By Susan de Castro McCann
Redstone Review Editor
LYONS – After going over a first reading of an ordinance to amend sections of the municipal code which required all annexations over 5 acres, not owned by the town, to go to a vote of the people, the new ordinance was tabled and a public hearing to be held on January 30 was cancelled. A public in put meeting will be held on the 5 acre rule, but it has not been scheduled yet.
The 5 acre rule, as it came to be called has been a contentious issue for many residents in town for years. In about 1994 two developers from Denver, Scott Carlson and Terry Teneck wanted to develop 40 acres of land contiguous to what is now Stone Canyon. A 30 acre parcel was already annexed and ready for development. The developers wanted to build 72 homes on the 40 acre parcel, but the town was not prepared to bring in water and sewer services for that many homes, not to mention the impact it would have on schools and other services. The town board at that time did annex that land, under Mayor Fran Brackett, and a group of residents overturned that annexation through a referendum. The town’s people voted 2 to 1 against the measure.
Later the land was purchased by Al Musser who also tried to annex the 40 acre parcel. But the town had a new comp plan by that time and they brought the proposal to a vote of the people. Again the proposed annexation was voted down by a 2 to 1 margin. Eventually Boulder County bought the 40 acre parcel and the 30 acre parcel was developed into Stone Canyon subdivision.
The new ordinance proposes to leave the non-commercial (residential land) language alone in the municipal code and to just change the language for commercial development to make it more appealing for developers to build commercial projects. Most of the town board members believe that this proposed language change should go to a vote of the people.
Victoria Simonsen told the town board that there are about 17 commercial properties over 5 acres that could be affected by the 5 acre rule.
Trustee Ed Bruder asked, “If it (the new ordinance) goes to a vote of the people and it fails, then do we have a plan B?”
Trustee Kirk Udovich said, “It is important that we tell constituents why we want this change in the ordinance.”
Mayor Julie Van Domelen added, “The basic point is whether people are willing to let the board decide this? Will people trust the board to make this decision? It is not whether it is a good idea or not.”
Trustee Kathy Carroll said, “The only people who are going to show up (to vote) are those who have a vested interest in the outcome; this may not represent the broader public.”
Currently residents can give comments, recommendations and have input on all annexations. New design standards, zoning ordinances and other measures have recently been adopted making building much more restrictive and open to the public.
Mayor Julie Van Domelen has pointed out why the town wants to change the 5 acre rule for commercial property in her column this month in the Redstone and local resident Ric Breese has pointed out in a letter to the editor reasons why the 5 acre rule should stay in place for all annexations.
On the less contentious side of town news, Lyons residents will be please to know that the town board is voting on a plan to lower water rates. They are planning to lower the base water rates for metered customers. Most Lyons residents consider water rates to be high, so this should come as good news.
Mayor Van Domelen reported that January is Radon Action Month. But no one seemed to know what that entailed. Lyons is a high Radon area and many home crawl spaces have high concentrations of Radon which is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. You can’t see radon. And you can’t smell it or taste it. Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. That’s because when you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high. Radon can be found all over the U.S. Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon can be found all over the U.S. It can get into any type of building — homes, offices, and schools — and result in a high indoor radon level. But you and your family are most likely to get your greatest exposure at home, where you spend most of your time. Have your home tested.Back to Top