This week Alberta Development submitted its application for a master development plan at Orchard Station. Greenwood Village has posted the application here: http://www.greenwoodvillage.com/index.aspx?NID=2019. Alberta is seeking to develop 3.3 million square feet (over twice the square footage of Park Meadows mall).
The application is made assuming that GV amends its Comprehensive Plan (http://greenwoodvillage.com/documentcenter/view/14206). The Planning and Zoning Commission will likely vote to recommend the amendment to City Council on Tuesday, July 19, 7:00 p.m. at City Hall (6060 S. Quebec St.).
Secondly, at Tuesday’s P&Z meeting, P&Z will also likely recommend to City Council to rezone six properties that are within the Orchard Station Sub Area.
- The current Comprehensive Plan will not allow for the development that Alberta is proposing. Therefore, the city is trying to change the comprehensive plan to accommodate Alberta and enable the creation of a “downtown” Greenwood Village.
- The GV municipal code requires that studies be conducted and that all adverse effects be adequately mitigated prior to approving the rezoning (https://www.municode.com/library/co/greenwood_village/codes/municipal_code?nodeId=CH16LADECO_ART2PR_DIV1TYLAUSAP_S16-2-30RE). However, the city is making the claim that it does not need to conduct any studies, because “simply rezoning has no adverse effect”. This argument doesn’t make any sense, it undermines the entire principal of zoning and suggests that every project should be assessed individually without the context of a comprehensive plan. It should not be the city’s responsibility to change the zoning, it should be a burden of the developer to get rezoning approved.
Consequently, if you have concerns, please attend the P&Z Meeting on Tuesday. Also, please email your concerns to Heather Vidlock, GV Community Development Director, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alberta’s Master Development Plan Application – http://www.greenwoodvillage.com/index.aspx?NID=2019
There are some very concerning things that jump out based on my initial review.
- Traffic – “Alberta currently envisions development of up to 300,000 square feet of retail, 1,190,000 square feet of office, 1,715,000 square feet (1,186 units) of residential, and 116,000 square feet (177 rooms) of hotel, for a total square footage of 3,319,500 square feet. However, the ultimate density and mix of uses will depend largely on the results of a traffic study that currently underway. Therefore, the density figures in the Land Use Chart on page 4 of the MDP are subject to change following receipt of the traffic study. Whatever the outcome of the traffic study, Alberta has committed that it will not construct more density that the traffic infrastructure will support.”
- I do not understand how this application can proceed without the very basic step of completing a traffic study. This is basically asking us and the city to “trust Alberta” that they will do what is in the best interest of the residents. Under this application, they are asking to be solely responsible for determining the final square footage of the project.
- Schools – “Alberta has made several commitments to the City and the public to mitigate any negative effects the Project may have on some of the key factors that determine quality of life, such as traffic, noise, and the quality of schools in the City.”
“Alberta has also committed to working with the Cherry Creek School District to assess the adverse impacts, if any, of the Project on the quality of schools in the City and to identify a solution that is satisfactory to the District. Maintaining the quality of the local school district will be important in attracting the types of tenants who will purchase and rent the high-end units that Alberta intends to construct.
- The Cherry Creek Schools that serve the residents of Greenwood Village were built to support the density that existed in the 1970s. There is already overcrowding and this and other apartment developments nearby will continue to severely strain the school district and impact the quality of the schools. Again, Alberta wants us to trust them that at some point they will mitigate the negative impacts, but as of now there is no plan.
- Interestingly in the second point, Alberta admits that their tenants and residents will want high quality schools. I have heard repeated assurances from the city that people in these apartments will not have school-aged children.
- Views – “The MDP also provides that building orientations and heights will be varied on specific parcels to minimize visual impact and take advantage of mountain views. Alberta has retained several nationally-recognized architectural firms to ensure that the Project offers an attractive variety and high quality of design.”
- Consistent with the rest of the cover letter, Alberta simply asks the city to “trust them”. There is nothing specific that identifies how they will protect the views. Again, there is no study to assess the impact on the view corridors, as required by the municipal code (both for rezoning and a master development plan).
- Density – The development will sit on 24 acres, which includes 7.5 acres for a park. That only leaves 16.5 acres for development, which equates to 200,000 sqft per acre. The original MDP only allowed for 22,000 sqft per acre.