Jefferson County Open Space is now looking to acquire another property via a proposed land exchange with mining company Martin Marietta. On July 7, JCOS announced in a news release that it has been …
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Jefferson County Open Space is now looking to acquire another property via a proposed land exchange with mining company Martin Marietta.
On July 7, JCOS announced in a news release that it has been offered the chance to buy a 1,192-acre property adjacent to Mount Galbraith, Clear Creek Canyon and Centennial Cone Park. The property is owned by the Goltra family, which previously donated the 3,672-acre property that is now Centennial Cone Park.
However, the purchase will involve making some significant changes to an agreement JCOS entered into with Martin Marietta in 2020 that would have seen the company give JCOS about 120 acres of property in exchange for about 64 acres of JCOS property it would then be able to mine.
Among the properties that JCOS was to receive in that agreement was the 56.34-acre site of the former Heritage Square amusement park, which is now almost completely torn down. JCOS had announced that it was intending to then sell that site, which it says is not suitable for open space development, with the proceeds from the sale going to fund open space purchases elsewhere in the county.
However, JCOS said in the release that when the opportunity to purchase the Goltra property, the agency asked if it would fund the purchase of that property instead of giving it the Heritage Square property. Martin Marietta agreed and will also pay JCOS $150,000 per year for 30 years to help fund future JCOS property acquisitions. The purchasing price of the Goltra property has not been disclosed by JCOS.
While JCOS would no longer acquire Heritage Square if the modified agreement moves forward, it will still acquire several surrounding properties, including two properties totaling about 70 acres just south of Heritage Square. In total, JCOS will acquire 1,267 acres in the modified exchange.
The agreement also calls for JCOS to receive the land currently occupied by Martin Marietta’s mine once mining activities are complete, including the 64-acre site that will go to Martin Marietta now in the exchange. JCOS is discussing using that land, which will be impacted by mining activities, for a future reservoir.
JCOS calls the new proposed exchange a “win/win.”
“The acquisition of this beautiful property continues our nearly 50-year long legacy of preserving land for conservation and public enjoyment. We are so pleased to work with the conservation minded Goltra family and Martin Marietta Materials to bring this to fruition,” said JCOS Director Tom Hoby in the release.
Hoby also noted that JCOS would now be acquiring over twice as much property as it did in a similar 2004 exchange with LeFarge, the previous owner of the mine now owned by Martin Marietta.
However, before the deal can be finalized, it will first need to be considered at a Jeffco Open Space Advisory Committee meeting on Aug. 5. The Advisory Committee will make a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners, which will then make a final decision on the proposal in August or September. Both the committee meeting and the commissioners’ hearing will include an opportunity to make public comment.
JCOS has not yet provided an exact location for what portion of the Goltra ranch property that is to be acquired.
The Heritage Square property is currently zoned for planned unit development, a customizable zoning category. The current Heritage Square PUD permits several uses, including business and office park uses, retail stores, restaurants and outdoor retail compatible with recreation.
If Martin Marietta were to sell the property to a buyer who wanted to develop it into something not allowed under the existing PUD, the buyer would need to go through a rezoning process to get approval from the county commissioners.
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