CSU board still favors developing Hughes Stadium

FORT COLLINS — Colorado State University’s Board of Governors reiterated its pledge of support for a potential redevelopment project at the former Hughes Stadium site in Fort Collins should a deal with the city fail to be struck.

Board members spent well over an hour Friday in a private executive session on real estate issues, but no significant Hughes Stadium-related actions were taken.

The board of governors stressed that it maintains the right to manage state-owned property and plans to move forward with its Site Plan Advisory Review process, a bureaucratic exercise launched in 2020.

On April 6, Fort Collins voters overwhelmingly approved a citizen-led initiative directing the city to make a good-faith effort to buy the 165-acre site from the CSU System to be used “for parks, recreation, and open lands, natural areas, and wildlife rescue and restoration,” according to the ballot language. 

As a result of that vote, the Fort Collins City Council approved a measure last week that rezones the property as open space, which doesn’t allow for the construction of housing. That zoning would not necessarily be binding on CSU, however.

Colorado State University, which wants to build nearly 700 units for lower-wage workers, finds its standing on unusual legal ground as it makes its push in favor of redevelopment. 

Government agencies, such as public colleges and universities, are not beholden to cities’ regular development review processes. Instead, these issues are heard as part of a mostly toothless bureaucratic process called Site Plan Advisory Review, or SPAR, that essentially invites the city to weigh in on a project but gives it no actual authority to approve or reject it.

The nature of the April ballot initiative and CSU’s use of SPAR would make any litigation on the future of the property complex, Sarah Schindler, a professor and land-use expert at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, told Bizwest in April.

Given that more than two-third of votes cast in April were in favor of the community park or open space plan, members of CSU’s Board of Governors said they understood the City Council’s show of support but have balked at any attempt to deny the school its right to develop the CSU-owned property.

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FORT COLLINS — Colorado State University’s Board of Governors reiterated its pledge of support for a potential redevelopment project at the former Hughes Stadium site in Fort Collins should a deal with the city fail to be struck.

Board members spent well over an hour Friday in a private executive session on real estate issues, but no significant Hughes Stadium-related actions were taken.

The board of governors stressed that it maintains the right to manage state-owned property and plans to move forward with its Site Plan Advisory Review process, a bureaucratic exercise launched in 2020.

On April 6, Fort Collins voters overwhelmingly approved a citizen-led initiative directing the city to make a good-faith effort to buy the 165-acre site from the CSU System to be used “for parks, recreation, and open lands, natural areas, and wildlife rescue and restoration,” according to the ballot language. 

As a result of that vote, the Fort Collins City Council approved a measure last week that rezones the property as open space, which doesn’t allow for the construction of housing. That zoning would not necessarily be binding on CSU, however.

Colorado State University, which wants to build nearly 700 units for lower-wage workers, finds its standing on unusual legal ground as it makes its push in favor of redevelopment. 

Government agencies, such as public colleges and universities, are not beholden to cities’ regular development review processes. Instead, these issues are heard as part of a mostly toothless bureaucratic process called Site Plan Advisory Review, or SPAR, that essentially invites the city…