IGA-19-0001: Proposed Replacement of the Nederland Area Boulder County Comprehensive Development Plan

IGA-19-0001: Proposed Replacement of the Nederland Area Boulder County Comprehensive Development Plan

Proposed Nederland Planning Area IGA Map

Background

The current Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the Town of Nederland and Boulder County does not allow for the town to expand geographically through property owner initiated annexation without an amendment to the IGA. As the town has evolved it is exploring options to expand its boundaries to help provide limited development opportunities, especially for affordable housing, and address possible water quality concerns by being able to provide water and sewer service to existing development.

In 2014 the Town of Nederland referred an annexation petition to Boulder County for review and action pertaining to annexation of the “Evans property” (also referred to as “Aspen Trails” and more recently the “Bobcat Ridge Development”)(1). This prompted the county to open Docket IGA-14-0001 to process the IGA amendment required for the annexation to proceed. The Boulder County Planning Commission recommended denial in a hearing on December 16, 2014. At a hearing on March 5, 2015 the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) put the docket on hold. They expressed specific concerns with the proposed development and suggested looking at the issues more comprehensively, including looking at the IGA more broadly.

Since that annexation proposal, Boulder County staff and Town of Nederland representatives have met to discuss broader development plans and to address concerns in a comprehensive manner to help bring predictability to the growth of the area over the next 10-15 years. County staff also met with the “Bobcat Ridge” developer in the fall of 2016 to review BOCC’s concerns and discuss a path forward. Discussion between town representatives and county staff resulted in development of draft updates to the IGA to address a range of topics. Parties involved in negotiating the IGA on behalf of the town and county worked through multiple iterations of the draft, and Nederland’s Board of Trustees discussed these matters at meetings throughout the past year and a half.

Status and Next Steps

The draft IGA is currently under consideration by the Town of Nederland. The Town’s Board of Trustees and Planning Commission have discussed the IGA and gathered input from the public at several meetings (see “Past Public Meetings” below). After Nederland gains approval by the Town of Nederland it will be taken to the Boulder County Planning Commission for recommendation, then to Boulder County Board of County Commissioners for approval.

Documents and Maps

Current Versions

Past Versions

Public Meetings

Nederland Board of Trustees meeting, Sept. 17, 2019

The Nederland Board of Trustees will discuss the annexation threshold for an election. It is expected the Nederland Planning Commission will discuss this topic and review the latest version of the IGA at their September 25 meeting.
Date: Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Nederland Community Center

County and Nederland-hosted meetings and hearing will be posted as scheduled. View the Town of Nederland website for information on town meetings and hearings.

Past Public Meetings

Summary of Key IGA Update Discussion Points

The draft amended IGA incorporates the Town of Nederland’s goals identified for the IGA update (2), Boulder County staff’s efforts to address BOCC’s previously expressed concerns related to Docket IGA-14-0001, and current land use planning priorities.

Municipal Influence Area / Primary Planning Area (PPA)

The Town of Nederland expressed an interest in the ability to annex developed parcels adjacent to the current municipal boundary. Annexation would need to comply with state statute which, except in some limited circumstances, requires a property owner to initiate and apply for annexation. The town’s water and sewer infrastructure has the capacity to accommodate additional service area, and connection to the town’s services would eliminate individual on-site waste water systems which would benefit water quality in the area. Recognizing the town’s long-held interest in maintaining its unique character, and that additional development would have impacts on wildlife (e.g., elk migration), transportation, and the environment, the draft IGA reflects limited expansion of the area eligible for annexation. The draft includes parcel-specific language for the properties that would become eligible for annexation. For those properties the draft IGA places limits on additional residential density. These limits generally align with current levels of density allowed on those properties. Exceptions include PPA 3a and 3b in the draft IGA.

In addition to the areas noted in the IGA (Areas 1-7), parties discussed including in the PPA the Whispering Pines subdivision (Tungsten Road, Horseshoe Place, and Switzerland Trail area west of SH 119). Whispering Pines contains single-family development on steeply sloping forested parcels which creates extreme wildfire risk and limited access. Although the Town of Nederland has capacity to serve some of the existing development in the area with water and sewer service the potential for annexation of Whispering Pines subdivision has not been fully vetted. Further studies, community involvement, and discussion are necessary before adding this area to the PPA, and as a result will not be included with this current amendment.

Affordable Housing

The draft commits the town and county to “seek ways to implement its land use and development regulations in a manner that reflects the community values of diverse housing choice and affordability.” In the case of PPA 3a, the draft includes language specifying that 50% of the units be deed-restricted affordable.

Wildlife and Natural Hazards

The draft highlights the importance of coordinated town-county planning efforts to minimize impacts on wildlife associated with any new development, as well as planning to mitigate risks associated with natural hazards with an emphasis on wildfires. The IGA would also require completion of a 3rd party wildlife study to address cumulative impacts of potential future development in the area. Any future development in PPAs 3, 4 and 5 would need to be compatible with the study recommendations.

Road Annexation

Annexations need to include the entire right of way of the county road, and Nederland will take responsibility for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the roads. If the Bobcat Ridge property is annexed, it would affect CR130 (adjacent to Bobcat Ridge/Nederland High School) and Ridge Road.

Term

The current IGA went into effect in March, 2002 with a 20 year term. The draft IGA reflects an expiration date of 2032, 10 years from the current 2022 expiration date.

Amendment Procedures and Referral Timing

The draft IGA includes changes to streamline amendment procedures, ensure timely responses to referrals, and establish clear procedures for processing amendments. The current IGA requires a five-step process for amending the IGA to approve annexations including: recommendations from both the town and county planning commissions, approval by the Board of Trustees and BOCC, and a vote of the town electorate. In contrast, the draft amended IGA includes a Primary Planning Area (PPA) within which annexation can occur with no amendment to the IGA or decision role for the county, and no vote of the town electorate. Future annexations would still need to adhere to state annexation requirements, including a public noticing requirement and a referral or Annexation Impact Report for annexations over 10 acres to the county for comment. The draft IGA includes a 30 day referral period.

Endnotes

  1. Referred by Town of Nederland Board of Trustees Resolution 2014-14.
  2. At the December 19, 2017 Town of Nederland Board of Trustees meeting four main goals were considered for the IGA update: 1) reduction of emissions, wildfire prevention, and preservation of the rural mountain character; 2) clarification of the rules for annexation and autonomy for the Town regarding zoning and building projects, especially within town limits; 3) increased opportunities for people living on the town limits borders to be involved in the town’s policy making; 4) improved standards for intelligent developments and densification. Additional goals and objectives are noted in the town’s staff packet for the January 18, 2018 Board of Trustees meeting.
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