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Council updates strategic plan; rezoning request coming up


Last updated 3/2/2021 at 10:50am | View PDF

The Fountain City Council will consider a request to rezone a portion of open land to multi-family residential next week.

The Fountain City Council voted last Tuesday to adopt several revisions to the city's Strategic Plan, including goals for a possible regional recreation center.

The previous goal as written before was rescinded completely and replaced with the revision, which states:

"No later than June 1, 2021, the City Parks and Recreation Director will initiate discussions with developers on creating options for various recreation venues, dispersed throughout the Fountain community. The City Parks and Recreation Director will provide an update to City Council and the public on the results of those discussions no later than November 2021."

Officials noted that this revision merely instructs staff to pursue various options, but it does not mean a large regional recreation facility is no longer a possibility.

"It's being put on hold, and we're also looking at other options that may be out there," Mayor Gabe Ortega said. "The rec facility is not off the table, it's just on hold while we look at other options and, hopefully, we can come back to it."

About a year ago the city and a citizen-led advisory committee began a push to identify funding options for the rec center, which was proposed to be built on open land south of the intersection of Sneffels Street and Cross Creek Avenue.

Organizers said they anticipated asking Fountain voters for a mill levy increase to help fund the construction of the facility, estimated around $25-30 million, as well as ongoing upkeep. But when COVID-19 struck and people started to lose work, it was decided that such a request was off the table for 2020 and 2021.

Council Member Sharon Thompson noted that everyone involved still wants a recreation facility, but asking for a tax increase during a pandemic was not going to happen.

"We're not stopping it, we're just putting it on hold; we go at it from a different way," Thompson said. "We all want the big, expensive building, but maybe right now is not the right time. I'm really thankful we don't have to clean and maintain a big empty building right now that nobody can use. ... Timing was bad, but it's better before we started breaking ground on it."

Council members encouraged the public to share ideas for alternatives or other creative ways to implement more recreation options.

The changes are a result of a City Council work session on Jan. 30 where council members and staff reviewed a number of topics.

Other updates include:

Transportation infrastructure: By Sept. 1, 2021, the city manager will report to City Council and the public regarding Single Hauler Waste Removal options within the city's jurisdiction. These options will be presented pending completion of a comprehensive study of municipal needs and multiple opportunities for public input and feedback. City Council will provide guidance to city staff based on these options.

Recreation: No Later than Dec. 31, 2021, the Parks and Recreation Director will complete renovations of the Fountain Skate Park at Metcalfe Park in order to enhance access, capacity and availability of this recreation venue to the Fountain community.

In other business, the council approved on first reading an ordinance amending the city code section on tobacco to prohibit sale of cigarettes or other tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. City Attorney Troy Johnson said this simply aligns with current federal law and that this particular section of the city's code was not updated when the section on liquor underwent a similar revision.

The council also approved on second reading to add a definition for "carport" to the Zoning Code. Rules concerning carports were amended in June 2019, but this action does not affect those. The specific definition of carport was inadvertently left out during a 2020 Zoning Code update.

The council also voted to appoint one new member – Erika Alanis – to the Economic Development Commission, and reappoint incumbents Phyllis Baez and Dan Osinski to additional terms.

Next week's agenda

Coming up at next week's meeting, March 9, the council will consider a rezoning request for a large area of empty land immediately west of Walgreens, Mister Car Wash and Black Bear Diner. Currently zoned Regional Commercial (RC), it is being proposed for Multi-Family (MF) District – allowing for apartments.

"The property is generally located at the southeast corner of Mesa Ridge Parkway and a future southern extension of Metropolitan," said Fountain Planning Technician Melanie Estrada. Currently, Metropolitan Road runs from Fontaine Boulevard down through Widefield, ending at Athletic Avenue and Security Fire Station 2.

According to a public notice in the Feb. 17 Legal Notices section of this newspaper, the request is by Kimley-Horn on behalf of Thompson Thrift Development Inc., doing business as Watermark – a company that bills itself as "a national leader in the development, construction and management of upscale apartment communities and luxury leased homes across the country."

This request includes portions of two tracts of land stretching from just south of Mesa Ridge Parkway all the way down to Mesa Road, and from the back access road behind Walgreens and neighboring businesses across the existing open land toward Syracuse Street.

Currently, crews are doing site work on the west side of Syracuse relating to utility installation and preparation for new businesses including a Maverik convenience store, a Quick Quack Car Wash and a Discount Tire within what is being called the Mesa Ridge Crossing Development.

The March 9 meeting will be held in person at City Hall with limited capacity; the meeting also will be accessible online via webinar, allowing the public to ask questions or make comments. See for City Council agenda and login details.


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