Windsor, FoCo weigh future of I-25/392 interchange

WINDSOR — Car dealerships and single-family houses just might find homes on what is now open fields near the Fort Collins/Windsor exit off Interstate 25.

But much has to happen before current land-use proposals for the interchange of I-25 and Colorado Highway 392 become realities.

Based on a wide-ranging discussion Monday between the Windsor Town Board and the Fort Collins City Council, an intergovernmental agreement, or IGA, on land uses around the interchange could be amended to permit dealerships.

ALARMED: Neighbors alarmed over planned I-25 car dealershipsBut first Windsor would have to upgrade its development standards for things such has lighting, noise and buffering with an eye toward addressing compatibility with existing neighborhoods.

At issue is a proposal to build dealerships on a 60-acre parcel owned by “Dealin’ Doug” Moreland south of Westgate Center.

Moreland’s Fort Collins Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, along with Tynan’s Nissan and Tynan’s Kia, would move their Fort Collins operations to the site. Conceptual plans call for building the dealerships within view of I-25 and placing mixed-use retail buildings on the east side of the property.

Windsor Town Board members appear divided on the proposal, with some saying they believe the dealerships could be made compatible with nearby subdivisions.

“I don’t want to lose an opportunity for this community,” said Board Member Ivan Adams, “I think it’s been well planned, well designed.”

But other said they weren’t certain they would want dealerships at the interchange for years to come, potentially attracting more dealerships.

Board member Christian Morgan said the town should consider how the dealerships would mesh with plans elsewhere along the I-25 corridor for recreation facilities. Windsor is involved with a project to attract tourism to the area through features such as a water park.

Morgan said he wouldn’t want to see cars parked on grassy areas and on public streets, as is common around busy Fort Collins dealerships.

FOCO: Officials want high standards at I-25/392 interchange

“I don’t how we are going to deal with the issues that plague car dealerships.” Morgan said.

The dealerships have yet to file a land-use application for the land with the town. Windsor would have authority over the land use, but would advise Fort Collins on its decision.

Allowing a dealership would require amending the IGA for the interchange. Any amendment would have to be approved by the Windsor board and the Fort Collins council. The interchange is considered a “gateway” to both communities.

Having high design standards is critical, said Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell.

“Really I want the highest and best use for that interchange,” Troxell said.

The current IGA lists permitted land uses in the area, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, hotels, retail stores of various sizes and restaurants.

At the time the agreement was negotiated in 2009, officials seemed more focused on what not to allow at the interchange than what would be permissible, said Windsor Mayor John Vazquez.

One of the reasons for excluding car dealerships was how they have developed elsewhere along I-25, such as in northern metro Denver.

Residents of the Country Meadows and Country Farms subdivisions, which sit between Larimer County Road 5 and the interstate, have raised concerns the impacts a dealership complex would have on traffic, noise and property values.

Kevin Duggan is a Coloradoan senior reporter covering local government. Follow him on Twitter, @coloradoan_dugg, and on Facebook at Coloradoan Kevin Duggan.

A rendering of a proposed auto dealership complex south of Westgate in Windsor.  Residents of the nearby Country Meadows subdivision are opposed to the project.

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