The next big issue looming on the Board of Trustee’s agenda is the renegotiation of our Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Boulder County. The IGA is a legal agreement that sets the framework for cooperation between Lyons and Boulder County in terms of land use issues and a range of other areas of common objectives. It also defines how far Lyons will be able to expand its Town limits over the next decade and it stipulates what both parties can do in the land that surrounds Lyons, defined as the Lyons Planning Area (or LPA).
The current IGA with Boulder County was signed by Lyons in early 2003 and extends to the end of next year. That IGA reflected the Town’s goals and objectives of the 1998 Lyons Comprehensive Plan. With the updated Comprehensive Plan in 2010, Lyons is looking to revise the IGA with the County to bring it into alignment with the current vision for our community for the next 10 years. This includes an expansion in the Lyons Planning Area in particular to the east to create a basis for a more economically sustainable basis for Lyons’ future. Two of the guiding principles of the 2010 Comprehensive Plan are to clearly articulate the Town’s interests in expanding the Lyons’ Planning Area (LPA); and to improve and maintain our relationships with neighboring municipal and county governments.
One of the County’s goals in these IGAs is to protect the rural nature of the land between municipalities and avoid sprawl. Building rural preservation buffers between towns and cities has also reduced competition between municipalities in Boulder County to grow into their neighbor’s space. This is consistent with broader policies of smart growth, as reflected in the Lyons Comprehensive Plan and our regional commitments to the Denver Regional Council of Governments Metro Vision 2035 land use plan for our region which seeks to concentrate growth in compact walkable urban centers, with transit-friendly land use, and mixed-uses which puts workplaces, homes and services closer together. This tends to make more fiscal sense, concentrating services and infrastructure in a more compact space and avoiding the costs of maintaining spread out infrastructure.
Over the next several months, the BOT will be consulting with the public and Planning Commission and entering into negotiations with the County on the details of a renewed IGA. While it is premature to predict the final content of any agreement, Lyons will be looking for a significant expansion in our potential economic base and a way to control any future open space purchases in land that has development potential in the areas surrounding Lyons. At the same time, we will be looking at ways to control the risks of urban sprawl and protect Lyons’ small town nature and quality of life and preserve the environmental in and around town. We will be discussing broader areas of cooperation with the County, like trail connections to Lyons, possible locations for services like recycling, composting and wastewater treatment, planning of the St Vrain River corridor, historic preservation, and other areas of mutual interest.
The IGA is an important part of our overall relationship with the County. We work on a great many issues with the County, from projects like the stoplight at Stone Canyon, expanded bus service and the ecopasses, services for seniors, affordable housing and many other areas. While there will no doubt be areas where we do not agree, we have both a strong relationship with the County and a clear set of community objectives laid out in the our Comprehensive Plan to provide guidance.
I am confident that the BOT and staff will be able to develop a framework agreement with Boulder County that reflects our community values and aspirations and sets the stage for the next ten years.
Mayor Julie Van Domelen