Low-density zoning recommended for Hughes Stadium land

Samantha Ye

In a deviation from staff, the Fort Collins Planning and Zoning board is recommending a low-density residential zoning for the Hughes Stadium site.

The board rejected a recommendation from City staff to split the zoning, which was to have the eastern half be a Low Density Mixed-Use Neighborhood District and the western half a Residential Foothills district. Instead, the board voted 4-2 to make the entire area an RF district, which is for lower density residential areas and more open space, according to City code.

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This marks a small victory for residents who have been concerned about developer Lennar’s proposal to build 600 to 700 homes on the land.

In my view, what that does is it starts the negotiations with the developer on how to cluster and how to use that site relative to issues like … less density closer to the Foothills.”-Michael Hobbs, Planning and Zoning board member 

Out of the dozens of residents who attended the rezoning meeting, a number of them listed their grievances with the 600-home proposal. 

Since the site is more isolated in west Fort Collins, residents pointed out anyone who lives in the new developments will have to drive for most services, increasing sprawl, congestion and safety concerns in the event of fires or floods.

“Community safety needs to rank well above land use code regarding zoning consistency, continuity or contextual densities, and certainly over historical precedence,” said resident Anna Goldetsky. 

City staff said, assuming 600 single family homes, there would be 6,000 vehicle trips per day coming from the area, and that Poudre Fire Authority believes access is adequate for emergencies.

Rather than housing, residents recommended other more unique community uses for the area such as a community center or development for those with dementia. 

“Ask yourself, do if you want to contribute to high density housing on the face of our beloved Foothills and Horsetooth Reservoir…or do you want the legacy to be one of world-class innovation and creativity, creating a unique setting worthy of an award-winning city?” said Mary Grant, member of Planning Actions to Transform Hughes Sustainably.

Resident speaks before Fort Collins Planning and Zoning Board
One of several residents associated with Planning Actions to Transform Hughes Sustainably speaks before the Fort Collins Planning and Zoning board about the rezoning of Hughes Stadium site. (Collegian | Samantha Ye)

Board chairman Jeff Hansen and vice chairman Jeff Schneider voted against the full RF rezoning. They said it was too limiting on the possible housing options at a time when the City is in need of attainable housing. 

The remaining members voted in favor, some citing similar concerns the residents brought up like access to services and density. 

“In my view, what that does is it starts the negotiations with the developer on how to cluster and how to use that site relative to issues like … less density closer to the Foothills,” said member Michael Hobbs.   

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Hobbs emphasized that the RF designation is a good starting point to work for the community while not taking away the rights of CSU and Lennar’s private land ownership.

Colorado State University sold the property to Lennar in October 2018. 

Typically, developers submit for a zoning designation they feel would fit their development goals, but City Council took the unusual step of initiating the rezoning themselves

The City has since hosted a neighborhood meeting about the rezoning and now the P&Z board decision will be brought back to Council who will make the final decision. They will take into account the board’s and staff’s decisions but could ignore them both.

That item is currently scheduled for the Nov. 5 Council meeting.

Samantha Ye can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @samxye4.