Development of an area near Dinosaur Ridge moves forward. The Jefferson County commissioners approved a rezone request that will allow additional commercial uses to a parcel of land where medium …
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Development of an area near Dinosaur Ridge moves forward.
The Jefferson County commissioners approved a rezone request that will allow additional commercial uses to a parcel of land where medium scale retail is already permitted.
“It’s not a huge change, from staff’s perspective,” said Heather Gutherless, case manager for Jefferson County Planning and Zoning. “Staff has decided there are no unresolved issues with this rezoning application.”
The Oct. 16 rezone was approved unanimously by the Jeffco commissioners.
The rezoned property is a 30-acre parcel on the southeast side of the C-470 and Alameda interchange. It, and another 40.5 acres located to the northwest of the interchange, are owned by Three Dinos, LLC. Both have been subject to controversy among community members in the recent past for proposed development. The southeast plot drew concerns for a proposed motorcycle sales and repair, which was removed from zoning plans in October 2016, and the northwest plot for a proposed car dealership, which was voted down by county commissioners in 2017.
Currently there is nothing built on either of the properties.
According to county records, in 2007, both properties were rezoned from residential and agricultural to a corridor district. This zoning allows for commercial development and light industrial uses. These include office buildings, retail and light manufacturing such as banks, restaurants, medical supply/drugstores and laboratories. The zoning also allows hotels, motels, gas stations, service stations, car washes and entertainment facilities, though these would require a special use permit.
The rezone request moves many of the things allowed only under a special use permit to fully allowed ones said Ethan Watel of Baseline Engineering Corp., the Golden-based company representing the property owners, Three Dinos, LLC.
County staff’s report on the change says that “there will not be a significant change to the impacts with the additional proposed uses.”
The county report also states that the rezone removes “some of the locational restrictions regarding gas stations,” and adds “some additional standards for hotels and motels, which would allow them to have a taller building height, but with increased setbacks and architectural restrictions.”
Allowed building heights will be 35 feet for flat roofs, 40 feet for pitched roofs, 50 feet for hotels and motels and 60 feet for hospitals.
The property is accessed by South Rooney Road, West Alameda Avenue and South McIntyre Street. The applicant already provided a traffic impact study which revealed the following improvements should be included in the site development plan — “additional through lanes on West Alameda Parkway, converting South Rooney Road to a right in/right out at West Alameda Parkway,” installing a number of traffic signals and providing bike lanes and sidewalks.
In addition, the city of Lakewood pointed out “that they would like to see (a) more specific” study on the traffic impacts when the land’s specific uses are identified.
The commissioners had two major concerns that they discussed prior to their vote — height of buildings, specifically the permitted 60 feet for a hospital, and lighting.
It may not be an immediate “worry” that a hospital will be built there, said Commissioner Casey Tighe, but a 60-foot hospital “does make me nervous.”
If a hospital were to be built, it would have to adhere to a 50-foot setback — the same requirement for a hotel or motel. Lighting concerns came in the form of signs. No flashing signs will be permitted, nor will multicolored LED-lighted signs.
Nearby development concerns
Development plans on both sides of C-470 have long sparked concern among community members. The Dinosaur Ridge Visitor’s Center has not been part of recent rezoning proposals, but its proximity is what was most concerning to activists. Local residents formed Dinosaur Ridge Neighbors in March 2016 to raise awareness and try to halt nearby development.
“Our primary concern,” said Eric Brown, a member of the Dinosaur Ridge Neighbors group, is to ensure that development “is compatible or minimal in the northwest parcel,” which is closest to the Dinosaur Ridge Visitor’s Center.
Development should be compatible with “the natural beauty, geologic features and historical significance of the area,” according to the group’s website. In addition, the group states that development should protect the overall visitor experience and user experience of Dinosaur Ridge, Green Mountain and Dakota Ridge.
“The Jefferson County Master Plan requires that any development be compatible with the surrounding land uses,” Brown said.
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