Bureaucratic Bullying Kills Jobs
I love history. It entertains, it amazes, and, most of all, it informs. Regarding the latter point, as George Santayana said ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ (As a total aside, that’s why the current fascination with socialism is astonishing. How quickly we seem to have forgotten the lessons of the not-so-distant past.)
Sometimes, however, something is less historic than it is just plan old. So it is with the so-called ‘historic’ silos on Woodward’s new corporate headquarters site.
In case you aren’t familiar with the matter, when Woodward bought the old Link-N-Greens 9-hole golf course east of downtown a couple of years ago to develop for their new headquarters and manufacturing plant, company leaders announced their intentions to restore some of the old farm structures on the site. Included was a barn, some out buildings and two silos.
Good intentions went out the window, however, when independent assessments of the structures revealed that the silos were unsafe. Not willing to lose them completely, Woodward decided to repurpose them by bringing them down to a safe height and using them for outdoor seating and historic interpretation.
At that point, the bureaucracy and activist groups started in. Over the past 7 months the City’s Building Review Board has done the following:
September 18, 2015 – City Building Officer declares Silos Dangerous
October 29, 2015 – Woodward appeals Building Officer decision to Building Review Board, Board supports Building Officer decision
January 19, 2016 – City Council hears the appeal and refers the issue back to the Building Review Board to re-evaluate
March 7, 2016 – Building Review Board revisits the issue and continues to declare the silos dangerous, but not imminently dangerous.
April 19, 2016 – City Council will hear an appeal by Woodward of that decision. This is a quasi-judicial hearing based on the merits of the issue.
Neither the Chamber as an organization, nor any of you, are a “party of interest” in this decision, but we need your support. Council cannot receive new written materials on the matter, as they are considered “ex parte”, but we can alert them to the challenges occurring in the development review process (without naming Woodward) and attend the meeting to show support.
In addition to this process, the City’s Landmark Preservation Commission is trying to get the entire Woodward site re-designated as historic.
This whole experience is an example of how difficult it is for businesses to get something done in Fort Collins. It’s time to fix the development review process, especially as it relates to historic preservation.
A quiet show of support for Woodward Tuesday night is a great place to begin.