July 19, 2016 – GV Planning and Zoning Meeting (Comprehensive Plan Amendment Summary with links to documents)

The Planning and Zoning Commission will likely vote to recommend the amendment to City Council onTuesday, July 19, 7:00 p.m. at City Hall (6060 S. Quebec St.).

Please read my earlier post here about the importance of this meeting.

The following is the summary of Comprehensive Plan Amendment posted on the Village’s website, click here for original along with the agenda and related documents.

Consideration of a Comprehensive Plan Amendment

for the Orchard Station Subarea Plan

TO:                     Members of the Planning & Zoning Commission

THROUGH:                     Heather K. Vidlock, AICP, Community Development Director

FROM:                     Ben Thurston, AICP, Senior Planner

Executive Summary

The current planning effort for the Orchard Station Subarea Plan began in February 2015.  There has been an extensive process over the past year and a half that included study sessions with City Council and Planning & Zoning Commission, public open houses, and analysis by staff and our consultant team (including planning, urban design, transportation, and economics).  The broad vision for Orchard Station was established early by City Council and the Planning & Zoning Commission and has been reaffirmed and refined throughout the process.  Taking the lead from City Council direction along the way, staff and the consultant team have worked to develop the plan to best achieve the articulated vision.  The attached Orchard Station Subarea Plan incorporates the comments and direction provided to staff.

In addition to the proposed subarea plan as an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan, there is also a city-initiated rezoning application to achieve consistent Town Center zoning for the entire subarea.  The rezoning application affects six parcels in the subarea, highlighted in Attachment G.  The rezoning is not a proposal for development.  Any future redevelopment of those parcels will required the approval of one or more development plans.

Public Open Houses

Staff held two open houses to solicit neighborhood input on the Orchard Station Subarea Plan and rezoning.  The first was on September 16, 2015 and the second was on March 16, 2016.  In addition, the subarea plan was featured multiple times in the Villager Newsletter and was the subject of City Council and Planning & Zoning Commission discussion at multiple public meetings, as listed below.  The majority of public participation up until July 2016 has come from owners in The Landmark and Greenwood Hills as well as property owners within the subarea boundary.  Public comments are beginning to be submitted that relate to both the Comprehensive Plan amendment and the Orchard Station Master Development Plan, which was submitted on July 12, 2016.  All public comments received to date are in Attachment H.

Chronology of the Planning Process

Feb-Apr 2015                     Work with a transportation consultant on an initial assessment of development density capacity and necessary roadway improvements, including the interchange of I-25 and Orchard Road.

July 27, 2015                     Joint CC/P&Z Study Session – Introduction of the project; initial establishment of the subarea boundary; creation of the vision for a vibrant mix of uses that would provide an area to live, work, shop, and dine

August 10, 2015                     Subarea Property Owner Input Meeting – Introduction of the project; generally positive feedback from property owners

August 17, 2015                     Joint CC/P&Z Study Session – Presentation of three alternative redevelopment scenarios; general direction to work on a plan similar in scope to the middle density scenario

September 16, 2015                     Public Open House – Presentation of the content and results of the study sessions completed to date; presentation of the concept plan for the Orchard Road interchange; generally positive feedback

September 21, 2015                     Joint CC/P&Z Study Session – Presentation of a preferred redevelopment scenario; presentation of traffic impact and fiscal impact of the preferred scenario

Nov/Dec 2015                     Staff met with eight developers that are active in the Denver Metro area to solicit feedback on the Subarea Plan.  The feedback from this group of developers on the vision for redevelopment of the subarea was positive and confirmed that the Council’s vision is feasible in the market.

January 5, 2016                     P&Z Study Session – Introduction of the project to newly appointed Planning & Zoning Commissioners; generally positive feedback

January 25, 2016                     Joint CC/P&Z Study Session – Presentation of a refinement to the preferred redevelopment scenario; presentation of long range future total traffic conditions

March 16, 2016                     Public Open House – Presentation of the preferred redevelopment scenario; presentation of the concept design for the Orchard Road interchange; presentation of the framework concepts for the Orchard Station Subarea Plan; presentation of the proposed rezoning of B-1 parcels to TC

April 18, 2016                     CC Study Session – Presentation of the outline draft of the Orchard Station Subarea Plan; presentation of a refinement to the fiscal impact analysis; presentation of additional detail on the concept design for the Orchard Road interchange

April 19, 2016                     P&Z Study Session – Presentation of the outline draft of the Orchard Station Subarea Plan; presentation of a refinement to the fiscal impact analysis; presentation of additional detail on the concept design for the Orchard Road interchange

May 3, 2016                     P&Z Study Session – Presentation of and working session on the draft Orchard Station Subarea Plan

June 11, 2016                     CC Study Session – Presentation regarding employment demographics and how that should inform the redevelopment of Orchard Station; panel discussion of planning and development professionals regarding the redevelopment of Orchard Station; facilitated City Council discussion concerning Orchard Station

June 21, 2016                     P&Z Study Session – Working session on the draft Orchard Station Subarea Plan; Commissioners expressed unanimous support for the plan


Staff recommends that the Planning & Zoning Commission recommend to City Council:

1.                     Adoption of the Orchard Station Planning Subarea as proposed as an amendment to the 2015 Comprehensive Plan.

2.                     Approval of the rezoning of six parcels from B-1 to TC.

Attachments (with links to documents)

A.                     Orchard Station Subarea – Comprehensive Plan Draft

B.                     Orchard Station Subarea Redline Draft

C.                     Orchard Interchange Expansion Concept

D.                     Orchard Station Subarea Fiscal Impact Analysis Memo

E.                     2015 Comprehensive Plan – Corridor Planning Area

F.                     2015 Comprehensive Plan

G.                     Rezoning Map

H.                     Public Comment



The Greenwood Village Comprehensive Plan establishes the long term vision for the city.  The plan includes Village-wide goals as well as goals, objectives, and policies for nine planning areas.  Seven of the planning areas are the predominantly residential neighborhoods on the east and west sides of the Village.  There are two predominantly commercial planning areas:  The Corridor and Arapahoe Road.  The Comprehensive Plan delineates the Corridor Planning Area as approximately 1,100 acres in the center of Greenwood Village, straddling the I-25 corridor.  It is generally bounded by Belleview Avenue on the north, Caley and Peakview Avenues on the south, Yosemite Street on the east, and Quebec Street on the west.  Development within the Corridor began in the early 1970s, and today is the core of what has become the most substantial employment center in Colorado outside of downtown Denver.  Currently, there is one subarea of the Corridor Planning Area named Village Center, which is generally situated in the Fiddler’s Green area adjacent to the Arapahoe Light Rail Station.  The Orchard Station Subarea as proposed is about 67 acres of the Corridor Planning Area (about 53 acres when The Landmark is subtracted), generally situated north of Orchard Road on the west side of I-25.

The first major planning effort for the Orchard Station Subarea was undertaken in 2008 and resulted in an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan to establish policies for redevelopment.  That set of policies did not generate significant interest from the development community and were removed from the Comprehensive Plan in 2011.  In 2015, the Village was approached by two different developers with interest in redevelopment projects in the area.  Alberta Development discussed plans for a mixed-use development on the Marilyn Hickey Ministries property at the northwest corner of Orchard Road and I-25 (the south end of the subarea).  Century Communities submitted an application for 104 townhomes on 13 acres at 5555 Greenwood Plaza Boulevard (the north end of the subarea).  During the public hearing process for that project, the applicant withdrew its application.  Based on the developer interest in those two large parcels coupled with a recognized redevelopment opportunity that extends beyond those properties, City Council directed staff to begin the current planning effort for the Orchard Station Subarea.

Orchard Station Subarea Plan

The Orchard Station Subarea Plan (see attachments A and B) would establish a vision in the Comprehensive Plan for redevelopment of a distinct area of the Village.  The goals, objectives, and policies in the plan are organized around four main topics:  Land Use; Transportation; Image, Identity, & Quality of Life; and Public Space.  As a vision statement, it is not the same as a development proposal and it does not provide the amount of detail that one would expect from a development proposal.  For instance, while the plan envisions a full mix of uses and provides general guidance on the balance of those uses, it does not set forth the specific amount of each use or even an overall amount of development.  And, while the plan requires development proposals to be accompanied by a progressive program to encourage and maximize transit use and other alternative transportation modes by people who live and work there, it does not specify the strategies that should be in that program.  Finally, while the plan affirms that view impacts of tall buildings will always be considered in development proposals, it does not set forth a minimum or maximum height in the subarea.  The proposed Comprehensive Plan amendment contains only the level of detail necessary to articulate the vision.  The next levels of detail would be proposed in the form of development plans and the technical reports that accompany them.

There are two primary objectives articulated in the opening paragraph of the Orchard Station Subarea Plan.  The first objective is to provide a place in the Village that serves as a downtown gathering place.  The community desire for such a place is summed up by a simple statement in the current Comprehensive Plan:  “Provide for a Village focal point.”  This statement appears in the Corridor Planning Area and, in combination with other complementary statements (please refer below to the Comprehensive Plan section of this report), was primarily aimed at the Village Center Subarea.  Development of the Village Center Subarea has been very successful in terms of providing new, high-quality office buildings that have attracted major corporate tenants.  However, the Village Center currently does not include the full mix of land uses that is necessary to achieve the vision of a Village focal point.  Orchard Station is an opportunity to fulfill the goal of a Village focal point.

The second objective is to ensure that Greenwood Village continues to attract high quality employers and jobs, thereby protecting and enhancing its tax base.  Employers and employees are increasingly seeking work environments with more amenities, activity, and experiences.  In order for these environments to be successful and sustainable, they require a full mix of land uses in a compact, pedestrian-oriented environment.  The Corridor Planning Area was planned and mostly developed in the 1970s and 1980s when a suburban office park pattern was in high demand.  The demand for that land use pattern is in decline and is more than met by our current office stock as well as vacant parcels in other office parks in the South Metro area.  As the Corridor Planning Area redevelops, the Village will be best served by encouraging development that aligns with current and future market demand.

There are two types of impact that the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council studied in depth:  traffic impact and fiscal impact.  These two issues are thought to be the most important elements to examine in order to prove the feasibility of the vision.

Traffic Impact

Early in the planning process for the subarea, traffic impact was identified as the most important consideration to establish the upper limit of development potential.  The City’s traffic consultant, Fellsburg, Holt, & Ullevig (FHU), prepared a conceptual design to improve the interchange of I-25 and Orchard Road (Attachment C).  Using that conceptual design along with the mix of uses envisioned by the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council, FHU provided direction for a potential development program that could be accommodated.  The key analysis related to the subarea plan is the impact of mixed-use development on traffic.  The existing roadway network is near or at capacity during the peak hours, while the remaining hours of the day have adequate capacity to accommodate additional traffic.  By developing the area with multiple land uses that produce traffic at different times and in different patterns than a single use, and implementing appropriate roadway improvements, it was determined that additional new development in the area could be accommodated.  Ultimately, any future proposed redevelopment will require a detailed traffic impact study to determine mitigation necessary to accommodate the increased traffic.

Fiscal Impact

Another key consideration that was examined in the planning process is fiscal impact.  Shawn Cordsen, Greenwood Village Finance Director, prepared an analysis to determine the net impact on revenues and costs generated by potential redevelopment (Attachment D).  The memo concludes that the redevelopment would result in a substantial positive net fiscal impact.

Orchard Station Subarea Boundary

When the planning process for the subarea began, the boundary was established generally as Berry Avenue to the north, Orchard Road to the south, I-25 to the east, and Quebec Street to the west (with the exception of the four office properties with frontage on Quebec Street).  During the planning process, staff discovered that the near-term redevelopment potential was limited to the properties between Greenwood Plaza Boulevard and I-25 along with the Century Communities site at 5555 Greenwood Plaza Boulevard.  In addition, staff anticipated that the traffic capacity for redevelopment might also be limited to that area.  For those reasons, the boundary of the subarea was retracted.  Additionally, staff proposes to include The Landmark within the boundary because it was the first mixed-use development in proximity to the Orchard Light Rail Station.

Comprehensive Plan

The planning process is built in layers.  In Greenwood Village, the foundation of all planning is our longstanding quality of life outcome expectations that serve as guiding principles for decision-making:  A Safe and Secure Village, A Clean Village, High Quality Village Appearance – Pretty, Available Leisure and Learning Opportunities – Fun, A Well Organized and Easily Traveled Village – Accessible, High Quality Built and Natural Environments, A Sense of Community – Belonging, and Quality Customer Service.  The Comprehensive Plan rests upon that foundation and adds more layers:  Overall Village Goals, other Village-wide Goals, Planning Area Goals, Objectives, and Policies, and, where warranted, Planning Subarea Goals, Objectives, and Policies. The current Comprehensive Plan includes numerous goals, objectives, and policies that provide a clear and solid foundation for the redevelopment of the Orchard Station Subarea as a transit oriented development.

Overall Village Goals:

•                     Promote development that will maintain the Village’s economic viability, while preserving the quality of life for Village residents.

•                     Promote and develop a Village Center that will serve as a community focal point and provide a source of community pride for Village residents.

•                     Promote Interstates 25 & 225 and public transit as the primary accessways to the higher density areas of the Village and discourage traffic in residential areas.

Future Land Use Goals:

•                     Higher intensity development will be considered only within the Corridor Planning Area consistent with existing approved plans and or plans associated with the Village Center.

Transportation Goals:

•                     Encourage implementation of mass transit systems and other alternatives to single occupant vehicles.

Economic Development Goals:

•                     Provide an encouraging atmosphere for a broad range of high quality commercial development in the Village.

•                     Development and redevelopment should continue to grow the tax base of the City in meaningful ways.

•                     There should be a net positive economic impact either directly or indirectly from development and redevelopment.

Corridor Land Use:

•                     Maximize opportunities for mixed commercial development associated with light rail facilities.

•                     Encourage development of mixed-use development and redevelopment.

•                     Encourage vertical mixed-use structures with offices located above ground-floor retail and services.

•                     Coordinate with the DTC, Greenwood Plaza and other property owners to promote compact mixed-use development in order to expand the area as a full-service employment and activity center.

•                     Encourage transit-oriented development at the proposed Orchard Light Rail Station to support ridership and reduce traffic congestion.  The Orchard Light Rail Station shall be designed in a convenient and safe walking environment, and uses may include attractive community and regional commercial, office/employment, parks and open space, and community uses.

Corridor Transportation:

•                     Provide for integration of multiple modes of transportation at transportation centers.

•                     Promote land use patterns, parking policies, and traffic management methods that support transit, an efficient roadway system, and bicycle and pedestrian travel.

•                     Promote structured parking lots to reduce land devoted to surface parking lots.

•                     Reduce the parking ratio requirements for new developments and encourage joint-use parking lots and structures with staggered peak demands that will efficiently serve retail, office, public, and entertainment uses, thus reducing the amount of land required for separate parking for each land use.

Corridor Parks, Trails, Open Space, and Recreation:

•                     The area around the Orchard Light Rail Station shall have a safe and convenient pedestrian system, including sidewalks and trails that offer connections to the City’s comprehensive trail system.

Corridor Image, Identity, & Quality of Life:

•                     Promote pedestrian-oriented environments.

•                     Create residential living environments that will retain workers.

•                     Promote the planning area as a major metropolitan mixed-use center in the region.

•                     Provide for high quality public plazas and public meeting places.

•                     Foster a unique sense of place.

•                     Provide for a Village focal point.

•                     Provide public plazas in prominent places through the Corridor Planning Area, particularly at the junction between activity retail and surrounding office and residential uses, with amenities such as parks, outdoor pavilions, fountains, benches, trees, monuments, kiosks, or public art, designed to serve as central gathering places.  Design public plazas to create comfortable outdoor spaces designed to attract and accommodate people, therefore creating high levels of pedestrian activity.  Plazas and parks will be linked to and made visible from streets and sidewalks.

•                     Design buildings to be oriented to sidewalks and outdoor spaces for people not set back from parking lots or oriented only to parking lots.  The current configuration of many buildings in the area on isolated “pad sites” surrounded by parking lots and driveways will no longer be permitted in the design of future developments in central Corridor Planning Area.

Along with the strong support for the Orchard Station Subarea Plan, there are several instances where the Comprehensive Plan appears to conflict with itself and also with the proposed subarea plan.  For this reason, the subarea plan includes a statement that clarifies that the goals, objectives, and policies of the Orchard Station Subarea should prevail when they conflict with the Corridor Planning Area.  The conflicting statements are presented below:

Corridor Land Use:

•                     The current mix of uses in the I-25 Corridor is considered appropriate.  Development and redevelopment should principally be focused on commercial and employment aspects of the Corridor Planning Area.

Corridor Image, Identity, & Quality of Life:

•                     The existing development intensity levels are considered generally appropriate for the Corridor Planning Area.

•                     The radial height plane regulations that govern maximum building heights in the Greenwood Plaza Area are generally considered appropriate for the area.

•                     Due to the built out nature of the I-25 Corridor, significant additional housing is neither anticipated nor encouraged.

•                     Higher density residential development will be discouraged in the Corridor, except in the Village Center.

•                     Generally additional multi-family rental housing will not be encouraged in the Corridor Planning Area.

Rezoning of Properties from B-1 to TC

The majority of the proposed Orchard Station Subarea is zoned Town Center (TC), which is the only zone district in Greenwood Village that allows a full mix of uses.  There are six parcels within the boundary that are zoned Business-Professional (B-1).  The rezoning of the six parcels to TC is necessary for the implementation of the Orchard Station Subarea Plan as stated in No. 1b of the plan:  “The zoning of the subarea should allow the prescribed mix of uses.”  However, it should be noted that rezoning these properties is beneficial regardless of the Orchard Station Subarea Plan because it results in improved consistency of zoning in the area and allows the mix of uses that are encouraged in the Corridor Planning Area.

The change in rezoning from B-1 to TC is the expansion of the allowed and special uses to include retail and residential.  The uses for each district are listed below:

Business Professional (B-1)

Uses By Right

•                     Offices;

•                     Pharmacies;

•                     Schools, universities, and colleges;

•                     Places of worship;

•                     Child care facilities;

•                     Assisted living facilities;

•                     Open space, parks and trails;

•                     Clubs;

•                     Public buildings and facilities; and

•                     Accessory uses, not exceeding ten percent (10%) of the NFA and wholly included within the principal building.

Special Uses

•                     Public buildings and facilities other than general office;

•                     Public utilities; and

•                     Businesses with drive-in or drive-up facilities.

Town Center (TC)

Uses By Right

•                     Offices, including general offices, medical and dental offices, pharmacies, computer facilities, warehousing and storage of any commodity when enclosed within a building, and research laboratories;

•                     Light assembly and manufacturing within general office space in a building not containing any residential uses, confined to one (1) floor per enterprise, not involving outdoor storage and provided that all activities producing noise, odor, smoke, heat, glare, air pollution, fire hazards and noxious emissions are confined entirely within the building, and any external effects resulting from such activities cannot be observed, felt, heard, smelled or otherwise perceived at the property line;

•                     Support uses, including retail and service establishments which are designed to service the daily needs of the Town Center concept;

•                     Accessory uses, including parking lots and parking structures (consistent with the ground coverage and open space requirements), parks, trails and open space, and transportation centers and systems;

•                     Theaters and recreation facilities;

•                     Public buildings and facilities; and

•                     Any other use consistent with the uses set forth in this Section.

Special Uses

•                     Public buildings and facilities other than general office;

•                     Public utilities;

•                     Dwelling units, including detached single-family dwelling units and multi-family dwelling units; and

•                     Light assembly and manufacturing requiring more than two (2) commercial truck (over twenty-six thousand (26,000) pounds GVW) deliveries or pickups per week, or located in a building with residential uses.

Rezoning Review Criteria

The following section presents staff’s findings on the review criteria that apply to the proposed rezoning.  According to Section 16-2-30 of the Greenwood Village Land Development Code, the Planning & Zoning Commission shall consider whether the rezoning:

Is in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan

The proposed rezoning is in conformance with the 2015 Comprehensive Plan.  The properties are within the Corridor Planning Area, which encourages mixed-use development and redevelopment.  The vast majority of Corridor Planning Area is currently zoned Town Center, and the proposed rezoning will improve zoning consistency in the area.  The proposed rezoning is also in conformance with the proposed Orchard Station Subarea Plan, which also encourages mixed-use development.

Is compatible with surrounding land use

The proposed rezoning will achieve greater compatibility with surrounding land uses because it will result in uniform zoning that matches that of surrounding property.

Adequately mitigates any adverse impacts it causes, including without limitation adverse impacts on traffic, view corridors, noise, property values and the provision of public services.

The proposed rezoning is not a development proposal and does not approve any physical change to the properties.  Due to that fact, the rezoning does not result in any physical adverse impacts like traffic, views, noise, or public services.  Any future redevelopment proposals on the properties will require approval of one or more development plans, which will include analysis of the development’s impact.  The expansion of allowed uses with the Town Center zoning will enhance the value of the subject properties as well as the surrounding properties.

One thought on “July 19, 2016 – GV Planning and Zoning Meeting (Comprehensive Plan Amendment Summary with links to documents)

  1. Pingback: According to 2014 GV Survey, Residents don’t want a Downtown in Greenwood Village | Greenwood Village Development Wire

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