What many expected would be an epically long hearing on the proposed Broadstone apartment complex July 30 was cut abruptly short after the developer introduced substantial changes, rendering city council unwilling to rule without further input from the planning board.
Just hours before the meeting, representatives of Alliance Residential told city staff that in yet another effort to appease upset neighbors, it would reduce the height from six to four stories, drop the number of units from 250 to 225 and increase the distance from the edge of the building to the street.
“I have some concern about the ability to fairly move forward on this,” said Mayor Debbie Brinkman.
The planning board did not support the project in its previous form. Councilmembers want the board to review the changes on Aug. 12 and weigh back in before they proceed with the public hearing and final vote, now scheduled for Sept. 3.
Councilor Jerry Valdes voted against sending it back to planning and wanted to move ahead that night.
“Frankly, I’m here to discuss the plan before us,” he said. “If the applicant wants to come back with a new plan, so be it.”
The other six councilors agreed planning should review the changes, but not everyone was happy with the situation.
“I think this is the proper path, but it’s uncomfortable for me to take it,” said Councilor Bruce Beckman. “This is with a very heavy heart. My stomach is upset over this. I think this is a very problematic thing.”
Brinkman acknowledged the efforts of the people in the overflowing chamber, many of them affiliated with the opposition group Citizens for Rational Development.
“It’s not with ease that we do this,” she said.
Paul Bingham has been a main player with CRD.
“We are very unhappy with the way this proposed rezoning is being conducted by the developer and the city,” he wrote in an email after the meeting, adding he felt council did the right thing by postponing the decision.
“That ended the hearing and everyone left — mostly in a foul mood for having this developer cause so much time and energy to be wasted again by the Littleton City Council, Littleton city staff, Littleton citizens, and Citizens For Rational Development,” he wrote. “Not just during this aborted meeting, but for many days of hard work researching the project and getting presentations ready for this city-council hearing.”
Steve Anderson, the current owner of the property, also applauded the council’s decision, saying the developer made the adjustments at the request of some citizens who suggested they would support the project if he accommodated their specific requests.
“Andy (Clay of Alliance) had to jump through a lot of hoops with many key people, including the investor on the project, to get all of the approvals and agreements necessary to accommodate the citizens’ requests,” said Anderson, adding that the changes weren’t finalized until the day of the hearing. “The council’s decision to remand will give everyone the opportunity to be talking from the same page at the rescheduled public hearing on Sept. 3.”
Bingham has said that if council approves Broadstone, CRD will immediately start circulating a referendum to fight it and seek out council candidates who support the group’s positions. Those wishing to run for city council can only circulate nominating petitions from Aug. 6 through Aug. 27, a week before the final hearing on Broadstone. They’re due back to the city clerk at 5 p.m. Aug. 27.