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 October 8, 1999

Lafayette OKs urban renewal plan

LAFAYETTE – City council here unanimously adopted in late September an urban renewal plan that will control land uses, design and building requirements within the city’s “Old Town” area.

“It’s a good direction to go,´ said Lafayette resident Doug Conarroe. “We’ve got the leadership who has had experience with doing this sort of thing. That’s more than we’ve had in the past.”

The mission of the urban renewal plan, according to the city, is to work in partnership with property owners to improve existing structures, to bring new commercial and mixed-use in-fill development to raw land within the area – considered blighted – and to prevent deterioration of properties within the area.

Administration of the plan will be executed by city council members acting as the Lafayette Urban Renewal Authority (LURA). The city council, by resolution, established LURA in April.

LURA will provide incentives to elicit owner participation in redevelopment and has authority to issue bonds and use tax-increment financing as a financing vehicle; it also will have the power of condemnation, which concerned several residents in the urban renewal district who spoke during the public hearing portion of the meeting.

Resident Doug Moon spoke against the use of condemnation, saying removing it would “level the playing field,” and expressed concern about the devaluation of his residential property in the district.

City Administrator Gary Klaphake, who ushered in urban renewal as a former city manager in Estes Park, told Moon condemnation was unlikely to be exercised widely.

Mayor Carlen Mcintosh added that the net result of the plan should be increased property values and that the city planned to “gradually raise the bar” for the area.

“Our goal would be sooner than later,” she added.

Although a supporter of the urban renewal plan, Conarroe, who also addressed the council, express concern for council making up LURA.

He said in an earlier interview that the biggest issue he has with urban renewal authorities is that they are “very secretive,” purportedly because of the land negotiations, and that Superior is a good example – in the middle of council meetings leaders would call executive sessions to discuss urban renewal issues.

Klaphake noted that the responsibility of the authority could be “farmed out” in the future.

“We’re certainly desirous of involving people in the business community,” Mcintosh added, noting that the city leaders would like to “get comfortable” with the process before handing it off.

City Attorney Patricia Tisdale added that state statute dictates the authority must be entirely composed of council or contain no council members.

The urban renewal district in Lafayette includes the south side of Baseline Road from Shady Acres Mobile Home Park east to Harrison Street, Public Road from Baseline to Spaulding Street and East Simpson Street from Public Road to Michigan Avenue.

The city already this year has undertaken a $3 million project to install fiber-optics lines in Old Town and to improve storm sewer facilities, drainage, street lighting and the streetscape on Public Road.

Also at the meeting, council members OK’d an ordinance providing for the designation and regulation of historic landmarks and districts. Susan We, one of two council members voting against the measure, said she was concerned that private property owners could receive a historic designation involuntarily.

LAFAYETTE – City council here unanimously adopted in late September an urban renewal plan that will control land uses, design and building requirements within the city’s “Old Town” area.

“It’s a good direction to go,´ said Lafayette resident Doug Conarroe. “We’ve got the leadership who has had experience with doing this sort of thing. That’s more than we’ve had in the past.”

The mission of the urban renewal plan, according to the city, is to work in partnership with property owners to improve existing structures, to bring new commercial and mixed-use in-fill development to raw land within the area – considered blighted…

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