Ortiz explained, “is to create jobs and be a sales tax generator.”
The exact boundaries of the area in question are still a little nebulous, as are the final permitted uses by right and conditional uses. But the boundaries and uses each become a little clearer with each passing PCDC meeting, workshop, and public hearing. Deputy Clerk Jacque Watson, who has been involved in the process from the start, says right now the zone only includes the old railroad right of way property, but its safe to say that it may one day include both sides of the highway from about U-Pump-It, east to the Madhava Honey warehouse. The zone is seen as a tool to enhance annexation of properties into the Town of Lyons, and shape the kind of growth and development in an area that has been dubbed “the gateway area” to the community. But, it was pointed out, by a number of Commissioners a number of times, properties wishing to annex into the Town need not necessarily do so under the CEC zone.
In addition to protecting the riparian corridor (river bank areas) and making housing an accessory use (no tract or high density housing developments) the topic that was most on the minds of the wide variety of residents (they ranged from permaculture farmers concerned with health of the land and sustainability of the community, to proud developers of Wal-Mart projects in other parts of the state) was “formula businesses.”
The term, as defined by Commissioner Roger Flynn, is essentially a euphemism for franchise restaurants or chain stores. It would not pertain to family owned/run operations with multiple locations like La Mariposa, Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ and Taphouse, or Oskar Blues, but would be more aimed at places with a national or international scope.
Some of the speakers embraced the concept of making such formula businesses a conditional use, whose appropriateness could be decided by future Boards of Trustees on a case by case basis as attitudes changed from decade to decade. Others talked to the importance of maintaining the “small town character” and “uniqueness” of Lyons, and felt that not allowing formula businesses would be the right way to go. Still others felt that sentiment smacked of “elitism” and sounded like “something Boulder would do,” nor was it exactly “businesses friendly.” The developer reasoned that the restrictions were “vague,” “arbitrary,” would create “uncertainty,” “filled with fear,” and might lead to legal problems down the line.
There was about a ten-minute kerfuffle trying to decide if the public hearing was closed or open, whether or not to read certain or all emails into the record, and if so who should read them and which ones would be read, or just to make them part of the record without reading them. After that was settled to everyone’s satisfaction, a motion was made to pass the ordinance on to the Board of Trustees (BOT) with a few small tweaks here and there and a recommendation. The BOT will have a first reading at their May 16 meeting, and a second reading and public hearing at their meeting on June 6.
In the only other business on the agenda, the Commissioners agreed to send the Whipp annexation proposal to the BOT with a positive recommendation for approval.