The Railyard

The Railyard at Leadville Phase One is a 15.8 acre parcel that includes residential and commercial lots, as well as open space.

The Railyard at Leadville Phase One is a step closer to gaining approval from the city.

City Council met on June 4 to review the Railyard’s variance requests, as well as the development’s preliminary and final plat. The group discussed a variety of details regarding the proposed development, all of which had already been reviewed by the Leadville Planning Commission, for over five hours.

“It’s great to have the support and knowledge backing up these decisions,” council member Kevin Linebarger said of LPC’s work. “We appreciate you.”

If permitted, the development’s 15.8-acre first phase will include 69 residential lots, as well as eight commercial lots. Council approved the Railyard’s sketch plan in December 2017 and a minor plat for the property in October 2018.

“Right now, I can tell you there are more requests than there are available spaces,” Leadville Lake County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Mike Bordogna said of the need for commercial real estate in Leadville.

According to John Lichtenegger, the Railyard’s developer, major hotel and hardware store chains are looking into commercial spaces at the Railyard.

Most of the Railyard’s variance requests were to waive certain Leadville Municipal Code design standards concerning traffic and street layout. Curve types, street grades, centerline radii measurements, signage and alley speed limits were all discussed.

Some traffic variances are set to be approved by resolution as first proposed by the developer. Other drafted resolutions include conditions such as the addition of stop signs, concrete crosspans and turnaround areas.

City Council also plans to conditionally approve two of the Railyard’s variance requests related to drainage.

The developer is proposing building two above-ground detention ponds for stormwater runoff throughout the duration of infrastructure construction, followed by an underground water retention system that would be installed at a later phase.

Conditions include construction of emergency spillways for the ponds, a concrete micropool as part of the outlet structure for pond one and a concrete forebay at the storm sewer pipe outfall for pond two. If the underground water retention system is not built, the developer is required to update pond one five years after the Railyard’s recordation to meet current urban storm drainage criteria. The same requirement goes for pond two but ten years after the Railyard’s recordation.

A variety of conditions are also attached to the drafted resolution for approval of the Railyard’s phase one preliminary and final plat.

For example, the developer is required to revise the final plat to show an eight-foot sidewalk along the western property boundary adjacent to U.S. 24. A note explaining that all nonresidential uses are subject to site plan review and city approval before issuance of building permits is also mandated.

To date, Lichtenegger has spent over $7,000,000 on residential infrastructure work for phase one and over $1,700,000 on consultants for engineering, planning and legal services.

In February, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment approved Lichtenegger’s no action petition, formally declaring the Railyard’s soil remediation project a success. No further action is necessary, CDPHE said, to assure that the property is safe for human and environmental health.

“We are all interested in keeping Leadville profitable for everybody,” Bill Simmons, a contractor for the Railyard, said of the project. According to Simmons, eight of his current employees are local.

“John has been especially accommodating to his neighbors,” Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad owner Ken Olsen added. “The railroad has some good neighbors and some bad neighbors and John is a good one.”

City Council will review the Railyard’s subdivision improvement agreement on June 18 at 5 p.m. Council plans to adopt the variance and plat resolutions shortly thereafter.

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