Town board talks landscaping guidelines and street improvements for First and Third
Tuesday night the Berthoud town board met for a study session to discuss future landscaping guidelines for the community and were presented with updated information on the First Street overlay project and the Third Street improvement project. The board was joined by members of the Planning Commission.
Over the last year, town staff have been working with Sopher Sparn Architects in Boulder, to develop a first-of-its-kind for Berthoud set of landscape guidelines for the town. Sopher Sparn, who was the lead consultant on last year’s architectural design guidelines, also hired Studio Terra, a landscape architecture firm to assist in this process.
Erin Bagnall a principle architect at Sopher Sparn led the presentation about the landscape guidelines. Bagnall stated that the overall intent of the draft was to, “lead with sustainability.”
She continued by saying “It’s to respond to the fact that as you all know Berthoud is experiencing a lot of growth and creating a document that can be a design outline.”
The plan so far represents strict landscaping requirements for new residential development that support sustainable planting and landscaping the town says is critical to give to developers and builders. The guidelines are structured to mirror the architectural design guidelines and are organized by place type with the addition of open space-specific guidelines. The intent of the guidelines is that all landscapes for new development must follow the guidelines in general, but they do allow creativity in that they are not prescriptive—or every requirement must be followed to the letter. A sentiment reiterated throughout the presentation by Town Administrator Chris Kirk.
Trustee May Soricelli expressed concern about the potential of a plan placing undo burden on individual homeowners, “I think it’s good we put some restrictions on new developments and we could have a big impact on water saving…but to impose codes on existing homeowners is an unfair requirement…that gets into a controlling aspect that doesn’t make our community very friendly.”
Soricelli’s concerns were quickly put at ease as Administrator Kirk explained that these guidelines are intended to assist new construction, developers, builders, consultants and the Town of Berthoud in creating a basic guide for the desired landscape design.
As plant selection in Colorado nurseries is always changing, staff feels this will allow landscape
designers a wide palette for creativity. Moreover, the emphasis of these guidelines is to promote and generally require as many water-saving and native plants as possible. The draft included a long list of suggested plants and trees.
The guidelines promote water-wise and sustainable practices with an effort to incorporate plants that are native to the Front Range.
The second presentation was a discussion about the First Street Overlay Project and the Third Street Improvement Project of which the town has hosted several community events over the last year to present proposed concepts for and receive feedback.
The plans that have been heavily influenced by community feedback are according to town staff “Trying to get closer and closer to what we’re hearing from the community.” In the current draft of the plan First Street, although a commercial district could include upwards of 50% or more flowering trees and trees that produce more vibrant colors in the fall which the town hope will add to the “garden spot feeling.”
The purpose of the projects is to identify present and future needs of the streets and establish preferences and priorities based on those needs. The plans will provide a vision and set of goals for guiding the growth, development, redevelopment and design of the areas. More specifically, the plan will address architecture, scale, form, character of development, development density/intensity, connectivity, multi-modal transportation, streetscapes, landscaping and signage within the planning area.