Superior residents sue town, trustees, developer of controversial Town Square project

SuperiorCoalCreekRender1.png

Coal Creek Innovation Campus could add more than 1,200 jobs. Source: Superior planning documents.

This story first ran on BizWest.com, a BusinessDen news partner.

Locals appear willing to exhaust all available avenues to overturn a controversial split decision by Superior’s Board of Trustees that paved the way for construction of a massive life-science project that will transform the town’s downtown.

Just days after a pair of Superior residents began circulating a petition that would either force a repeal of the trustees approval of plans for the $280-million Coal Creek Innovation Campus or send the matter to the voters in a special election, two other residents are suing the the town, its elected officials and project developers PMB LLC, RC Superior LLC and Civil Resources LLC.

Coal Creek will include four buildings totaling more than 366,000 square feet. The project is expected to break ground early next year with completion expected in the second half of 2024.

The development has faced opposition by some residents on the basis of proposed building heights, the potential presence of hazardous materials, overall density, the inability for office space to energize the downtown area, and lack of transparency in the review process.

Last month’s vote was mired in controversy as Superior Trustee Laura Skladzinski, who attended the meeting virtually, logged out prior to casting what could have been a deciding vote against the development.

Before leaving the Zoom meeting, Skladzinski spoke in opposition to the project, saying that she doesn’t believe that “the life sciences campus will activate downtown.”

In a blog post after the meeting, Skladzinski wrote that she “suspected a vote would be 4-2 in favor of the life sciences campus being approved” and took issue with the board’s decision to extend the meeting beyond 11 p.m.

The lawsuit, filed this week in Boulder County District Court by Daniel Rice and Lauren Schneidewind, argues that the board erred in failing to follow its own rules regarding trustees who are present for a meeting but don’t cast a vote on a particular agenda item.

Citing Superior town code, the complaint said, “[E]ach board member who is present at a meeting shall vote when the  question is called. Any board member who refuses to vote, except when abstaining pursuant to  this article, shall be deemed guilty of misconduct in office, and a negative vote shall be cast and recorded in the board member’s name.”

If Skladzinski’s non-vote were cast and recorded as a vote in opposition to the development, approval would have failed.

The lawsuit asks a court to do just that, effectively nullifying the Coal Creek approval.

SuperiorCoalCreekRender1.png

Coal Creek Innovation Campus could add more than 1,200 jobs. Source: Superior planning documents.

Coal Creek will include four buildings totaling more than 366,000 square feet. The project is expected to break ground early next year with completion expected in the second half of 2024.

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