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Longmont City Council on Tuesday is expected to consider authorizing staff to proceed with negotiating with Boulder County for the city’s participation in the $2.4 million purchase and future management of 73 acres of agricultural property west of Longmont.

Boulder County commissioners approved the acquisition in March, with the understanding that Longmont would eventually pay half the price of purchasing the property from Courtney and Brittany McLachlan at the northeast corner of North 65th Street and Nelson Road, about three-quarters of a mile west of Longmont’s city limits and adjacent to Clover Basin Reservoir.

Under the plan approved by the Board of County Commissioners, two lots — each about 2 acres — would be created and marketed for future sales to private buyers as single-family residential home sites, with Longmont and Boulder County sharing in the revenues from selling those two lots.

County staff has said selling both of the residential lots could earn about $1 million, with those proceeds reducing the county’s and city’s overall cost of the property purchase $1.4 million.

Longmont would eventually own and manage the remaining 69 acres of the entire property, with Boulder County holding a development-restricting conservation easement over it.

Longmont Land Program Manager Dan Wolford and Natural Resources Manager David Bell said in a memo to Council for Tuesday night’s meeting that acquisition of the property has been a city priority for years because of its adjacency to Clover Basin Reservoir.

“The city has a controlling interest in this body of water and staff believes it would benefit the city to acquire the land that surrounds it,” Wolford and Bell wrote.

They said Longmont’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board members also had voted unanimously in March to support the acquisition.

However, they said that as city staff prepared to move forward to work with the county for a joint-ownership deal, “we discovered that, in the six years of pursuing this property, it had not been formally presented to Council.”

Wolford and Bell wrote that staff is now asking for council’s direction on whether to work with the county to pursue jointly acquiring the McLachlan property.

“If directed to do so, staff would work with Boulder County to negotiate the appropriate cost split and management responsibilities for the property. Boulder County is aware that City Council has not provided city staff direction to negotiate this acquisition, but was willing to continue on their own with the purchase, knowing the significance of the property to the City and County.

“If Council directs staff not to pursue joint acquisition, the McLachlan property will remain under the County’s full control and there will be no obligation to the City,” Wolford and Bell said.

They said Boulder County has offered to let the city pay its share of the purchase price over time. The city staff said all of Longmont’s expenses for the acquisition would be eventually funded by revenues from its 0.2% open space sales and use tax.

“Even with the financial impacts of the coronavirus, this fund has the ability to cover the cost of this important open space acquisition,” Bell and Wolford wrote.

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