On August 15, 2017 Greenwood Village Planning & Zoning will hold a public hearing to hear public comment and deliberate its recommendation to City Council on Century Communities’ Landmark Village development proposal in Orchard Station. Note: Century completely ignored public opinion by submitting this application one day after the June 6 GV Special Election. The June 6 election by a 3-to-1 margin defeated the proposed Orchard Station Subarea that was required to make this development compatible with the City’s Comprehensive Plan.
Here is my letter to city officials expressing why this application should be rejected.
Dear Members of City Council, Planning and Zoning and Community Development:
This letter serves as my STRONG OPPOSITION to the development application submitted by Century Communities on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 to develop 191 residential townhomes and single-family homes on 13-acres in the FORMERLY proposed Orchard Station Subarea.
As seventy-six percent of GV Voters OVERWHELMING REJECTED the Orchard Station Subarea Amendment in the June 6 Special Election, citizens made it abundantly clear that there is no appetite for deviating from the vision articulated in the current Greenwood Village Comprehensive Plan and therefore, Century’s application should be rejected outright.
The two-year history surrounding the proposed Orchard Station Subarea, combined with Century’s prior 104-unit development applications illustrate that this residential project was clearly reliant on the City amending the Comprehensive Plan to include the now defeated Orchard Station Subarea. Here are a few examples that establish that reliance.
1. The staff report for the July 19, 2016 P&Z Meeting states,
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. (emphasis added)
2. On January 19, 2016, Planning and Zoning reviewed, but did not recommend approval of Century’s previous Landmark Village application that included 104 residential units. The meeting’s minutes reflect the following statements from the GV Community Development Department,
“Planner Johnson discussed conformance with the Comprehensive Plan. She noted the overall Plan housing goals were inconsistent with the Corridor Planning Area; the issue is reconciled in the current working concept of the Orchard Station Planning Subarea. She noted the proposal was consistent with the new vision for the Orchard Station Planning Subarea currently under review, though had not yet been adopted.” (emphasis added)
3. City Council continued to discuss the Landmark Village proposal at its February 22, 2016 City Council meeting. Councilmembers Leslie Schluter and Tom Bishop argued that HIGHER DENSITY residential (in excess of Century’s 104-unit proposal) was required to achieve the transit-oriented development being contemplated in the Orchard Station Subarea amendment. The minutes from the meeting reflect these comments,
“Councilmembers noted the comprehensive plan update for the Orchard Station Subarea has not been defined or completed at this time. Council asked questions regarding compatibility and if this was a transit orient development the reliance on light rail, pedestrian, and cycling. Councilmembers also noted the proposed project currently shows 104 units allowed on the largest property/parcel in this area and pointed out if the Orchard Sub Area was approved, this area was proposed to have up to 900 units of residential. Council noted this proposal is only 10% of what is possible.” (emphasis added)
Prior to City Council’s vote on February 22, 2016, Century Communities withdrew its Landmark Village development application.
Subsequent to withdrawing the 104-unit development application, Century presented a new version of Landmark Village at a Neighborhood Input Meeting (“NIM”) held on November 9, 2016. At the neighborhood input meeting, Century Communities presented a proposal totaling 203 units (150 townhomes and 53 single-family homes).
On November 9, I asked Century’s representatives why the company was essentially doubling the proposed Landmark Village density from 104 to 203 total units. Century stated that the increase was a result of comments received from City Council. These “comments” clearly lead back to the statements and questions Ms. Schluter and Mr. Bishop asked and made on February 22, 2016 – the meeting where they suggested higher density residential was required to create “compatibility” with the desired transit-oriented development in the proposed Orchard Station Subarea.
Century’s admission of increasing the Landmark Village proposed density to help meet the transit-oriented goals of the now defeated Orchard Station Subarea should immediately disqualify this new application from consideration.
Further, as Planner Johnson acknowledged regarding Century’s initial 104-unit application, new multi-family residential around the Orchard Station light rail is inconsistent with the following policies (and several others) in the current Comprehensive Plan.
Corridor Planning Area (pg. 149)
5a. Due to the built out nature of the I-25 Corridor, significant additional housing is neither anticipated nor encouraged. Limited additional residential developments may occur within the Denver Technological Center Master Development plan area based on previous land entitlements.
5b. Additional single-family detached housing types are not encouraged in the Corridor.
5c. Higher density residential development will be discouraged in the Corridor, except in the Village Center.
5d. Generally additional multi-family rental housing will not be encouraged in the Corridor Planning Area.
5e. Only a limited amount of future additional owner-occupied multi-family housing will be considered in the Village Center. (emphasis added)
The outcome of the June 6 election was the culmination of a yearlong divisive battle over the vision for the Orchard Station area. The Orchard Station Special Election result clearly affirms citizens’ desire to maintain, uphold and follow the polices delineated in the Corridor Planning Area of the existing Comprehensive Plan. Consequently, there are no objective criteria that justify the approval of Century Communities’ June 7, 2017 development application.
I urge you to follow the will of Greenwood Village residents, your constituents, and quickly deny the Century Communities proposal.
Very truly yours,
If you would like to review Century’s Landmark Village development application, the City has posted the documents on the Greenwood Village website. They can be found here.