Julie Van Domelen Mayor
LYONS – Economic sustainability has been a core objective of town policies for the last several years, stemming from the realization that a vibrant Lyons relies on a sustainable economic base. The 2010 Comprehensive Plan highlighted the importance of economic sustainability in terms of generating sufficient revenue to support town infrastructure and services and promoting a business-friendly environment that encourages commercial and job growth according to community members’ vision and desires. A core part of the strategy to achieve this was to coordinate with local landowners including the City of Longmont and developers to encourage the annexation and development of properties along the eastern Highway 36 corridor.
Over the last few years, the elements underpinning this have been put into place. Inefficiencies and unnecessary costs have been eliminated from the annexation process. The new Commercial Eastern Corridor (CEC) Zone was just approved after over a year in discussions and reviews. This establishes the basic uses allowed in the zone and creates a set of uses that would require special review procedures (like restaurants with drive-through windows) to ensure that they mesh with community goals and the surrounding area. A new site plan/development plan review process is being adopted that would provide for better review of individual development plans. And, town staff and the PCDC are currently working on design standards and guidelines that will address issues ranging from landscaping and building appearance to signs and lighting. This has created the necessary conditions for Lyons to be able to clearly articulate the type of development that is welcomed.
With these pieces in place, the next step is the redevelopment of an important piece of property on the eastern border of Lyons – the decommissioned Longmont Water Treatment Plant. Longmont
has decided to sell the property. The best use and most value for the property would be to annex it into Lyons as a commercial or light industrial use. Even though we do not own the property and are not buying it, the Town of Lyons has a keen interest in what gets developed there. As a result, Lyons and Longmont have entered into an agreement to work together on the sale of the property. The joint drafting of a request for proposal (RFP) and review of offers will produce a land use that is acceptable to Lyons and a sale price that is acceptable to Longmont. The RFP is our chance to clearly spell out our development vision for the commercial eastern corridor. The RFP is currently being drafted and is expected to be issued in early March with sealed proposals due at the end of April.
The ten-acre site has many wonderful possibilities that could help build a stronger economic base and create local jobs, from an expansion in lodging to a business/industrial park that could house local businesses looking to expand, to uses that build on the recreational, arts, music and vibrant entrepreneurial base of Lyons. Mixed-use development can combine a number of uses on one site. Moreover, this does not have to be one big development. The site is officially platted for five lots ranging from 0.68 acres to 2.72 acres. Bids will be accepted for any or all of these existing lots. This creates a great deal of flexibility and may open the door for smaller developments on the individual lots.
The proposal(s) would go through the normal annexation and zoning procedures with plenty of opportunity for public input. The process will be transparent and fair and will be supported by the new zoning regulations and procedures. While there has been concern over unbridled development coming into Lyons, we have sufficient controls in place to ensure that properties coming into Town will benefit our community and preserve our small Town character.
It is my hope that our local investors and entrepreneurs will take an active interest in this property, either to start new businesses, fill a niche or gap, or find room to expand their operations. I invite all interested parties to contact our Economic Development Manager Jacque Watson at Lyons Town Hall for more details.
Julie Van Domelen was re-elected mayor of Lyons on April 3. She was first elected mayor of Lyons in 2009 in a special election. She was re-elected mayor in April 2010. Mayor Van Domelen works part time as an economist for the World Bank. She lives with her family in Lyons and can be reached at email@example.com.Back to Top