Jun 212011
Authors: Erin Udell

After many visits to the Fort Collins Planning and Zoning Board, Campus Crest, a North Carolina-based company trying to build a 612-bed apartment complex geared toward CSU students, gained approval during a June 16 meeting that stretched into the wee hours of Friday morning.

After a lengthy discussion and presentations from the applicant and two public groups, the board ultimately voted 6-0, approving the project.

According to Steve Olt, Fort Collin’s City Planner, the next step in the City’s development process is for Campus Crest to submit a final plan for review. After review by City staff, the final plan would need to be approved in order for the company to move forward with the project’s construction.

“There are members of the public that are considering filing an appeal of the Planning and Zoning Board’s decision to approve The Grove at Fort Collins PDP,” Olt said in an email to the Collegian. “If an appeal is filed at the City Clerk’s office it will be scheduled for a hearing date with City Council.”

According to Olt, the council will then have three options: to uphold the Board’s decision, overturn the decision or remand the item back to Planning and Zoning for further deliberation.

Last year, after the Planning and Zoning board approved the project, the council agreed with neighbors on an appeal they filed. And some Fort Collins residents are hoping for a similar outcome this year.

Homeowners in the neighborhoods surrounding the potential construction site have shown their disapproval for the project since October, vehemently opposing Campus Crest and its goals to build in Fort Collins.

“I’m disappointed,” said Windtrail on Spring Creek resident, Peggy Loonan, referring to Planning and Zoning’s recent decision. “I’m sure it’s going to appealed, though.”

“There are still so many serious land use code issues including the impact it will have on the wetlands, floodplain and the surrounding neighborhoods,” Loonan said.

But according to Chase Eckerdt, the director of Governmental Affairs for the Associated Students of CSU, this year marks a difference from other board decisions.

“This time, planning and zoning endorsed it unanimously across the board,” Eckerdt said. “I think it stands a much better chance, it’s a better proposition and a better project.”

And with the demand for more housing near campus, Eckerdt said that the Grove is still a step in the right direction.

“The demand is there and they know the demand is there,” Eckerdt said. “It (the Grove) is what I think a lot of us have been asking the city to do for a long time.”

News Editor Erin Udell can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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