Rezoning request on Loveland’s west end heads for City Council

LOVELAND — Although the Loveland Planning Commission — to the cheers of many nearby residents who packed City Council chambers on Monday — voted not to recommend rezoning four properties on the city’s west side from low-density to high-density residential, the proposal could still be kept alive by the City Council itself.

The city has decided to present the rezoning application to council members, said Nicole Yost, the city’s director of communication and engagement, but “with the recommendation of denial (5-2) provided by (the) Planning Commission.”

The commission’s vote to deny the rezoning proposed for the area around Sixth Street and Douglas Avenue followed public comments by dozens of neighbors and mostly opposed the proposal that included three “nonconforming uses:” an assisted-living center, a four-unit townhouse and a medical office building. Because that office building at 914 W. Sixth St. has been vacant for at least 10 years, city planner Kerri Burchett told the planning commission that its owner, Barry Floyd, couldn’t renovate or sell the building unless it were rezoned.

Burchett, part of the development-services team that had recommended approval of the rezoning, told commissioners Monday that Floyd had signed a tentative agreement to sell the medical office building to the owners of Courtyard Assisted Living for use as a memory-care center.

Therefore, the city decided to recommend the rezoning for all four nonconforming-use properties at once. But nearby residents, many of whom had organized into a group calling itself the WestEndies, complained that a switch to high-density residential zoning would damage the character of their peaceful neighborhood, and a majority of the planning commissioners expressed some opposing issues of their own.

“The city is the applicant,” Yost said in an email to BizWest on Wednesday, “and the decision is to continue the public hearing at the City Council. The three property owners within the proposed rezone area are continuing voluntarily.

“While much of the conversation at the Planning Commission was focused on Mr. Floyd’s property given its vacant state and loss of nonconforming status,” she wrote, “the rezone does not solely impact his property.

“The objective of the rezone is to align the zoning with the established uses and infrastructure in this area. The rezone would remove an undue burden placed on the three property owners within this area, correcting a city-initiated rezoning oversight in 1968.

“There is great respect for this neighborhood and how it has developed over the last 50 years,” Yost wrote, but added that “there is also regard for the continuance of the townhome use and assisted-living facility use, despite their nonconforming status. The continued existence of these uses and the support they garner from the neighborhood demonstrates their compatibility and place within the fabric of the neighborhood. The zoning of these properties should therefore reflect their existing and historic use.

“While the Comprehensive Plan calls for a mix of housing types and investment in the city’s older neighborhoods,” she wrote, “it also calls upon the city to ‘facilitate the rehabilitation of housing and redevelopment of aging private properties through technical support’ — all of which are supported in the proposed rezone effort.”

Rezoning the properties, she wrote, would “remove obstacles for these established uses while supporting a compatible mix of uses that have existed both historically in this neighborhood and are identified in the Comprehensive Plan as an appropriate mix in this area, including medical offices and multifamily use.”

Source: BizWest

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