Timnath group opposing Topgolf to submit petitions Wednesday

TIMNATH – Guide Our Growth, the group that has been collecting signatures to force a municipal election over whether nets or fences more than 65 feet high will be allowed in Timnath, plans to submit its petitions to the town clerk at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The group needs 651 verified signatures to trigger the special election, and a news release issued Monday said it has collected more than 1,000, which it said “should be more than sufficient to ensure the election occurs.”

Guide Our Growth hopes to stop a Topgolf golf and entertainment complex, similar to the one along Interstate 25 in Thornton, from being built as part of the Ladera mixed-use development planned southeast of I-25 and Harmony Road. That project’s site plan for conceptual review, provided to Timnath planners by applicant TB Group on behalf of property owner Sheri Welch and Connell LLC, seeks a height variance from the town’s 57.5-foot structure-height limits. The concept sketch shows 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.

The 183-acre annexation request for the tract that includes the proposed Topgolf site was submitted in January and has yet to be reviewed by town staff or the Town Council.

The opponents’ petition cites reasons including danger to migrating birds and other wildlife, 20-year-old promises that the proposed site of the Topgolf location would remain open space, and what Guide Our Growth calls the “Timnath Town Board’s drastic deviation from the original master plan.” Neighbors also have cited potential disruptions they say the facility’s lights and music would cause, as well as the views of the mountains from their homes.

Town clerk Milissa Peters-Garcia told BizWest on Monday that once she receives the petitions, “I have 15 business days to review and certify the signatures.” Opponents of the proposed ballot question would have 40 days from Wednesday to protest that some of the signatures weren’t valid, she said.

“Once I’ve reviewed them, we set it for the next council meeting, and the council at that meeting will set the ballot title,” Peters-Garcia said. “Then at the following meeting, they’d approve it, I would publish a notice, and we would set the election between 60 and 120 days out.”

Guide Our Growth originally had launched a petition drive that would amend the town charter to put proposals for any structures more than 60 feet high to a public vote instead of having them decided by the town’s elected officials. However, the Timnath Town Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing the amendment, saying such a move would usurp the authority of elected officials and town planners. In response, Guide Our Growth stopped collecting signatures, withdrew its petition and revised its proposal to what spokesman Bill Jenkins called a “one and done” issue that simply would prohibit fencing poles or material of any kind from exceeding 65 feet in height.

In prepared remarks to be delivered Tuesday night at the Timnath Town Council’s regular meeting, Jenkins wrote that “we, Guide Our Growth, think that the 2020 Comprehensive Plan and the Development and Design Standards for the I-25 Corridor are good guiding documents for further development in our town. Despite what the public relations staff working for Ladera would have you believe, we are not opposed to the Ladera development project per se. We are, however, strongly opposed to development that requires numerous variances from town building and land use codes. We are opposed to development that violates established I-25 Corridor

Standards and aspects of the Comprehensive Plan. We are opposed to development that we believe will result not only in an eyesore to our community but will harm important quality-of-life features that we hold precious for Timnath.”

In a prepared statement sent to BizWest several weeks ago, Connell LLC noted that “the ultimate project is much more than Topgolf, and Ladera will bring additional users that are consistent with the regional commercial zoning that is designated for the property.”  At a Feb. 13 meeting with the project’s neighbors, Grant Nelson of Greenwood Village-based Republic Investment Group, who Connell had retained to help develop Ladera, said that, although the project’s backers are committed to seeing Topgolf through, “we have other retailers we’re working with, and we’d have to reassess our plans” if the initiative passes and Topgolf pulls out. And Martin Lind, who heads Water Valley Land Co. and has proposed a large hotel and water-park complex near The Ranch complex, told BizWest he originally presented a plan to Topgolf to place its facility on a tract near Northern Colorado Regional Airport, the Embassy Suites hotel and the Budweiser Events Center, soon to be known as Blue Arena.

Source: BizWest

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