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Loveland City Manager’s Calendar Changed to Remove Meetings with Developer McWhinney

EDITORIAL REPORTING

By Jessica Schneider

Editor of The Loveland Voice

June 6, 2023



It’s been a long three years for Loveland residents who are paying attention.


When the public learned in 2021 that Karen Garner was assaulted by officers from the Loveland

Police Department in 2020, the community of less than 80 thousand people expressed outrage

and demanded change in the structure of LPD and more transparency in local government.


When City Manager Steve Adams, who alone holds power over LPD, and in fact many facets of

our City, was charged in 2022 with criminal harassment of investigative journalist, Stacy Lynne,

in a Larimer County courthouse, trust was further eroded. When Adams was rewarded with a

raise and never put on leave during the investigation, in contrast to other City employees who

have been fired or put on unpaid leave for far less, things got worse.


In 2023, the Centerra South development proposed by McWhinney, was approved by the

majority of The Loveland Urban Renewal Authority Board (LURA) and City Council in just over

two months of review, despite Larimer County removing themselves from negotiations. In doing

so, this body diverted approximately 147.5 million dollars of tax revenue from the Loveland

general fund for at least 25 years.


Why did the County pause negotiations? Larimer County Commissioner Jody

Shadduck-McNally said, when she cast her “no” vote during the LURA Board meeting on May

16th, 2023, “I believe that this tool (URA) is being exploited... It doesn’t smell right, it doesn’t

look right and it doesn’t feel right. I cannot support this.”


Commissioner Shadduck-McNally also said during the meeting that she believes there is an

intent in the future to capture the County’s tax increment despite their pause in negotiations.


A Tale of Two Developments

If you drive East from Loveland’s City Center towards Centerra you will see, as of this writing,

Journey Homes development nearly built out south of Hwy 34. To the east of the Journey

development you will see an alfalfa field surrounding a red barn, a McWhinney legacy,

depending on who you are listening to... Or a “dusty old field,” as Loveland Economic

Development Director Kelly Jones described it to the Colorado House Agriculture Committee on


While it appears that McWhinney has been meeting regularly with City Leadership since 2021 (see below),

City Manager Adams stated during the May 16th LURA Board meeting that he has never met

with the Journey homes developers in person.



Steve Adam's calendar
Photo of Steve Adam's calendar


What’s Next?

In regards to how the finances will play out, and in regard to affordable housing, we don’t really

know, as the Master Financing Agreement is not finalized.

Is the Centerra South proposal a done deal? It appears that way, although a recent injunction

filed against the City by downtown business owner Bill Jensen, over lack of legal and proper

public notice, is a new case to watch.


That appears to be a disproportionate amount of work for a City to do on behalf of a single

developer. Further, upon examination of the Adams’ calendar and his vocal admission that he

has never met with Journey homes in person, it appears that the City is showing undue

favoritism to developer McWhinney, compared to other developers.

If we are dealing with City leadership favoring one developer over another, how does that

impact how our community develops?


The Affordable Housing Crisis

Loveland is dealing with an affordable housing crisis. People on fixed incomes, families and

young educated people are all making incredibly hard decisions about potentially being forced

out of their homes and the community due to rising housing costs. Homeowners are trying to

figure out how to deal with soaring property tax evaluations. Rents in Loveland have risen 33.3

percent in just one year, according to Fox 31 Denver.


LURA Commissioner Steve Johnson addressed this in his no vote for the Centerra South URA

proposal, saying, “Is there a clear, salient, important public good that justifies spending 147.5

million taxpayer dollars on that project?”


“One thing that would cause me to support this project would be a commitment to affordable

housing. We don’t see that. So I can’t support it.”


Contradicting Calendars: The Devil is in the Details

Under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) City Manager Steve Adams, the most powerful

and highly paid official in the City of Loveland was asked to release his calendar to the public.

This request was made twice. Once in 2021, and very recently in 2023. The calendar requests

were similar, and overlapped by a six week period between June and August of 2021.

The calendar dates during this six week overlap differ in a significant way: Several of City

Manager Steve Adams’ meetings with McWhinney representatives were erased or altered from

the second CORA request for his calendar.


Why were meetings released under CORA in 2021, deleted or completely changed in 2023,

despite all of the meeting dates being in the past?


We contacted Assistant City Manager Rod Wensing for comment, who asked that the Office of

Community Engagement respond to our inquiry. OCE then referred us to the City Clerk’s office

for comment. Sterling Wilson, Assistant City Clerk explained the purpose of redactions, but

when pressed about meetings specific to McWhinney and Kim Perry, said he did not know why

these items were changed or omitted between the time of the first CORA request in 2021 and

the second in 2023.


Is changing a public official’s calendar illegal? Or simply unethical? Where is that line?

Below is a sampling of the contradictions between the 2021 and 2023 versions of City Manager

Adams’ calendar. Future articles will outline the multitude of meetings that the City has held with

McWhinney representatives since at least 2021.



Loveland City Manager Steve Adams’ Calendar**

Records released in 2021 (CORA #1)

Compare to:

the same dates released in 2023 (CORA #2)




I contacted two additional Loveland developers who have not responded to comment as of

publication of this article. An associate of a developer who has requested anonymity, due to fear

of retaliation from City Hall for a potential development, said, “Developers frequently do not

approach the City with proposals because they know that deck is stacked against them, in favor

of McWhinney.”


Are we dealing with a quasi-monopoly on development in Loveland, aided by City leadership?


What is the Price of Potential Favoritism?

Metro fees add costs to the homeowner or business owner of the buildings proposed in

Centerra South. The Journey Homes development adjacent to Centerra South has no Metro

fees. Will this result in different price points? Are these costs being transparently communicated

to potential buyers or investors?


We will continue to explore these questions in an ongoing series of articles.


A Crisis of Trust

What happens when residents no longer trust their representatives, their police, and the

decision-makers who decide how their tax dollars will be spent?


What happens when people and families who are struggling to make ends meet, to provide

stable shelter, keep their kids in the same schools, or age into the community they have

invested into for a lifetime... But they cannot afford to do so?


We are going to see the impacts play out as local elections and candidates prepare for the

November 2023 election, to be sure.

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