By Sandy Barnes
While looking for ways to revise the Town’s development code, the Board of Trustees discussed two options at the Tuesday, Jan. 6 meeting. The primary complaint about the existing development code is the contradictory information in it, said Town Administrator Jim White.
The choices Planner Tim Katers presented were the Colorado Model Land Use Code and the innovative Smart Code.
The difference between the two codes, which would be the basis for revising Berthoud’s, lies in approach and volume. The state code developed as a template for small towns like Berthoud is more than 300 pages and includes a traditional framework for zoning and development guidelines. The 58-page Smart Code uses form-based transect zoning, ranging from natural and rural to urban, as the core basis for directing development.
While Katers said the planning and zoning commission gravitated toward the Smart Code as an efficient format, Trustee Glen Buckingham favored the traditional state version. “My general feeling is that the model code seems to have more content,” Buckingham said. The Smart Code seems to have “missing teeth,” especially in its lack of essential architectural guidelines, he said.
Buckingham also said he was pleased that Katers had experience in working with the state model to implement codes for other towns like Hayden.
“Why wouldn’t architectural standards be brought into the Smart Code?” asked Trustee Jeff Hindman, who suggested that elements of both options could be used in creating a workable version for Berthoud.
“The Smart Code seems to be more academic and the model code more practical,” said Mayor Pro Tem David Gregg. “Is it too dysfunctional to fix the current code?” he asked.
Katers said it would probably be easier to adopt the model code and then tailor it to the Town’s needs than revise the present one. The one he developed for Hayden took about a year to complete, he added.
“I want information access for developers and do not want to hog-tie them in terms of creative juices,” said Mayor Tom Patterson.
During their first meeting of the year, the Board of Trustees also reviewed a report from Town Attorney Bruce Fickel on the effectiveness of the juvenile detention room for young offenders. The room is used for youths under the age of 18 charged with assault, theft and alcohol and drug use.
According to the results of a survey done on the use of the detention room, Fickel said that the biggest complaint was that the youngsters didn’t do anything while there.
“I want them to be bored,” said Fickel. “It’s supposed to be punishment . . . We don’t have money to rehabilitate kids,” he added.
Fickel also explained that the detention is voluntary, and that the door to the room is unlocked. “We’ve consistently put every kid that’s been in a fight in this room” at a cost of $10 a day, he said.
Berthoud Police Chief Glenn Johnson said he thought the juvenile detention room is an effective program. “To have a child sitting there for three days is a good thing,” he said.
Officers who arrest youngsters have the discretion of referring them to the detention room, or the state court in Fort Collins where repeat offenders usually go, Johnson added.