Waiting approval

High Country Developers is awaiting approval of the Railyard at Leadville preliminary plan and final plat before going vertical.

Few conclusions emerged from a public hearing on the Railyard at Leadville’s phase one preliminary plan and final plat last week. After over four hours of discussion, the Leadville Planning & Zoning Commission voted to resume the hearing on May 29 in order to return to the Railyard’s application with fresh eyes and ears.

If permitted, the development’s 15.8-acre first phase will include 160 mixed dwelling units, as well as commercial buildings. City Council approved the Railyard’s sketch plan in December 2017 and a minor plat for the property in October 2018.

Eleven variance requests were discussed at length during the hearing.

Most of the Railyard’s 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.

Drainage was also debated. The developer is proposing building two above-ground retention 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.

“Infrastructure costs associated with burying it are much higher,” Railyard planner Ronnie Pelusio said of the stormwater system. “It’s not the cheap way out.”

At 10 p.m., the commission had yet to start review of the preliminary plan and final plat.

“We’ve been at this for two years and six months,” Railyard developer John Lichtenegger’s daughter Leigh Flanagan told the commission. “An incredible amount of work has gone into mitigating the property from what was left when it was a Superfund site.”

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.

The millions of dollars Lictenegger has already poured into the project should not affect decision-making, LPZC Chair Gabby Voeller told the commission. “I don’t want you as a commission to feel any pressure to make a decision tonight,” she said.

The commission voted to resume the hearing on May 29 in the hopes of being able to make a recommendation to City Council before its June 4 meeting. LPZC will recommend to approve or deny each variance, as well as the preliminary plan and final plat at that time.

“I really hope you can see the value of what we have proposed on the land,” Flanagan said.

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