1) Why is there a special election on April 19?
The special election asks voters to reaffirm City Council’s approval of the 2021 Redtail Ridge redevelopment plan, which would replace the existing 2010 ConocoPhillips plan. If voters reject Council’s approval and support development according to the ConocoPhillips plan, then all of special requirements and community benefits, such as more Open Space and safer Campus Drive access, would go away since they are not attached to the Conoco plan.
This election will be by mail-in ballot only, although accommodations are being made for voters displaced by the Marshall Fire. Ballots will be mailed beginning March 28 and must be returned by April 19.
2) What is the ballot language?
Per the Louisville City Clerk, voters will see the following on their ballot for the April 19 special election:
“Shall Louisville Ordinance No. 1811, Series 2021, An Ordinance Approving the First Amendment to ConocoPhillips Campus General Development Plan (Redtail Ridge Master Plan), be approved?”
Voting YES will uphold City Council’s enhanced environmental and Open Space requirements for commercial development. Voting NO reverts any commercial development to the ConocoPhillips development plan that was adopted in 2010.
As the ballot language makes clear, there is no option to either force the developer back to the drawing board or to convert this privately owned land into public Open Space.or
3) What are the choices on the ballot?
There are ONLY two choices on the ballot:
(a) YES VOTE: affirm City Council’s approval of the 2021 Redtail Ridge development plan, which allows redevelopment of the site and places binding commitments on the developer for more permanent Open Space, requires meeting the highest standards for energy efficiency and sustainability, and provides a developer-funded Campus Drive extension; or
(b) NO VOTE: reject Council’s approval and revert all commercial development according to the ConocoPhillips plan adopted in 2010. The new concessions and binding commitments attached to the Redtail Ridge plan that was successfully negotiated by City Council would become void.
4) How much will the special election cost Louisville taxpayers?
According to the Louisville City Clerk’s office, the special election will cost Louisville taxpayers approximately $70,000. The organizers of the referendum could withdraw their petition at any time in order to save Louisville taxpayers and city officials the time and expense associated with a special election.
5) How do I vote?
Ballots will be mailed to all Louisville residents on or around March 28. Please check your voter registration here to ensure that your information is correct and up-to-date. If you are not yet registered, you can register to vote online here.
6) I was displaced during the fire. How can I vote?
We recommend checking with the Louisville City Clerk’s office to determine which options are available to you since mail-in ballots cannot be forwarded. You can also email the City Clerk at email@example.com or by calling 303-335-4536.
7) Could this land remain permanent Open Space if I vote NO?
No, and this is not an option on the ballot. This land has never been open to the public, and it has never been Open Space. It has been privately owned for more than three decades dating back to when StorageTek built and operated its campus there. The land was later sold to ConocoPhillips, and to this day remains privately owned.
8) Could the City buy this property for Open Space?
The city and the Planning Commission have consistently stated that they cannot buy the property. By voting YES, the City Council-negotiated requirements for 93 acres of land for permanent Open Space, public parks, recreation fields, and new trails will remain in place. Under the Redtail Ridge development plan, the estimated market value of the donated land would be more than $20 million.
9) If I vote “NO,” can I stop future development?
No. That’s another misconception. If the vote overturns the City Council’s approval of the Redtail Ridge development plan, the site’s owner still has the “right of use” under the terms of the ConocoPhillips plan that was approved in 2010. The Conoco plan legally allows a 2.5 million square foot commercial project, but without the additional Open Space, environmental, or transit and mobility benefits negotiated by City Council in the Redtail Ridge development plan.
10) What could the 15 acres of recreational fields be used for?
By voting YES, more than 15 acres of this land would be set aside for public use and parks, and would be owned by the City. Allowable uses here would include new ballfields, dog parks, soccer fields, tennis and pickleball facilities, and other uses that can help our citizens stay active and enjoy the outdoors. Since there are no provisions for recreational uses or fields in the ConocoPhillips plan, voting NO would take away these options for public use.
11) Would a dog park be allowed under the Redtail Ridge plan?
Yes! Dog parks are an allowable use under the Redtail plan, but not under the ConocoPhillips plan. The developer would be required to donate this land to the City of Louisville for this and other uses as determined by the city.
12) What are some of the habitat protections that would be required under a YES vote?
Unlike the ConocoPhillips plan, there are a host of habitat protections that would be put into place by voting YES. These include replacing noxious weeds with native and drought-resistant plants, planting nearly 400 new trees, expanding or installing detention ponds to support wildlife, and so much more. And, voting YES would also trigger a donation to Broomfield County for a 40-acre conservation easement that would serve as a permanent and untouched habitat for keystone species.
13) When would Campus Drive construction begin if I vote YES?
Voting YES on April 19 would prioritize the construction of the Campus Drive extension, which could be completed as early as Summer 2023!
14) Why do so many Monarch teachers support the extension of Campus Drive?
Voting YES would prioritize the extension of Campus Drive from Monarch PK-12 to 96th, with construction completed by 2023! This has been a long-term priority for teachers, parents, and most importantly, our students! Voting YES will prioritize construction and require the developer to pay for it (City Council negotiated for development to pay for more than $30 million in the Campus Drive extension and additional safety enhancements).
These enhancements include improved emergency access, safer intersections, traffic circles, pedestrian underpasses, and bike lanes. Extending Campus Drive can also be achieved with a NO vote, but the process would be significantly longer and more complicated.
15) Since BVSD owns the land, can’t we build a Campus Drive extension at any time?
This is 100% false. While BVSD has granted a small sliver of land for an easement, it does not own the land from Monarch PK-12 to 96th. Any extension of Campus Drive to 96th Street must either go through privately owned land or a combination of private Boulder County land and private property. The Campus Drive extension contained in the Redtail Ridge plan has been approved by Louisville’s City Council and Planning Commission, Boulder County, BVSD, Northwest Parkway, and Broomfield precisely because it represents the safest, most affordable, and most direct way to build this essential access road.
16) Can Campus Drive be expanded under the ConocoPhillips plan?
Yes, but the roadway would begin much later due to a more complex land use pattern that would require it to cut through an existing easement from BVSD, privately owned land, AND Boulder County land. It would also most likely require an eminent domain claim that would further add costs and delays to this much-needed extension.
17) Does the Redtail Ridge plan allow for a hospital?
Yes! A key benefit of voting YES is that City Council’s approved development plan for Redtail Ridge includes zoning to allow this site to be the future home of the hospital. The ConocoPhillips plan is not zoned for hospital use.
18) Can the Conoco plan be amended to be zoned for hospital use?
Technically, it can – but each amendment to an approved development plan could take at least another year or more to fully develop and get approved, and that decision would ultimately be up to the landowners, not the public. And, the hospital may not be willing to wait that long.
19) Will we really have an extra 20,000 cars a day on our roads if the referendum passes?
This is a purposely misleading statement that has been pulled from the official Traffic Study without context.
By voting YES, you can ensure that new car traffic is rerouted to major traffic corridors like US 36 and the Northwest Parkway, and move traffic away from our residential neighborhoods. And by voting YES, the developer would be required to provide a range of services to further reduce car traffic, like providing a high-frequency shuttle between the RTD station and the commercial business park, introducing a mobility hub with bike shares and e-bikes, and building and improving bikeways and protected bike paths.
We won’t suddenly have 20,000 new cars a day clogging our neighborhood streets: under both the Redtail Ridge plan (a YES vote) and the ConocoPhillips plan (a NO vote), the estimated number of daily car trips are based on full build-out in 10-15 years from now.
As this excerpt from pages 6-7 of the Traffic Study’s Executive Summary points out, the more relevant figures are the amount of estimated new car trips during our morning and evening rush hours at full build-out in the next 10-15 years. Voting YES would substantially reduce the estimated car trips that the ConocoPhillips plan would generate. It is also important to note that the Traffic Study was done before COVID-19, and it doesn’t take into account the revised transportation habits and hybrid work models that commercial businesses are utilizing.
20) Which plan offers more transit and mobility solutions?
Transportation accounts for more than 30% of all CO2 emissions in Colorado, and the site’s location along the US 36 corridor and within 1.5 miles of the RTD station create plentiful options for people to not drive cars. By voting YES, we can ensure shuttle buses to and from the RTD station, a new mobility hub, and investments to the bike and pedestrian networks. Because the ConocoPhillips plan adopted in 2010 required fewer traffic mitigation solutions, voting NO will not have the same impact on reducing single-occupancy vehicles (SOVs), nor will it have an equivalent range of innovative services.
21) Will I see my taxes increase if I vote YES?
Under the conditions required by City Council for the Redtail Ridge plan, this area will not be a residential metro district, and individual taxpayers will not see their taxes increase. Voting YES will require the developer to pay its own way by investing nearly $100 million in essential infrastructure, including more than $30 million alone for Campus Drive construction and safety enhancements.
22) Will a YES vote require development to pay its own way?
YES. This is a significant advantage of the Redtail Ridge plan. With a YES vote, developers would invest nearly $100 million in infrastructure improvements, including $30 million investment in the Campus Drive extension and enhanced safety treatments.
23) Which plan creates the most tax revenue?
Because this land has sat vacant since the StorageTek buildings were torn down, this site only generates around $10,000 a year in property tax revenue. Under both the Conoco and the Redtail Ridge development plans, our community benefits from a substantial increase in property tax revenue.
Voting YES will generate more than $25 million in annual property tax revenue at full build-out – with more than half of that amount going to BVSD and the fire district. Voting NO will generate approximately $21 million in annual property tax revenue.
24) Why isn’t there any housing for either the Redtail or ConocoPhillips plans?
A much earlier version of the development plan included senior and workforce housing interspersed throughout the site, but that proposal was withdrawn several years ago.
25) Would voting YES make it harder or more expensive to rebuild homes lost in the fire?
Absolutely not, and this is easily disprovable. Since both Redtail Ridge and ConocoPhillips are zoned for commercial and/or industrial use – and not residential use – the types of material and supplies (steel and concrete versus wood and brick) would be completely different. As any homebuilder will tell you, an industrial or commercial development project relies on an entirely different category of general contractors and subcontractors, each requiring different certifications and licenses.