Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

Letters to the Editor (Feb. 12)

Series: Letters to the Editor | Story 8

February 12, 2020 | View PDF

Dear Editor,

The “Niwot Incorporation Committee” has presented the results of an investigation into the feasibility of incorporating the town of Niwot on their website at niwotstudy.com. In reviewing the information presented on that website, it is clear that the only issues that might form a basis for consideration in an incorporation attempt are those identified in the “Options for Niwot” item on the web page. Those issues are: 1) “Solve the roads problem” and 2) “Improve business vitality.”

Of the two “Issues that need to be addressed,” the roads problem is the only tangible issue. Further reading on the website reveals that the committee has no clear plan to solve the “roads problem” without encumbering the “town of Niwot” with both property tax increases, a new sales tax, and bond debt that would last through 2042. Also note that payment of bond interest and principal does not appear to be planned for in the “Draft Budget.”

Alternative efforts toward a solution to the roads problem already underway by the “Subdivision Paving Coalition” (https://sites.google.com/view/spc-web/spc-home) or any other alternatives to incorporation are unmentioned and unaddressed by the study. in the “Community Input” survey the committee is careful to distinguish “Subdivision roads maintained and repaired by Town of Niwot” (no mention of a tax increase) from “Subdivision road reconstruction funded by county tax increase,” making a clear distinction between maintenance & repair vs. reconstruction, which is the root of the existing problem in the first place.

The second issue, “Improving Business Vitality” not only cannot be quantified or eventually measured in any objective sense, it depends on the “Town of Niwot” allowing development of “underutilized vacant space and underdeveloped properties…” under rezoning and building regulation by the “Town of Niwot.” Further, there is no mention of the fact that Niwot Rural Community District (NRCD), the Niwot Historic District, and the Niwot LID would no longer be effective in controlling the type of development that could occur in Niwot.

One must also ask how business vitality could increase while shouldering the additional burden of increased property taxes (commercial property already pays a disproportionate share) and the addition of a new 3.5% sales tax. Currently, businesses choose to come to Niwot specifically because there is no city sales tax and property taxes are lower than in any incorporated city in the county. It can be argued that incorporation would reduce the vitality of the local business community rather than resulting in any improvement.

A reasoned overall evaluation of the information offered on the study’s website shows that there is no discernable reason to incorporate Niwot and burden the residents with additional property and sales taxes as well as a 20-year bond. It is also very easy to deduce that the only advantage incorporation would provide to anyone would be to some developers (half of the investigation committee members), with the expense and overhead paid for by the local residents in perpetuity while suffering the collateral damage to the community caused by minimally controlled development.

I urge everyone residing in the targeted area to visit the study website, read the information presented there very carefully, fill out the survey (at least the comment section) and let the incorporation study committee know that incorporating Niwot does not fit with common sense.

Dave Mateer, Niwot Resident since 1988.


Dear Editor,

“Niwot isn’t broken, don’t fix it” couldn’t be further from the truth. I like the eyeball test - what do I see? I see fewer businesses than there were 5 years ago. I see retailers complaining that they are struggling. My eyeballs tell me that those who are speaking out about “don’t change Niwot” seem to be avoiding the fact that Niwot has been changing for quite some time...in a less viable way. Continuing on this path will only lead to more retail businesses closing.

The Boulder County Commissioners have stated, on record, that they don’t know what they are doing when it comes to Niwot. One of the commissioners stated that we “should do what Louisville did and incorporate.” I was at that meeting, saw it with my eyeballs and heard it with my ears. Personally, I’d much rather be in a position where the people of Niwot collectively decide what’s best for Niwot and not 3 county commissioners who don’t live here and have stated that they don’t know what they are doing.

LHVC has put a lot out now regarding the cons of self rule. I think it’s time for LHVC to sit down with the Niwot self rule study team and hear the other side of the story. Report on the pro side of the story and serve the entire Niwot community. Self rule means just that. All Niwot residents in charge of Niwot. We are 1.5% of Boulder County. We can never vote out a commissioner. Under self rule, we’re 4,500 residents that would have a vote and a say that actually matters. That scenario seems far less risky to me than BoCo commissioners whose stated objective is to provide high-density affordable housing. They are converting 10 acres of tax-payer funded, deeded open space in Twin Lakes to build 280 apartments. Deeded open space! Visit http://www.tlag.org for more info on that. Read between the lines here! Where’s open space? Gunbarrel and Niwot. If you don’t think Niwot is next, your eyes are wide shut. The only way to protect Niwot is to move to self rule and be ahead of this highly potential situation. I just moved to Niwot in 2017. I love this small town. I grew up in a house built in the late 1800’s in a similar small town in New Jersey. I don’t want Niwot to change. I want those who are turning this into a divisive issue, to open up their minds to a different perspective that will serve the best interests of Niwot and ALL Niwotians for the next 145 years.

Thank you,

Damian D’Apolito, Boulder County Resident since 1990.


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