By Sandy Barnes
Residents protested changes to the original plat in the Cottages at Berthoud Village that would increase the overall density of units in the subdivision, during a public hearing at the Thursday, Aug. 27 planning and zoning commission meeting.
Developer Dave Sitzman of the Sitzman Property Management requested changes to the building envelopes in the subdivision, which would permit construction of five more multi-family units in Bein Village than originally planned. The gross density of the development would change from 9.09 units per acre to 10.38 and the square footage per residence would decrease from 4,789 to 4,190. Sitzman said the changes would make the property more marketable by adding two-car garages to the new units on the 11-acre property where 35 units were initially planned.
Resident Dana Foley said that the development is packed with homes already and questioned the ability of firefighting equipment to get into it in the event of an emergency, if additional units were built. Other residents expressed concerns about increased traffic and a possible impact on property values of their homes.
“It’s a tight site, no doubt about it, Town planner Tim Katers remarked. However, he said that the changes to the easements in the subdivision were “very minor” and the there were no issues with emergency vehicle access reported by the fire department or the town engineer during their review. Katers also explained that the property is zoned R-3 and that the Town’s present development code does not have a range for density in its regulations.
After hearing testimony and the staff report, members of the planning and zoning commission unanimously approved the requested changes to the plat, with some expressing reservations. “I’m struggling with this,” Chairman Chris Thorne said before voting. “We have to rely on professionals and Town code,” he remarked.
“The people who came tonight had some valid concerns,” said member Jim Doyle.
During a brief study session after the subdivision hearing, planning board members reviewed the establishment of a conveyance plat in Berthoud. Katers said he had talked with Longmont planner Don Burdette to get information about it.
The request for a conveyance plat is tied to the Ludlow Farms plan for industrial and commercial development and would permit the sale of parcels within it.
“My way of thinking is the reason for doing a conveyance plat is in the title,” said Katers. “I don’t know that it would make things go faster.” There are not development rights attached to it, he explained. A building permit for property cannot be issued until a final plat is approved and filed, according to provisions of the Town development code.
Planning commission members asked how the conveyance plat has been used by other municipalities and about the pros and cons of it.
“We would need some positive reason to do this,” said Thorne.