NCA statement #3 on Niwot Incorporation – Who & What

Niwot Incorporation Proposal: Who & What

This is the third message in a series of publications from the NCA in response to the proposal by Niwot Exploratory Incorporation Survey Committee (hereon NEISC) to incorporate Niwot.  This information is being provided to fulfill our charter as a conduit of information so that residents within the NCA service area can be well informed.  Please note, not all NCA members live within the boundaries of the proposed incorporation area (see below).  This message is informational only and should not be interpreted as a statement either FOR or AGAINST incorporation.

The NCA board does not advocate or endorse any specific issue or candidate.  We will survey our members and the general public to capture and report their views on incorporation after concluding this series of publications.

Has Incorporation Been Considered Before?

Over the decades there have been several in depth discussions and preliminary research into incorporating Niwot into a town.  The NCA itself has researched the idea twice, the most recent study being in 2011 in an effort to find a solution to the subdivision road paving issue. After working with Mead Town Manager Dan Dean, the NCA concluded that incorporation was not a viable solution to solve the subdivision road issue because of the full scope of city services that would need to be provided and the tax burden it would place upon the residents and businesses.

Who Is Now Proposing that Niwot Incorporate

The NEISC website lists the following people as committee members ( and notes that all are residents of the Niwot community.  All but one reside within the boundaries of the proposed incorporation area.

Cotton Burden

President, Burden Incorporated

Real estate investment, development, and brokerage

**Owns/operates 2 commercial properties in Niwot business district

Rlet Properties Niwot, LLC

Tim and Mary Coonce

Founders, Porchfront Homes

Architecture and construction

**Own their business property in the Niwot business district

Porchfront Homes at Niwot, LLC

Damien D’Apolito

Managing Partner,
Nourish and Company

Health and wellness

Tennant of 240 2nd Avenue owned by:

Postle Properties VI, LLC

Bob Di Scipio

CEO, Skyland Leadership

Information Technology

Tennant of 7916 Niwot Road owned by:

Postle Properties VI, LLC

Steve Lehan

Au Pair International

Childcare services

Somerset Estates HOA board member
Anne Postle

Architect, Osmosis Architecture

Architecture and construction

**Owns/operates 5 commercial properties in Niwot business district.

A E Olson, LLC
Postle Properties IV, LLC
Postle Properties V, LLC
Postle Properties VI, LLC

Tony Santelli


Former owner Niwot Tavern Former NBA President
Cornelia Sawle

Owner, Niwot Inn

Hospitality Industry

Owns/operates 1 commercial property in Niwot business district.

Niwot Inn & Spa, LLC

The original study was performed over the summer of 2019
and was funded by NEISC committee member donations
Abigail Olson


Arizona State University Daughter of Anne Postle


What Is Being Proposed by the NEISC?

From the NEISC website, the proposal is to form an incorporated town in the area bounded by Highway 119 to the west, Mineral Road / Highway 52 to the south, North 95th Street to the east, and Dry Creek to the north (click for map):

“Niwot becomes an incorporated town. Through local sales taxes,
property taxes and other revenue streams Niwot’s local government
provides local services and road maintenance and


Incorporation would result in Niwot becoming the Town of Niwot and establishment of a local government that would be solely responsible for providing all services for the town.

Consolidated Control

The most significant change would be that control of all planning would be shifted from Boulder County.  Zoning and land use for both commercial and residential properties would be controlled by the new town government.  The NEISC claims that a consolidation of control will create uniform planning and expedite the development decision making process.

The following entities will be dissolved under the NEISC incorporation proposal.  The government oversight and policy recommendations that these groups perform would be gone leaving the new town government in sole control of all development decisions.

It is impossible to predict how zoning codes would change as that depends on public sentiment and how the newly and future elected officials implement the will of the people.

  • Niwot Local Improvement district (LID)
    Formed in partnership with Boulder County, the LID collects a 1.00% sales tax on most transactions in the Niwot Business district.  Collected funds are used to promote the vitality of the Niwot business district and is administered by a committee of local business and community members.  The public can apply to be on the committee and the NBA and NCA are allowed to nominate, but final committee appointments are made by the Boulder County Commissioners.

    • The NEISC proposes an “Economic Vitality Fund” with equivalent funding as the LID, but the committee and its oversight would be removed leaving all decisions to the new town government.


  • Niwot Rural Community District (NRCD) – Design Review Committee
    Created to recognize the unique semi-rural character of Niwot, the NRCD district is roughly the Old Town Niwot business district, Second Avenue between the BNSF railroad tracks and Niwot Road.  It was originally founded over 25 years ago, went inactive over the past decade, and was reformed last year as part of the Boulder County Land Use code update that followed the development moratorium.  This advisory committee is a referral agency for all proposed development within the NRCD and its committee members are business and community members some of whom were nominated by Niwot organizations (NBA & NCA) and appointed by the Boulder County Commissioners.  This committee does NOT have the authority to approve/deny development requests but makes recommendations that are strongly considered by the Planning Commission and County Commissioners.

    • The NEISC has no proposed replacement.  All development decisions would be made solely by the new town government.


  • Niwot Historic District, partners with the Historic Preservation Advisory Board (HPAB)
    The historic district is contained within the NRCD, Second Avenue between Murray Street and Franklin Street plus 210 Franklin (former Colterra site).  Members of the HPAB are appointed by the Boulder County Commissioners to provide guidance to the county on historic preservation issues.  A local group of business owners and community members work with the HPAB to help protect the historic character of the Niwot district.

    • The NEISC has no proposed replacement, but states (but cannot predict future town policies) that the new town government “…will preserve the jewels of Niwot’s historic district.”  All development decisions would be made solely by the new town government.


Oversight in action

Here are two examples of how these committees influenced downtown Niwot development:

Niwot Inn – 342 Second Ave, Niwot (1998)
The NRCD-DRC recommended AGAINST a proposal for the Niwot Inn citing that the 3-story building with roman arch/column architecture was not compatible with the character of the surrounding area.  Boulder County adopted this opinion and worked with the applicant to revise the plans to be the 2-story craftsman style building that it is today.

NRCD-DRC Letter Image

Mogli Technologies – 104 Second Ave, Niwot
Contrary to the Boulder County request that this in-fill project build to the front property like the surrounding buildings, the NCRC-DRC and Historic District sided with the developer (Anne Postle) that the front courtyard be preserved.  Citing another property in the historic district with a similar setback (165 Second Ave), Boulder County withdrew their request and approved the proposed plan.

Local Government and Services

Effectively replacing Boulder County, the new town will have to provide all the services currently provided by the county.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Government:
    Operate as a statutory municipality for the first year, then in 2022 holding elections to form a government to install for 2023 that consists of:


Role Estimated Annual 2023 Cost*
Mayor $12,000
6-member town council   ($6,000 each)   $36,000
Town manager $83,000
Town clerk / Court clerk / administrator $50,000
Services contracted to individuals, companies, or providers
Public Safety (see below) $156,000
City attorney / prosecutor $34,000
Public works service $200,000
Municipal Court/Contract Judge $16,000
Planning and Development (see below) $80,000
* Not the complete draft budget, a separate message will be
devoted to analyzing the NEISC proposed budget


  • Public Safety:
    The Boulder County Sheriff’s office will be contracted to provide “start up” services: Weekday daytime only dedicated coverage, with supervision, backup, and weekend / nighttime coverage by existing district area deputies.

    • Sheriff Joe Pelle stated (Jan 28, 2020):
      • This would be some extra dedicated presence, traffic enforcement, and patrols for limited hours.
      • A “bare bones” level of service
      • Recommends that a contract similar to Lyons would be his preference.  Total cost: About $336,000 in 2020 dollars.


  • Planning and Development, replacing Boulder County Land Use / Zoning:
    Replacing services currently provided by Boulder County Land Use, start off by inheriting all current Boulder County zoning and planning rules. Hiring a full-time city employee responsible for land use code administration, and development/inspection/enforcement services.  Over time, the new government would maintain, modify, and enforce zoning and planning codes.As stated above, how the new and future governments decide to change the zoning codes is impossible to predict.

    • Just as with Boulder County:
      • The cost of permit application and site inspection/compliance would be at the expense of the applicant
      • Inspections would be contracted to independent contractors but administered by the town administrator


  • Public Works, replacing a multitude of Boulder County services like Transportation:
    • Road maintenance, pot-hole repair, road integrity
    • Snowplowing and street sweeping
    • General maintenance, sidewalks, road signs, open space (other than space owned by the county)
    • Form inter-governmental agreements (IGA) with county and neighboring cities to define responsibilities.

Not considered in the NEISC proposal are all Boulder County Department services and which of those will no longer be available to an incorporated Niwot and need to be provided by the new town government.

  1. Community Services
  2. Community Planning and Permitting
  3. Animal Control
  4. Housing and Human Services
  5. Public Health
  6. Septic System Permitting and Compliance
  7. Budget and Finance
  8. Sustainability, Climate Action, and Resilience
  9. Elections
  10. And a multitude of other services

The NCA will be conducting a community survey that will be open to NCA members and the general public and will be reported in two ways: first by confirmed NCA members, and secondly from the public in general. We feel that the first version carries more weight because voters are prevented from voting multiple times. Survey results will be openly reported and available to the public on our website.

Please feel free to forward this and upcoming messages to your neighbors and friends, and be sure to visit the NCA website for additional details on this very important topic:

Updated: 27 February, 2020 — 9:42 pm