Fort Collins City Council discusses I-25 interchange improvement, marijuana licensing

Matthew Bailey

Fort Collins City Council gathered Tuesday to discuss 14 issues ranging from road and intersection improvements to city-owned land leasing.

Funding for improvements to the I-25/Prospect Interchange and marijuana licensing were the two topics councilmembers and citizens elaborated on the most during the meeting. According to councilmembers, the Prospect Interchange serves as a critical gateway to both Fort Collins and Timnath.

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“This is a continuation of the conversation we’ve been having for almost two years now,” said Mark Jackson, deputy director of planning, development and transportation for the city of Fort Collins. “Starting in 2016, we’ve been working very closely with council, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the town of Timnath and the private property interests.”

The improvements to the Prospect Interchange will cost $31 million, Jackson said during a presentation to councilmembers and residents. The CDOT cost of these improvements is $12 million. The City cost, which factors in $8.5 million each to property owners and the city of Fort Collins as well as a pending $2.5 million to the town of Timnath, will amount to $19 million.

If these improvements are constructed along with the current expansion of the I-25, the estimated savings would be $7 million.

“The requests set in front of you tonight are a resolution of proving a binding agreement with the interchange property owners and a resolution to proving service plans for the I-25/Prospect Interchange Metro District and then resolutions of proving service plans for three of the four corners in the interchange,” Jackson said.

Jackson explained that this project offers a chance to correct the aging infrastructure of the interchange and the traffic congestion that accumulates at peak travel times.

Marijuana licensing was another huge issue presented at the meeting, especially amongst residents who voiced their concerns to councilmembers.

One resident explained his frustration regarding past decisions on marijuana licensing, and said voters should not be allowed to enable councilmembers to make decisions that are prohibited by the city charter, opposing any new proposed advancements to marijuana licensing.

In response to this, Councilmember Ross Cunniff explained that there were never any decisions regarding marijuana licensing that changed city code.

“I personally don’t believe that this action would violate the charter,” Cunniff said. “I deny categorically any attempt or intent to violate the charter with these actions or other actions.”

Mayor Wade Troxell further explained that the purpose of discussing marijuana licensing.

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“This isn’t really to update old laws, it’s really to come into alignment with some of the state statutes that have changed over the years,” Troxell said.

Councilmembers ultimately passed the motion of regulating medical marijuana businesses to align medical marijuana provisions to state law rules and regulations.

Not only did city councilmembers and citizens discuss several topics during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, but they said goodbye to Emily Allen, the senior city planner for neighborhoods, who will be moving to Flagstaff, Arizona. Marcy Yoder will be taking her place as the new neighborhood services manager.

Collegian news reporter Matt Bailey can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @matnes1999.