Developer wants to build duplexes along West 50th Avenue

Neighbors say project does not fit community's character

Paul Albani-Burgio
palbaniburgio@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 9/8/21

A developer plans to seek county approval to rezone 4.2 acres of agricultural land along West 50th Avenue west of Eldridge Street so it can build nine duplexes there. During an Aug. 30 community …

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Developer wants to build duplexes along West 50th Avenue

Neighbors say project does not fit community's character

Posted

A developer plans to seek county approval to rezone 4.2 acres of agricultural land along West 50th Avenue west of Eldridge Street so it can build nine duplexes there.

During an Aug. 30 community meeting, civil engineer David Theisen pitched the plan to rezone the site on the southwest corner of West 50th Avenue and Flora Street to a group of generally unenthusiastic neighbors. Theisen said the developer’s goal is to rezone the site to Residential 2 zoning, which allows single family homes and duplexes.

Theisen said the surrounding area is made up mostly of residential zoning districts with a few agricultural districts in the mix. He pitched the plan as one that would bring more housing to an area where it is often difficult to find.

“18 families will get a new home out of this deal and I think that is a really good thing for all of the people who are looking for homes right now,” Theisen said.

However, Theisen got an earful from several neighbors who said the project is not a fit for the community, which they feel has a low-density and agricultural feel and should remain that way.

That was the point raised by Danielle Burr, who argued that the integrity of the neighborhood comes from its agricultural background and the many small farms and horse properties that give it so much character.

“I appreciate that packing as many people as you can into a five-acre property is very profitable,” she said. “But I think in terms of the integrity of the neighborhood, people who have been here for as long time are really opposed to this because we’ve all experienced the traffic and the congestion from the building that’s already happening in the area.”

Area resident Jim Little then asked if there was a comprehensive plan for the area and if it would allow such development.

Jefferson County Planner Fritz Clauson, who is handling the rezoning case, said there is a comprehensive plan and that it recommends a density of 2.5 dwelling units per acre for the property. However, the density of the proposed duplex development would be 4.1 units per acre.

When a development proposal is higher in density than the area comprehensive plan calls for, the county planning commission and county commissioners consider several criteria, including the impacts of the proposed land use, how those impacts will be mitigated and any changes in circumstances in the area since the comprehensive plan was approved.

Little then stated that he is opposed to the development because it exceeds the density allowed in the comprehensive plan.

“We didn’t move here to live in a high density neighborhood,” he said. “We moved here because of the open spaces.”

Another commenter, Joel Day, said he lived four parcels down from the proposed development and took issue with an assertion made by Theisen that there are other duplexes in the area, which he said is not true.

Day said he was concerned about the amount of development on his street, which has gone from 18 to 36 homes over 20 years, and the impact of duplexes on his property value.

“Duplexes typically become rental properties and rental properties are not going to help our resale value in this neighborhood, which we care about greatly,” he said. “And if you guys look, the houses behind you are multimillion dollar homes and I don’t think they want to look at duplexes either.”

Day argued that the developer should consider a development that would adhere to the comprehensive plan, which would allow for up to 10 detached single family homes on the site.

Following the meeting, the developer will have one year to formally apply to rezone the property. The rezoning application would ultimately be voted on by the county commissioners.

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