The Learning Experience is a proposed new development for a daycare facility at River Pass Road and Summerfield Parkway.
Current land use and zoning regulations allow for a daycare facility on this site. When a project fits within the existing zoning regulations, it’s called a “use by right” – meaning the developer has the legal right to build a project that fits within that use. Use by right applications do not require Neighborhood or Public Meetings.
However, because this project has generated so much interest, the Town of Timnath is now facilitating the sharing of information about the project.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is a daycare center even allowed on this property?
Yes. Back when the zoning for the Timnath Ranch development was established in 2007, this property was zoned as commercial. Specifically, the zoning allows for a “Care Center” which includes a childcare facility such as the developer and the Learning Experience are proposing.
How will this impact the neighborhood? Is it common to have a daycare embedded in a neighborhood?
As this piece of property was always planned as commercial, the Timnath Ranch development was built to accommodate a non-residential use on this site. That said, new development inevitably causes some changes. The developer and the Learning Experience are working to find ways to smoothly integrate this project into the surrounding area and have made recent changes to their development plan to address neighborhood concerns (see below for details).
Having a daycare facility as a part of a residential area is not uncommon, in fact, Fort Collins has several including a very similar center called The Goddard School in the West Chase neighborhood located off of South Timberline Road.
Topic: Communication and Process
Why wasn’t a public meeting held for this project?
Because a daycare facility is allowed on this site according to our land use and zoning regulations, a public meeting was not required. When a project fits within the existing zoning regulations, it’s called a “use by right” – meaning the developer has the legal right to build a project that fits within that use.
It’s similar to buying a vacant lot in Timnath Ranch and building your home. Because a house is allowed by zoning regulations, your project would be called a “use by right” and you wouldn’t have to hold a neighborhood meeting either. Your house plans are submitted to the Town for review and approval, and then the builder constructs the home.
So, who approves the project and makes sure that it fits with the land use and zoning regulations?
An allowed use by right and the “Development Site Plan” application that comes with it, are first reviewed by Town Planning and Engineering Staff and referral agencies, which are service providers such as Poudre Fire Authority, Fort Collins Loveland Water District, South Fort Collins, Sanitation District. The application is then reviewed by the Planning Commission against the Town’s land use code review criteria for a Development Site Plan and then approved by the Planning Commission without a public hearing since it is a permitted “use by right”. Upon approval of the Planning Commission, the developer may continue directly to a building permit and begin construction of the project.
Do I have any say in what the building looks like?
Again, as long as the building fits within the original land use and zoning guidelines created in 2007, the developer has the right to build what works best for the project and that meets the land use code criteria.
Back to the example of building your house – if your home plans fit within the guidelines of the community, you can make design choices that best fit your needs. Imagine if you purchased land with the intention of building your dream home (which aligned with the neighborhood zoning requirements). Once you applied for your building permit, your neighbors told you that you had change your design plans because they didn’t like them. It’s your property, and as long as you’re following the requirements, you have the right to build what you want.
What are waivers and why are they being considered?
Waivers are requests for minor deviations from the Town Land Use Code. The deviations are usually smaller details so that the project stays consistent with original intent of the code. Waivers must be approved by Town Council.
For this project, the developer and Learning Experience requested three waivers. Two were related to landscaping requirements that would ultimately help create additional parking. And one was related to moving the entrance to River Pass Road to help reduce traffic impacts to Tuxedo Park Road.
Why was this location selected?
The Learning Experience selected this site in Timnath because of the attractive demographics of the community. This site was specifically identified because it has commercial zoning, which allows for a daycare, and it is centrally located to a majority of the population and families in Timnath.
Why was the original entrance off of Tuxedo Park Road proposed?
The original Town-approved plans for the Timnath Ranch subdivision showed the entrance to this piece of property on Tuxedo Park Road, so the developer was simply following the original plan.
Is it possible to move the entrance to the site from Tuxedo Park Road to River Pass Road?
Yes, the applicant (developer) met with staff and requested a waiver to allow for the entrance to be on River Pass Road (see attached exhibit showing the revised location). Moving the entrance will minimize traffic along Tuxedo Park Road and move much of the daycare traffic to Three Bell Parkway or Summerfields Parkway.
How will this new daycare impact traffic in the neighborhood?
When Timnath Ranch was built, each road was classified based on the amount of traffic anticipated due to the area’s land use and zoning. The traffic generated by this daycare facility, along with all of the existing homes on Tuxedo Park Road, falls within the pre-established local street classification.
As part of the development application process, the applicant must provide a memo and documentation demonstrating that the anticipated traffic matches with the overall traffic impact study prepared with the original development.
Is there anything else the developer can do to minimize traffic in the neighborhood?
To further minimize traffic impacts, the applicant has requested a waiver to move the entrance of the facility completely to River Pass Road. With this change, the majority of traffic will utilize Three Bell Parkway or Summerfields Parkway, and then access the entrance and parking lot from River Pass Road.
Can you explain the traffic flow plan for this site?
Drop off and pickup as outlined in the Learning Experience Operations Plan indicates that all parents/guardians are asked to enter into the parking lot from River Pass Road, park their car, and enter the building to drop off or pickup their children.
Does this traffic plan take into account Bethke Elementary car traffic?
The original traffic study for the entire subdivision considered a commercial use on this site and Bethke in full buildout. The traffic analysis plan provided with this application shows traffic spread out over a three-hour period in the morning and afternoons and aligns with original traffic study.
Has this traffic plan considered pedestrian and bike traffic that occurs for those getting to Bethke Elementary in the morning?
In general, traffic studies don’t take into account pedestrian and bike traffic for a specific use. However, there are sidewalks and crosswalks provided throughout the neighborhood to help pedestrians travel safely.
The daycare is located near the Town Park. Is there a plan to increase pedestrian safety to this space through the neighborhood with the additional traffic this business would create?
Pedestrian access to the park from the daycare will be at the intersection of Summerfields Parkway and River Pass Road at the designated crosswalk. This is the safest place to cross to the Town’s Community Park.
It sounds like the original plan included 35 parking spots total. With 24 teachers, this doesn’t leave a lot of room for additional cars. Will staff park in the same lot as guests? If all spots are filled, where will additional cars park?
The Town’s code requires a minimum of 19 spaces based on the size of this facility. The Learning Experience has determined that 35 parking spaces is optimal for a facility of this size. The way that the staffing is distributed, 30% of the staff are part-time and only present during the middle of the day. With full-time staff only taking up about 16-17 spaces during the staggered 3-hour window for pickup and drop off, this leaves an additional 17-18 parking spaces free during pickup and drop off times when only full-time staff are present.
Is there a plan to mitigate neighborhood street parking?
Regardless of where they’re heading, visitors, guests, residents, parents, neighbors etc. are all permitted to park legally on Tuxedo Park Road. While, there could be some parking on Tuxedo Park Road by patrons of the daycare, it would likely only take place during pickup and drop off times and it should be minimal and for short durations. As a courtesy to the residents, The Learning Experience will communicate with parents and staff to discourage parking along Tuxedo Park Road.
Can we remove parking at Tuxedo Park Road?
Tuxedo Park Road is a public road which allows for parking. Making Tuxedo Park Road a no-park street will negatively impact the residents and guests of the homes along the street.
What kind of spacing is planned between the building and the homes already built in the neighborhood?
The site plan shows a landscape buffer on the west side of the parking lot along with a privacy fence. On the north and south sides of the parking lot there is a landscape buffer. The building is located appropriately on the site and meets the required setbacks. There is also a privacy fence around the play area as a consideration to the nearby homes.
Are there plans to help control the speed of vehicles traveling on Tuxedo Park Road?
We expect everyone driving in Timnath to obey the speed limit! With the entrance being proposed off of River Pass Road, the traffic on Tuxedo Park Road should be reduced.
Is there a plan to increase visibility at the Tuxedo Road and Summerfields intersection for those turning north?
The site plan has taken into account sight distance triangles from Tuxedo Park Road to Summerfields Parkway. The project won’t further impair the visibility.
How do I find out about new and proposed projects?
Information related to new and proposed projects is posted on the Town’s development under review webpage. For commercial properties, we also post development proposal signs onsite to notify residents that a development proposal has been submitted. Plus, Town Staff is available to answer questions and share the proposal information with the public throughout the development review process.
If you should have additional questions that were not answered, please submit those questions to Planning@timnathgov.com. Town Staff will review those questions and respond.
- Alternative Site Plan showing access from River Pass Road
- Traffic memo
- The Learning Experience Operations Plan
- Example of traffic impacts at a similarly sized center in Cooper City