Planning commission turns down Twin Lakes proposal
February 23, 2017
Last week, the Boulder County Planning Commission voted 5-4 to deny the proposed zoning change for the Twin Lakes area in Gunbarrel.
Opposition posited that the change violated the county’s comprehensive plan by allowing the City of Boulder to annex and change usage for roughly 20 acres of land that has long been considered open space by area residents.
Dave Rechberger, one of roughly 1,700 members of the Twin Lakes Action Group — who have been fighting this proposal for almost four years — said that they were obviously happy about the decision.
“The Twin Lakes Action Group is very pleased with the determination,” Rechberger said. “We especially want to thank the volunteers for the long hours and time they spent analyzing the facts and deliberating at meetings.”
Michelle Krezek of the Boulder County Commissioners' staff said that the commissioners "are very disappointed" with the Planning Commission's rejection of the change. Rechberger said that he doesn’t think this puts the issue to rest.
“I’m not sure this has all gone away completely,” Rechberger said. “But for now we’ve been successful in this juncture of the Boulder Valley comprehensive plan.”
Commissioners previously said that if it was a close vote at the planning commission, the issue would not be dropped completely.
“The owners of the land will likely continue to look for other solutions and move forward with their developments,” Rechberger said. “So we anticipate that this is one step out many that could be taken regarding further annexation that we’ll need to address.”
According to Rechberger, at the end of the meeting, land use County Attorney Kathy Sandoval said that this decision makes this specific proposal done.
“We’re not certain that’s the case,” Rechberger said. “It might still go to commissioners for another decision, we don’t know.
“I guess we’re relishing in a small victory for now. In trying to figure out this land use change process, we’ve broken new grounds on every front. I think there still is some uncertainty in what the next steps will be.”
Some of the ways that could make this issue continue include the comprehensive plan review cycle every five years, when a new application could be make to the planning commission.
Another is that the Boulder Valley School District and the Boulder Housing Authority as landowners can make an application whenever they want.
“They alluded to a few things in the meeting,” Rechberger said. “There are other mechanisms for annexation that can be brought to bear that would turn it into a different process.”
He said that these possibilities will not slow their resolve to keep the open space in the Twin Lakes area.
“We’re not (giving up the fight), we’re going to continue to prepare for what may come next,” Rechberger said. “We just don’t know what that is right now.
“The advantage that they have is time. There’s no constraint for them, it doesn’t have to break ground today.”
TLAG held a “victory” party last weekend to celebrate the decision.
“It’s just such a relief to wake up and not have this weighing on our shoulders,” Rechberger said. “We’re going to take a few deep breaths, enjoy a small victory and then we’ll get back at it.”