With a vote of 7-0, City Council rejected a resolution amending the 2005 Comprehensive Plan to accommodate a new development proposal for Hometown South, located north of 64th Avenue between Kendrick Drive and McIntyre Street.
The original preliminary development plan for the 22-acre site was passed by the Planning Commission and City Council in 2006 and included four acres dedicated to about 30,700 square feet of commercial space and the rest designated for residential purposes.
The development plan proposed to council on June 3 changed the site from having commercial space and 254 units to having 108 townhomes and 225 rental units, including three story buildings along 64th to buffer noise from the arterial.
“Since ’06 we’ve been trying to market this piece for commercial use and no takers,” said John Healy, representative of property owner Century Communities.
The rental rates for the properties would have started at more than $900 per month, requiring renter’s annual income to be at least $35,000 for the cheapest apartments.
Because of public outcry from surrounding neighbors before the plan was proposed, Century Communities included in the plan the change of the name from Hometown South to Highline, the removal of a pedestrian bridge connecting Hometown North and Highline, improvement to the Highline Canal maintenance road and a reduction in maximum building height.
The plan also included expanding roads to accommodate traffic and completing 64th. During the public comment portion of the evening, five residents supported the plan while 93 were opposed with nearly 30 speaking against the plan, including representatives from nearby homeowners associations.
“I’ve been a resident of Meadows at Westwoods Ranch for 17 years, I’m an original homeowner and I’ve seen much development in the neighborhood, most of which was well thought out and well-planned,” said Sally Detweiler, president of the Meadows at Westwoods Ranch homeowners association.
“This is one proposal that really just does not fit with the community we created.”
The character of the Meadows at Westwoods Ranch, and other surrounding neighborhoods, is mostly single-family properties and high-density, multifamily rental properties are not congruent with the surrounding areas, Detweiler said.
“The proposed development violates Arvada Comprehensive Plan goal L-9 (found in chapter three), which was ‘Infill development should revitalize and respect the character of existing stable neighborhoods and districts in the city.’ All of the neighborhoods in a two-mile radius are one and two-story single-family duplexes and townhome properties ... it does not fit our community,” Detweiler said.
Other concerns from homeowners in the area include the increase in traffic and its effect on safety and the size and height of the proposed buildings.
The crux of the issue regarding Highline was whether or not Council would allow changes to the Comprehensive Plan, said District 4 Councilman Bob Dyer.
“For me, there are problems in doing that at this point,” Dyer said.
“We’re just at the point of starting review of the Comprehensive Plan — we do it about every decade — and it’s time to review the Comprehensive Plan again, and doing this change right now when we’re about to do that, to me, is problematic.”
Dyer said he was on council when Westwoods, the Meadows, Sunrise Ridge, Fieldstone and many of the other surrounding communities were approved and council took the approach in the Comprehensive Plan of as development moved west, density would become less and less, and this high-density project doesn’t meet that ideal.
A consultant to help update the Comprehensive Plan is expected to be hired in July and the process will take about a year, said Mike Elms, Arvada Community Development Director.
Dyer made a motion to reject the proposal to amend the 2005 Comprehensive Plan Land Use Designation pertaining to Hometown South from mixed use with a residential emphasis to high-density residential for the property located at the northwest corner of 64th Avenue and Kendrick Drive based on factors in chapter eight of the Comprehensive Plan and other factors, including the upcoming update to the Comprehensive Plan.
“I agree that, at this time, it would not be appropriate to change the comp plan and I very much agree … about creating a sense of a town center which creates community and identity and I think that is severely lacking in this plan,” said Mayor Pro Tem Rachel Zenzinger.
“I think that would be an appropriate thing to think about in the future.”
The motion rejecting the amendments to the Comprehensive Plan passed 7-0 and the Hometown South preliminary development plan remains the same as passed in 2006 until the developer proposes another plan meeting the Comprehensive Plan.