by Libby James
photo by Libby James
Help NFN Grow
A drop-in gathering regarding the rezoning and eventual use of the Hughes Stadium property held between 5 and 8 p.m. at the Drake Center in Fort Collins on August 8 drew a large crowd of local citizens with questions and concerns.
Various city departments created visual displays of the area and had representatives on hand to answer questions. Those in attendance were asked to sign in, in order to be informed of upcoming meetings and were directed to send their comments to the city via email. (preferred: email@example.com or on the Our City page at https://ourcity.fcgov/hughesstadiumredevelopment).
Owned by Colorado State University, the land lies west of town at the base of the foothills and adjoins Maxwell Natural Area. According to a citizen group, Planning Actions to Transform Hughes Sustainably (PATHS), the area is the last large undeveloped natural open space parcel at the foothills of the city. They describe it as a community resource and an important habitat and migration area for wildlife.
CSU is committed to monetizing the property and currently has a contract with Lennar, a large national real estate development company, to purchase the land. The city of Fort Collins has not considered purchasing the land because that expense would prevent development of conservation in northeast Fort Collins where there are no natural areas. Lennar has not submitted a development proposal and consummation of the contract remains open. There are local concerns that the firm plans to build between 600 and 700 dwelling units on the property.
According to PATHS member Mary Alice Grant, concerns are citywide. She explains that people want to maintain easy access to Horsetooth Reservoir and foothills hiking and biking areas. More than 5,000 community members have signed PATHS petitions and 700 have shared feedback with CSU. No feedback has supported high density housing.
Zoning, a process determined by the city, which divides municipal land into zones where certain uses are permitted or prohibited has not been finalized for the Hughes property. City council, after recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Board, can adopt new zoning on a site. The Hughes property could have several different zone designations ranging from low to medium density neighborhood to residential foothills and public open lands.
City staff is charged with making zoning recommendations to the Planning and Zoning Board who will make a recommendation to city council. A public meeting in the coming months will determine how the council will proceed. The council can choose a configuration presented by city staff, or direct city staff to present other plans. Once zoning on the land has been determined, a developer will be able to present a plan.
The PATHS organization favors creative thinking regarding this property including a public/private/philanthropic partnership, uses such as an outdoor educational center, artist colony, nature park, affordable workforce housing, options to limit cars and amenities to support access to and enjoyment of the Horsetooth Reservoir area. Reach PATHS at Facebook.com/PathsFoC