Letter: Barn at Sunny Side Farm not compatible with Bellvue


Our community is disappointed in your coverage of the recently submitted Barn at Sunny Side Farm (BASS) proposal in the North Forty News. The Bellvue Historic Foundation (BHF) is a citizen’s group from Bellvue who has worked for many years to document and protect the historical resources of Pleasant Valley.

In past years, we have enjoyed working with the North Forty News to responsibly report on activities in Bellvue which reflect this community’s shared goals of historic preservation, among others. Tens of thousands of visitors enjoy the intact rural landscape of Bellvue each year. Much about why they visit is threatened with BASS. We hope you will publish this letter to clarify what could be perceived as shortcomings in your articles about BASS to date.

The North Forty News’ recent reporting on the Barn at Sunny Side Farm fails to mention serious concerns raised over the lack of infrastructure available in Bellvue/Pleasant Valley, and disruption required to bring sufficient infrastructure and customers to the facility to be feasible as a commercial enterprise. Your coverage seems to promote such activity adjacent to the “town” of Bellvue. This in direct conflict with the opinion of Larimer County, who in their June 5 Sketch Plan Review report, deemed the proposal “incompatible with the neighborhood.”

Furthermore, reviewing agencies — Colorado Division of Wildlife and Poudre Fire Authority — have raised serious concerns about the scale and impacts of the proposal. Also attached to the recently released Sketch Plan Review were approximately 100 pages of letters from community residents giving comment on the BASS proposal and its impact on Bellvue. None of these letters were in support of this proposal.

We are concerned that the North Forty News has not performed adequate investigation regarding the full extent of the historic and natural resources in the area of BASS, and factual data about how limited infrastructure is in Bellvue to support such a large commercial venture.

The BASS proposal as submitted would require extensive road work, expansion of water lines, potentially extending from south of Bellvue town, all the way to Watson Lake in order to achieve required fire flows, and also, there is no sewer in Bellvue. The BASS property (4.7 acres) already contains three residences, two of which are generated from a nonconforming rental, all serviced on septic. Some of the structures on the property are on CDW-owned land. The majority of the structures on the property are within the 100-foot setback from property lines and wetlands which exist on the western boundary of the property. Panther Creek on the northwest corner of the site floods regularly. Other area farmers are not entitled to special treatment to allow extensive development based on septic systems or within wetlands and floodplains from Larimer County. Bellvue is an intact agricultural community with many successful farmers living here. Farming does not require a retail operation to be successful, as demonstrated by others who do so on the bottom of Pleasant Valley.

If the Barn at Sunny Side were to proceed with an appropriate amount of parking spaces for its projected occupant load, requiring at least 60 parking spaces and dual egress for fire trucks/guests, turnarounds on site, widening CR 50C and so on, it is probable that the increased developed area would substantially impair and disturb the historic view enjoyed from the Scenic Overlook at the top of Bingham Hill Road.

Increased development in Pleasant Valley will impact the roads in the area, creating a need for widening or straightening which would tremendously alter the views within the proposed Historic Rural District, potentially impairing it’s eligibility and this goal that the residents of Bellvue have donated time and money towards for almost 10 years. Details on these goals and studies have been provided by the North Forty News previously.

Also, we’d like to clarify that the BHF position on the BASS proposal is that it is not compatible with the shared goals and vision of this community. At our weekly meetings, this is our position. Our next meeting will be June 25 at the Grange beginning at 6:30 p.m.

In conclusion, we urge the applicants and property owner to work with this community in a peaceful and low-impact partnership. Please do not go forward with this proposal, or any other plans to commercialize Bellvue.

Thank you Editor, for your consideration of our concerns.

Neal Spencer

Bellvue Historic Foundation, member

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