Paonia Town Council approved the preliminary application and plat review for the proposed Riverbank Neighborhood Major Subdivision following a lengthy public hearing.
The decision to approve developer Ivo Renkema’s modified plan from the original 50 units to 15 off Price Road was made during the town’s regular meeting on April 27. The development map shows 15 lots, however one lot is dedicated to open green space.
Town Administrator Corinne Ferguson said Renkema requested two specific variances from the planning commission and town board. The first variance request to extend the length of the road from 500 feet to 1,700 feet was approved.
“A typical dead end road with a cul de sac by code is 500 feet, the proposed road is for 1,700 feet. The board approved the variance for the length of the road with the relocation of the emergency turn around to a location that was closer to the 500 feet, that’s actually more centrally located along the 1,700 foot road,” Ferguson said.
The second variance was to eliminate the installation of sidewalk, curb and gutters in the development plan. That variance was flatly denied.
The board also stipulated that the development could not move forward beyond Phase One. The developer currently has water and sewer taps for the first two lots. Ferguson said they can proceed to develop those two lots without violating the water tap moratorium.
The water moratorium, passed during a special election in 2020, prohibits tap purchases for the other 13 lots as well as the extension of the main line water to serve the additional water taps. Accordingly Phase Two development is subject to water tap availability in the future.
“It was noted that there is no priority preference given to the development for water taps should they become available,” Ferguson said, referring to the current water tap moratorium.
Ferguson said the preliminary plan was also approved contingent upon an updated Subdivision Improvement Agreement (SIA) to be hammered out between the town and the developer. The agreement will include a bond requirement for the cost and implementation of the street, sidewalk, curb and gutters.
“That cost will be determined by the town’s independent engineering firm. We will then meet with the applicant to go over those modifications and have the new SIA drafted in the next couple of weeks,” Ferguson said.
Zoning was a big issue for both the board and the public. The original 50-unit subdivision was annexed in 2006 under R2 or multi-family units.
“The board moved to begin the process to rezone from R2- “medium density” to R1 -“low density” single family residential so the lots would only be eligible for R1 development with one single family residence at this time,” Ferguson said.
Clarifying where the Riverbank subdivision stands following the public hearing Ferguson said, “So, this is preliminary approval by the board. The final plat approval will be the updated map which shows where they will install the sidewalk, curb and gutter. The updated plat will also show the new location of the emergency turn around. The SIA also has to occur and then it will go back to the board.”
Ferguson said once the final plat is approved, real development can begin. She emphasized that everything going forward hinges on the updated subdivision improvement agreement.
“They can’t start developing or do anything until that SIA is approved,” she said, reiterating that the SIA is between the town and the developer/applicant.
Ferguson said there was some confusion during the public hearing over the terms she provided in the packet. It was clear that some board members and members of the public were unclear if the board’s action was granting final or preliminary approval for the subdivision.
“It was a terminology issue with what I wrote,” said Ferguson, during board deliberation. “Ultimately it is the final review of the application as it was submitted but they will have to come back with the final plat for the approval with all the variances and modifications made by the board.”
(For additional information see: “ Paonia revisits Riverbank Neighborhood” published June 10, 2020)