Citizens Muzzled Over Housing Development!

Residents Denied Opportunity to Speak On Controversial Issue

~ by Bob Volpe ~

The Woodland Park City Council shut down any specific discussion on the upcoming Tamarac Village manufactured homes’ issue at a recent meeting.

Just before the floor was opened to public comment during the June 6 session, City Attorney Jason Meyers addressed the audience on why the council would not hear discussion on the project. Meyers said, “In order to maintain city council potential that you might become an appeal body on that issue (Tamarac Village), to make sure that you’re not providing any testimony outside of what may come up in a couple of weeks.”

Meyers further noted that the public may appeal this project. The council is scheduled to address the proposed project at their next meeting, scheduled for June 26. He said, “I want the public to be aware that there is an appeal process for the general public if the application is approved and the public wants to appeal it.”

The project, aimed at addressing the issue of providing smaller housing units, has sparked much opposition from nearby residents. It is proposed by developer Pete LaBarre and would encompass at least 30 units. The main remaining issue under review deals with the allotment of water taps. All other aspects of the proposed project have met proper guidelines and can’t be contested unless the issue is appealed.


When the public comment was finally opened at an earlier meeting this month, resident Paul Neil spoke to the council. Neil gave a detailed presentation on what he believes are inconsistencies in the planning commission’s process of approving projects such as the Tamarac Village. Neil argued that, according to court precedent, the process must, “look at the whole document” when considering a project approval and that denying a public hearing just because a project meets zoning criteria, and that project is a permitted use, is wrong.

Council listened to Neil’s argument for a bit. But Councilwoman Carrol Harvey broke in and stated that Neil crossed the line into a testimony against the project. Meyers concurred and Neil was cut off.

Mayor Neil Levy seemed interested in Neil’s argument and asked for copies of Neil’s documents regarding the planning process. Neil supplied the said documents for the council to review.

Another resident John Watson then spoke asking for clarification on zoning, but cut his talk short when he realized he was stepping into the area that Meyers described was off limits.

In other council news, the Saddle Club was granted a permit for vendors and participants in the upcoming rodeo to camp on the rodeo grounds. The Ute Trail Stampede Rodeo runs from June 28-30 at the rodeo grounds on east highway 24, in Woodland Park.

Woodland Park Main Street organization gave their semi-annual report to council. Main Street members, Lynn Jones, and Stephanie Alfieri spoke about Main Street’s progress, purpose, and the past and future events the organization has planned. Jones noted that the organization is planning another “Shop Small” event on the fourth of July to correspond with other planned events in the city.

Council also filled openings on several city boards and committees. Gene Mertlick   was appointed to the parks and recreation advisory board, Patricia Stinner, Richard McVey, and Timothy Rhatigan
were appointed to the utilities advisory committee, and Carroll Trader was appointed to the board of adjustment.