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Land under filtration plant now designated ‘park’

The city property housing the former water filtration plant, Reflections Park and the community gardens is now officially zoned as a park.

City Council unanimously approved rezoning the 1.92 acre property at 300 Railroad Ave. to government park at its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 11. Previously, it was zoned neighborhood commercial despite being used as a park for years.

The council’s decision went against an earlier recommendation by the Planning Commission to keep the zoning the same.

The majority of the residents attending the meeting expressed a desire for it to be available for public use.

“I think it’s important for the community to keep that a park and have the water filtration building a public building,” said Frances Meyer, who lives across the street.

Resident Mary Anne Ray said she and her neighbors have been frustrated about the possibility of the property being used commercially.

“It should not be commercial at all,” she said. “It should be a government thing for people to enjoy.”

“As a homeowner and grandfather of four children who love parks, we ask that corrective zoning be put into place,” added Britt West.

Some residents, however, expressed a desire to keep the property neighborhood commercial.

Resident Grant Turner said he had gathered a petition with several hundred people who disagreed with the rezoning including 28 business owners.

“I’m not here to argue the highest and best use of the water treatment building,” he said. “I’m here to argue who should be making that decision. … I challenge the mayor and the council that the people on this side of the podium should be making that decision, and … the residents of Boulder City should be allowed to vote.”

Cokie Booth said she agreed with Turner and also said the building was beautiful but had fallen into disrepair.

“You have community gardens there,” she said. “You have Reflections Park, but you don’t have restrooms. … Somebody has to come up with a plan.”

During the discussion, Community Development Director Michael Mays said new zoning for the park would only allow for recreational uses. Any additional uses could be allowed through text amendments.

“I think it’s important to know that this is being treated like a park,” said Councilwoman Claudia Bridges.

Councilwoman Tracy Folda said she thought property fulfilled the requirements to be rezoned.

“This should have been done a very, very long time ago,” she said.

Councilman James Howard Adams said the property was zoned a park in the master plan and has been used that way for a number of years.

Mayor Kiernan McManus referred to the minutes from the Feb. 22, 1994, council meeting when the members approved Teddy Fenton’s proposal for Reflections Park that included renovations to the water filtration building.

“Twenty-six years ago it was approved as a park by the City Council and nothing happened. … 1984 was when the federal government gave Boulder City this property,” he said. “We’ve waited long enough for this change to be made. It’s a simple straightforward change that accurately depicts the use of the property.”

McManus also expressed his displeasure with how the Planning Commission handled the rezoning request at its meeting in January. In a 4-2 vote, the commissioners recommended the property stay neighborhood commercial.

“I’ve been to enough Planning Commission meetings to know that it’s the same stuff over and over again,” he said. “Don’t talk about what the application is. Bring up stuff that doesn’t matter.”

He said the commissioners need to understand that they are supposed to apply the existing laws rather than offer their opinions, which he called “political punditry.”

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

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