1} Beer Battle Coming to a Head
When we last left Colorado’s craft brewers, they were hoping to tap into some stout opposition against House Bill 1192 from liquor store owners and a suds-savvy public. As opposition to the proposed legislation allowing supermarkets and convenience stores to sell full strength beer has grown, so has lobbying for it. Pointed rebuttals about the negative impact that H.B. 1192 would have on local jobs and wages, not to mention selection, have begun to hit home. What’s Next: Opponents hope this bill dies in committee and soon. If it doesn’t, look for serious cash to flow from the grocery chains well into March as they try to buy legislators’ support for the law.
2} Whither Then, Home Rule?
The town of Frederick will be holding public meetings to answer questions from its residents about adopting a home rule charter. The process works something like this: home rule municipalities adopt a charter that outlines the rules of the town including zoning regulations, building codes and development guidelines. More importantly, a home rule city can levy taxes and collect impact fees from developers. All incorporated towns operate under state statute (hence the term “statutory city”) unless its citizens opt for home rule—something that 98 Colorado municipalities have done to date. What’s Next: A series of town meetings about the home rule process. Places and times: 1–2:30pm March 7, Rinn United Methodist Church; 7:30–9pm March 17, Legacy Elementary; and 10–11:30am March 23, Frederick Town Hall.
3} Could Be a Hit
The City of Lafayette is considering building more playing fields on 24 acres of jointly owned open space on Colo. 42. Lafayette’s dream of six new, artificial turf playing fields is being rudely awakened by the estimated $8 million price tag. Lafayette officials say demand is there, and because its use as a ball field was part of the original purchase agreement, don’t expect Boulder County to object. What’s Next: Other, cheaper options for increasing access and capacity at Lafayette’s ball parks include overhauling the Lamont Does field and installing lights on two of the City Park ball diamonds—significant capacity for a fraction of the cost. Barring some unforeseen stimulus, and of course the obligatory “study” for a couple grand, don’t expect this Astroturf reverie to last much past Opening Day.
4} It’s Just an Idea
Rock Creek residents got their swarm on after finding out about a plan submitted in February by Richmond Homes to the Superior Town Board. Dozens of neighbors showed up at the initial meeting looking to throw cold water on the idea of letting Richmond give the town 15 acres of commercial land in exchange for 11 acres at Indiana Street and West Torreys Peak on which it would get to build 38 homes. Irate residents said the proposed homes would change the look and feel of their neighborhood for the worse. They also complained that more homes would force down already sagging property values in the area by flooding the weak market, produce increased crowding in the school and add to traffic in the area. One alternative from the crowd was that the parcel be made into a park; something that side of town is lacking. What’s Next: Despite taking a year to work out terms for such a land swap with the city, Richmond Homes must still submit a formal development plan and perform various studies before the idea can proceed. Regardless, don’t look for opposition to the scheme to abate.
Boulder County residents interested in installing solar panels on their homes, upgrading their hot water heaters and furnaces, and adding some insulation may begin to submit applications as soon as April and begin work in May. According to a time line approved by county commissioners, the bond-financed improvements will commence after applicants attend a series of mandatory workshops about the program. What’s Next: The big picture is a good one, but look for tweaks and changes in the program as details get ironed out.