Breckenridge and Father Dyer Church hammer out a development agreement
The Father Dyer United Methodist Church is getting an update.
The church is set to add a 2,728-square-foot addition to the existing structure. The expansion will be modeled on the historic church, and would connect to a previous addition built onto the church after it was moved to its current location on Breckenridge’s Wellington Road in 1977. The Breckenridge Town Council agreed to move forward with a development agreement for the project at the council work session on Tuesday, Jan. 26.
The conceptual plans add rooms and facilities that are meant to accommodate the church’s social services. Town planner Chris Kulick noted that the expansion area has a sunken terrace that is not compliant with the town code, and the proposed development agreement also asked for other waivers of policies in the code, including for density guidelines, certain design standards, off-street parking requirements, and all fees associated with the agreement.
In exchange for the requests, the church offered to deed restrict about 2,500 square feet of the space to be used for social services in perpetuity, to grant the town a right of first refusal to purchase the property if the church is ever discontinued, and to dedicate a new drainage and trail easement along the west property line to the town.
Kulick commented during the council meeting that staff likes the proposed design, and feels the existing “L shape” created by the previous add-on is strange. He said as the proposed addition models the historic building’s roof pitch and height, the current attachment will appear like a connecting segment between two similar buildings.
Council member Jeffrey Bergeron asked what kind of precedent approving a development that doesn’t align with town code and design standards could set for similar entities. Kulick said that the town council doesn’t technically set precedents on development agreements as each project presented is considered a unique negotiation.
“I think the council probably does want to be somewhat consistent on what they award similar projects,” Kulick said, adding that similar projects could be anything that has a community service component.
Council member Dick Carleton said he was okay with the development not complying with town policies regarding density, mass and design, but would like to see the church make an effort to minimize the impacts of parking in the neighborhood, such as having people out directing traffic. He added that he is not in favor of waiving all fees.
“I think all of the permitting fees cost the town so we need to be reimbursed for those,” Carleton said. “… I’m okay waiving a bit of the density fees but not a substantial amount.”
“While of course we want to support the community members and the people doing supportive, great things in our community, I also really heavily considered who might come to us next to ask for density or fee waivers, and it’s not always such an easy decision as people who are just looking out for the best thing in our community,” council member Kelly Owens said.
Mayor Eric Mamula said he feels like the town is glossing over the divergence from historic guidelines and pointed out that if a private developer presented similar plans, the council would respond with a “flat out no.” However, he said that the design does feel appropriate for this development.
A first reading of the development agreement with adjustments made based on council comments would be presented to council in a future meeting. Bobby Craig, owner of Arapahoe Architects, said that if all goes smoothly, construction on the development could start in spring or summer of 2022.
“I think Bobby’s done a great job of setting this into its space, conforming to the district guidelines as best as you could for adding a module of this size onto the building,” Mamula said. “I think it looks wonderful, I’m all in agreement of waiving these pieces of the code in a development agreement to allow you to build onto it.”
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