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Planners recommend recreation designation for parcel

The Boulder City Planning Commission recommended the City Council put 25 acres west of Walnut Drive on the city’s land management plan for recreational purposes. The move was approved 6-1 during the planners’ meeting Jan. 18.

The commission’s recommendation came with the conditions that an outdoor motor-sport complex would not be put on the land and the city allow a 3-acre or more setback for any possible expansion for the Boulder City Fire Department headquarters.

The proposal for the land’s use was made by Mayor Rod Woodbury at a council meeting in October.

City staff recommended the land be used for recreation, and the city has not seen interest from businesses to build there.

According to the Planning Commission’s staff report, the area around the 25 acres is designated mostly commercial, but the recommended area is an extension of 50 acres already designated recreational on the land management plan.

Members of the commission were supportive of the land designation but had a few reservations.

Ernest Biacsi, who was appointed to the commission by the council on Jan. 10, said recreational use is great but not without restrictions.

“This is pretty much a slam dunk as far as land use is concerned, but that does not mean we can’t put restrictions on it,” Biacsi said. “For example, I would not support any outdoor motor-vehicle track, and if you want my vote, then that needs to be a restriction.”

Commissioner Jim Giannosa said that restrictions on the land were not needed because the commission did not know if or when a business would be interested in it.

“How are we going to put restrictions on something when we have no idea what is going to be there,” Giannosa said. “The land management plan is meant to start a discussion on land use, so let’s start one without putting a bunch of restrictions on some unknown.”

Commission member Paul Matuska, the only nay vote, said the reason he wants restrictions is because there is nothing on the land yet.

“We have no idea what is going on with this land,” Matuska said. “The city has no plan for this land, and we are expected to recommend something that simply has the designation as recreational.”

City Council candidate Kiernan McManus agreed with Matuska, saying during the public comment portion of the meeting that he was a critic of the entire land management process.

“I have seen the process for the land management plan, and there is none,” McManus said. “It seems like with everyone of these proposals the city is just throwing around designations and the community can’t have a discussion because the city has no idea what they are doing with the land.”

The proposal will advance to the City Council to decide if it will be put on the land management plan.

In other actions, the commission:

■ Unanimously approved All Mountain Cyclery’s request for an outdoor bike display at its new building at 1601 Nevada Highway. The shop will feature a display of new bikes in the front of the store and a display of rentals in the back.

The zoning designation at the store’s new location is commercial manufacturing, which requires approval by the Planning Commission to have an outdoor display.

■ Voted Glenn Leavitt as the new chairman after he was nominated for the position by Giannosa.

Contact reporter Max Lancaster at mlancaster @bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow him on Twitter @MLancasterBCR.

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