After continuing a contentious discussion since its June 7 meeting on the rezoning of part of the former Hewlett-Packard property, Greeley City Council earlier this week rejected the request to change the area of the plot to high-density residential area (RH), leaving some residents with mixed feelings. , the plaintiff and the members of the municipal council themselves.
A tie vote – three council members voting in favor and three against approving the application, excluding the vote of Mayor John Gates who recused himself from the discussion due to his previous absence – led the city to keep the land near 10th Street and 71st Avenue zoned for low-intensity industrial (IL), which about 50 residents asked the city council to do.
Council members Tommy Butler and Deb DeBoutez, along with Pro Tem Mayor Brett Payton, voted in favor of the rezoning, with Ed Clark, Dale Hall and Johnny Olson voting in opposition.
Council first considered the proposal at its June 7 meeting, but rezoning candidate Brian Bartel with LaSalle Properties LLC — with 10 community members expressing objection — requested that the rezoning continue until the meeting scheduled for Tuesday.
Neighbors and council members opposed the request due to traffic concerns.
“This area is oversaturated with high-density housing,” resident Trish Thompson said in a public comment email to City Council on July 18.
LaSalle acquired the property in 2021 and demolished the rest of the HP building.
Hewlett-Packard left the Greeley site in 2003 and its former property went through a succession of sales and partial rezoning. Much of the former property has been developed for commercial, residential and other uses, including an urban park, bank, car wash, self-storage facility, memory care facility and other commercial uses.
Part of the old HP building — the cafeteria and event center — has been redeveloped into West Ridge Academy at 6905 8th St. The property in question during Tuesday’s meeting is between that school and the newly residential neighborhood. developed North Ridge Trails on 66th Avenue.
As IL zoned land, the property development could be anything from a hotel to a gas station, according to Bartel, who says an IL zone is not “a good neighbor”.
“If I look at the uses behind IL, I wouldn’t want any of the uses behind my house, from a hotel to a body shop, to…I mean the list goes on and on,” Bartel said during the meeting. “They are not good neighbours.”
But as an HR area, residents fear the development could be apartments which they say will increase traffic. Residents and council members said traffic problems in the area were “terrible”, citing an incident in April in which a 12-year-old girl was hit by a car.
James Powers, resident and father of the 12-year-old girl, told Tuesday’s meeting that the roads in the neighborhood were already dangerous for children.
“We cannot allow increased traffic in our neighborhood,” Powers said. “There are a number of younger kids in the neighborhood that I know, that I see playing in the streets all the time, and even though it’s a parent’s responsibility to teach those kids to stay off the streets, they’re kids, and that’s what they do.
Bartel told city council that traffic analysis of the area required for his rezoning application showed that traffic would decrease if the land moved from IL to RH, but some residents and council members did not believe him.
Butler attributed the traffic problem to the lack of parking availability, which he says is a problem that fundamentally needs to be addressed.
Resident Taylor Meyers, speaking on behalf of North Ridge Trail resident Dakota Kuhtz, said she would prefer to see Bartel reapply to rezone the parcel to medium- or low-intensity residential to address the issue of the industrial use and traffic congestion.
But Bartel said he would go ahead with the zonal city council decided at the meeting, although he said he didn’t want to see him leave as IL.
“I’m here today to tell you what my intention is and I don’t think it’s fair to do IT,” Bartel said, “I’ll be sad if I leave here tonight, and I’m obligated to do IT the this property.
Butler and DeBoutez agreed to leave the site because IL would be worse for the neighborhood, allowing a variety of commercial businesses to be built, which could harm the neighborhood.
“Frankly, I think it would be a travesty if we left it as IT tonight because I think the potential uses are just too much of a concern to keep on the table,” Butler said.
DeBoutez outlined a range of potential uses for the property under its current industrial zoning, which could be developed by right, with only an administrative site plan review and no public input.
The site could include a farm with livestock, an animal care facility, a 24-hour gas station, a pawn shop, a drive-through restaurant, a bar, a hotel, an RV warehouse , a tractor-trailer service facility, a manufacturing company, a distribution center or a waste management facility, she says.
“These can all go under IL, and the neighbors can’t tell,” DeBoutez said. “I feel like those are totally incompatible with this neighborhood. Residential-High is a dense real estate development. It’s high density, it’s infill. It’s a walkable neighborhood.”
— Christopher Wood, publisher/editor of BizWest, contributed to this report