Neighborhood Group Sues Fort Collins City Council Over Approval of Development

Jonson Kuhn | North Forty News

Sanctuary Field Neighborhood Network (SFNN), a small non-profit neighborhood group, is starting the new year off with a bang by continuing efforts to hold the city of Fort Collins accountable. On October 4 of last year, the SFNN filed a lawsuit against the Fort Collins City Council in Larimer County District Court for the city’s approval of a 212-unit housing development on North Taft Hill Road.

SFNN has been busy ever since with objecting to the 41-acre development proposal through the city’s development review process.  They say it violates provisions of the Land Use Code and the Northwest Subarea plan that the city and county approved to guide development within that area. Neighbors argue that their complaint of opposing feedback was disregarded and ignored by the City Council and their decision to approve the development project after SFNN appealed.

In May, SFNN appealed a hearing officer’s decision to approve the project, asserting that the officer:

1) Conducted an unfair hearing; and

2) Was biased and misinterpreted city zoning codes, including the Northwest Subarea plan. The City Council upheld the decision in a 5-2 vote in August.

SFNN is requesting that the city “meaningfully engage” with residents in the area regarding the impact of incompatible development, said Steering Committee member Miranda Spindel in a news release.

“Approving a development plan that the vast majority of the community is opposed to, while completely disregarding the Northwest Subarea Plan, which was jointly developed with citizens in the City and County, is unethical, contradicts the city’s promise to the community, and violates the City’s own codes.”

Spindel stated, “We are just asking that the City follow its own guidelines, including the Land Use Code, the Northwest Subarea Plan, and other forms of citizen input in its development review process.”

SFNN is actively fundraising for the legal fees associated with this effort through a gofundme site and upcoming fundraising events.

While the city could not provide a comment due to the pending legal matter, they could point to court documents from the city attorney’s website (fcgov.com/cityattorney). It outlines the overall case and the city and developer’s response.

Solitaire Fort Collins, LLC, a Colorado limited liability company (the “Developer”), is the owner of the approximately 41.34-acre parcel of vacant land that SFNN is currently fighting against the development on and is entirely located within the portions of the NWSAP annexed by the City (the “Subject Property”).

In response to the allegations put forth by SFNN, Solitaire stated the following through public court documents.

“Solitaire is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations regarding the SFNN’s stated purpose and therefore denies those allegations. Solitaire denies each and every other allegation except to admit only that (a) the Colorado Secretary of State’s website identifies Plaintiff SFNN as a nonprofit corporation organized in Colorado, with its principal place of business located at 330 North Taft Hill Road, Fort Collins, CO 80521, (b) that this address is located in Larimer County, (c) the Council of the City of Fort Collins adopted the Northwest Subarea Plan in Resolution 2006-120 on December 19, 2006, and (d) the City of Fort Collins annexed at least some of the Northwest Subarea designated area.”

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