Letter to the Editor
August 9, 2018
To the Editor:
RE: Von’s Colorado Concepts Development on 2nd Ave.
We are residents of 3rd Ave. in Old Town Niwot and many of our homes border the alley corridor between the commercial zone on 2nd Ave. and our residential zone on 3rd. Many of us have lived on 3rd Ave. for over 30 years.
We read the article in the Courier regarding the mixed-use project proposed by Von’s Colorado Concepts on the parcels at 364 2nd Ave. and 376 2nd Ave. We were particularly struck by Von Eschen’s comment acknowledging neighbor’s concerns about “the alley situation,” namely privacy and traffic issues. Von Eschen goes on to state that the project “would maybe increase the number of trips in the area by 60 to 80 more per day once it’s complete.”
If Mr. Von Eschen is referring to trips up and down the alley for access to residential garages at the new development, that is 60 to 80 trips too many. This residentially zone alley has been historically used as a service alley with minimal traffic – it is not a street. With his estimate on the high side of 80 trips per day, that is a trip every 9 minutes in a twelve- hour period. We do not consider this “low impact.”
It is important to note that this alley is unmaintained by the County with a single access point on Franklin. The alley dead-ends behind Lefty’s Pizza. In addition, the alley is not engineered for two-way traffic. The alley is not able to satisfy the basic design criteria for two lane private access roads, as illustrated in the Boulder County Multimodal Standards. There are also critical public safety concerns with allowing regular two-way traffic in this alley, such as vehicles conflicting with garbage trucks backing down the alley, future alley deliveries to the rebuilt Colterra restaurant, and sight visibility issues with child/parent pedestrian and bicycle traffic on Franklin headed to the school bus stop on 3rd Ave., just to name a few.
Most Niwot residents have never been down this alley. We invite people to walk from the access point on Franklin to where the alley dead-ends behind Lefty’s Pizza and judge the impact of 60-80 trips per day for yourself.
This proposed alley traffic is not especially conducive to enjoying one’s backyard, experiencing any semblance of privacy or maintaining our property values. It is also contrary to the findings of the Niwot Alley Study (conducted by the County) that governed the design of The Slater Building (Treppeda’s Restaurant, etc.) and The Niwot Inn, which are accessed via 2nd Ave.
In addition to the alley issue, Von Eschen stated that his firm specializes in infill projects. We feel high density infill development is more appropriate for densely populated urban areas and inappropriate for our small two-block downtown. We are also concerned that the development may be skewed to mostly residential units with a smaller ratio of retail/commercial space. Niwot is not a bedroom community!
We encourage Niwot residents to stay tuned to this project. Let’s all make sure that this development design compliments Niwot’s charming semi-rural character, that the intended mixed use serves the community as a whole, and that the design respects the rights of adjacent property owners.
Mike Selak & Victoria Keen
Tom & Stephanie Taylor
Mark & Kellie Beran
Dave & Tracey Snow
Andrew Schrader & Lane Landrith
Karen & Gerry Lumpe
Alexandra & David Dango
Bruce Rabeler & Liz Gould
Melissa & Liam Breslin
Kim & Jim Kalinski