The owners of Bandimere Speedway are looking to rezone the property to a more permissive zoning that would allow them to build, say, a grocery store, restaurants or even houses on the site. However, …
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The owners of Bandimere Speedway are looking to rezone the property to a more permissive zoning that would allow them to build, say, a grocery store, restaurants or even houses on the site.
However, a planning manager for the Baseline Engineering Corporation that is working with the Bandimeres on their rezoning application, said the goal of the rezoning is not to close or remove the speedway.
“There is no plan to close the track or redevelop the property, I think that is a good point to make,” said Ethan Watel, the planning manager. “But if the track did close for some reason, financially or whatever it could be any reason, the only thing the property is allowed to be is a racetrack and there is no fallback plan. So it is sort of like an insurance policy to know what could go on the property if it’s not a track.”
Watel said the new zoning could also help support the track, as it would allow for “accessory uses to the track that would support the track like hotels, restaurants and retail that could be on the property with the track.”
According to the presentation, which was given at a community meeting on April 26, most of the 136-acre site is zoned for planned development, a flexible zoning category that allows specific permitted uses for a property to be outlined in an Official Development Plan filed with the county.
The Bandimere ODP, which was filed in 1994, permits mostly speedway-related uses, including vehicle racing, testing and development, driving school, speedway-related storage and special events. It also permits telecommunications facilities. Two parcels on the far north end of the speedway property are also zoned for agriculture.
During the presentation, Ethan Watel, a planning manager for the Baseline Engineering Corporation who is working with the Bandimere family on the rezoning effort, said the Bandimeres are currently looking to rezone the entire property under a new planned development zoning that would significantly increase what the property could be used for.
The ODP they are seeking would permit all the uses permitted in the category’s most permissive commercial and mixed-use zoning classifications as well as the second most permissive agricultural zoning classification. It would also permit indoor and outdoor storage and both public and commercial residential facilities.However, certain commercial uses that are allowed under the most permissive commercial zoning category (C-2) would be exempted, including sexually-oriented businesses, fabrication manufacturing facilities and cold storage plants.
The Bandimeres are also seeking to allow both detached and attached single-family homes and multifamily mixed-use residential developments. However, the proposed ODP would limit residential development on the site to a maximum of 400 units and contain triggers requiring retail development before commercial development could take place.
“The rezoning proposal is going to be written in such a way that it couldn’t develop entirely as a residential community,” Watel said. “The spirit of that is to meet the Jeffco Comprehensive Master Plan, which enviisions the property as large-scale commercial. The county doesn’t want the property to be all residential.”
According to the presentation, the proposed ODP would be broken into two sections: one outlining existing speedway uses and another for “future development to support the speedway.”
The presentation also pointed out that Jeffco’s South Plains Area Plan recommends that the Bandimere property be used for large-scale commercial uses, which are defined by the county as commercial uses that having a regional draw and include “all Neighborhood Commercial uses, retail, office and light industrial uses of any size as well as hotels and motels, hospitals and automobile dealerships.”
The Bandimeres will have a year from the date of the meeting, which the county requires all rezoning applicants to hold before a formal rezoning application can be submitted, to submit a formal rezoning application. However, Watel said on May 10 he expects an application to be submitted in the next month.
Following the meeting, county planner Justin Montgomery offered the following comments in the community meeting summary posted to the county website: “The applicant provided a brief history of how the speedway was originally developed. They then discussed the property boundaries/location and proposed uses for the property. The information provided was very general without any specific plans.”
When asked if it was likely the racetrack would still be on the property five years from now, Watel said he felt it was likely.
“I don’t know if I can say not being a Bandimere,” he said. “But my gut tells me ‘yes, the odds are good.’”
Watel also said that while he understood why people assume that the speedway will be closing when they hear about the rezoning, he said the main point is “to support the speedway and not have it be just a speedway but have those other uses around it that allow them to be successful.”
So why pursue this rezoning now if there are no plans to close the speedway?
“I think the Baandimeres would say that it is just about planning for the future and not having things be left over to the next generation,” Watel said.
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