would be built in the first and second phases of the development, with townhomes, duplexes or other multi-family units also possible in the second phase. The third phase would include 3.5 acres of commercial development such as a coffee shop, small retailer or office space.
Because the development would border open space between Loveland and Fort Collins, Turner said, the plan provides for two specialized features:
First, she said, the northern edge of the development that adjoins the county open space would include “soft urban edges” with plantings, meandering trails instead of straight sidewalks, and larger single-family detached homes as a buffer. More dense and urbanized development would gradually be built to the south as the development gets closer to existing Loveland residential areas.
Second, because the Dec. 30, 2021, Marshall Fire in Boulder County demonstrated the risk of wildfire spreading from open space into residential areas, Turner said split-rail fencing would be allowed instead of the traditional six-foot cedar privacy fences she said “served as a wick” during the Marshall Fire. Routine maintenance of drainage areas would be made, and rules would permit only metal outdoor furnishings and rock mulch instead of wood. Builders also would be required to follow “hydrozone” standards in common areas.
Some comments from Loveland citizens attending the meeting supported the measure, while others expressed concerns about rapid growth in Loveland. Council members also asked about access to public transit, water supplies, and adherence to Wildland Urban Interface standards.