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Council revisits possible land sale

City Council is seeking ideas about how to develop more than 40 acres of land near the Boulder Creek Golf Club.

“The reason that I wanted to bring this out again is I wanted to have a new, fresh start. … For some reason, real estate is booming right now and this may be the time to readdress this issue,” said Councilwoman Judy Hoskins at Tuesday’s, Nov. 10, City Council meeting.

Voters approved selling tract 350, an approximately 45-acre parcel adjacent to the northeast portion of the golf course and south of Adams Boulevard, with a ballot question in the 2010 general election.

According to the staff report, tract 350 was rezoned in 2015 for homes with minimum lot sizes of 7,000 square feet, 10,000 square feet and 15,000 square feet. It was added to the city’s land management process in 2016 and appraised at $373,000 an acre or approximately $16.7 million for the entire parcel.

“I believe these requirements restricted developers and, as a result, the city never received any proposals,” said Hoskins. “My theory is to start fresh and to allow the developer to develop. And also allow them to submit as many proposals as they want. I suggest the criteria includes only what is required to meet city standards and not be restrictive as it has been in the past.”

A request for proposal was sent out in 2016 but no bids were received. Staff consulted with homebuilders at the time, who said the two primary reasons for the lack of interest was the appraisal value and zoning. The requirements included what kind of perimeter walls could be used, the type of street lights, amount of green space and the inclusion of “visual corridors” to the golf course.

Councilwoman Tracy Folda agreed and said the minimum standards and the previous zoning “really narrowed the scope of who would consider the project.”

“Basically, it brought that down to zero,” she said.

Councilman James Howard Adams said he thought a “little more” leniency was good, but he didn’t “want to go so far as to just completely open it up.”

“I do think there is a certain quality that we are looking for in this community,” he said. “There are certain aspects that people come to expect, and I’d hate to have work be done, only to turn it down if they’re just coming at us with let’s pack in as many homes as we possibly can.”

He also said he’d personally like to see some smaller homes be included that could be purchased by smaller families who are looking to purchase their first house.

Mayor Kiernan McManus said he was concerned about the storm drain system in the area, as all the water from Boulder Hills Estates is “shunted” out onto Bristlecone Drive.

“I think that’s a major factor that any developer is going to look at it and say, ‘Well, who’s going to pay for that? Is it going to be the city or is it going to be the developer that pays for it?” he said.

To solicit more ideas from developers, council unanimously approved having staff draft criteria for future requests for information. The ideas would include possibilities for all or part of the parcel. The criteria will be brought back to council in the near future.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, council approved hiring GovHR USA to recruit a new city attorney and city manager. The firm was founded 19 years ago in Illinois by Heidi Voorhees and Joellen Cademartori and works all over the country.

The recruitment package approved by council includes five phases that are expected to take 12 weeks to complete and costs $47,000 total for both positions.

The phases are on-site interviews and brochure development; advertising, candidate recruitment and outreach; candidate evaluation and background screening; presentation of recommended candidates, interview process and additional background screening; and appointment of candidate.

Additionally, if the appointed candidate leaves the job within the first 12 months after being hired, GovHR will conduct one more recruitment for just the cost of expenses and advertisements. That cost is approximately $4,000 per recruitment. The request must be made within six months of the employee’s departure.

Council also approved having Folda and McManus serve as liaisons between the city and GovHR.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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