How it works: Public input

Sara Van Cleve
Posted 2/12/13

When the possibility of new developments pop up, residents often want to weigh in on the decision. Two upcoming developments causing a stir with some …

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How it works: Public input


When the possibility of new developments pop up, residents often want to weigh in on the decision.

Two upcoming developments causing a stir with some residents are Hometown South, a high-density townhouse and apartment development near West 64th Avenue and McIntyre Street, and Walmart near 58th Avenue and Independence Street.

Residents can express support and opposition to a project, said Communication Manager Wendy Forbes, through public hearings and writing letters. Anything said during a public hearing or submitted beforehand becomes part of the official record.

“Pro or con, if people feel strongly, they want to get involved,” Forbes said.

There are several steps a developer must take before construction can begin, said Arvada Director of Community Development Mike Elms.

First, the developer hosts a neighborhood meeting within 21 days of the submission of their application to inform residents about the possible upcoming development and to hear their feedback.

“The developer takes those comments and tries to accommodate them into the plan,” Elms said. “Then they submit the preliminary development plan to us.”

Following the submission of the preliminary development plan, the Community Development Department and city staff review the plan for completeness and to make any recommendations to the plans, if needed.

Once staff ensures the plans meet requirements, public hearings are hosted. Jefferson County sends a public meeting notice to residents and business owners within 500 feet of the property line of the proposed development for public hearings before the Planning Commission and City Council, Elms said. Information regarding public hearings are also posted at the property and online at

“Council listens to the public and takes note of what the public says,” Elms said. “If it clearly meets the requirements, they don’t have to approve it automatically, but they’d have to find a reason not to approve it.”

The Planning Commission’s public hearing about Hometown South is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, at City Hall, 8101 Ralston Road. A public hearing before council regarding Hometown South will be in May.

Public hearing dates for Walmart have not been set yet because as of Feb. 8 Walmart had not submitted an application.

Residents can also write a letter expressing their views and either mail or drop it off to City Hall. The letter will then be included in the staff report given to the commission and council during the public hearings.

The city also include petitions received both for and against a project in the staff report given to council during the public hearing.

“For the Hometown South project, if the neighborhood association gets a petition and presents it to us, it’s part of the staff report,” Elms said. “So if 200 people sign it, 200 people don’t have to show up at the public hearing, but it is good to have a representative.”

The process is quasi-judicial, Elms said, which means council members cannot express their views outside of the public hearing.

“They make the decision based on the facts. They have to be impartial in the hearing,” he said.

Following the public hearings, the developer submits a final development plan, which includes changes and conditions made by the planning commission and council.

The process, from the preliminary development plan to the final development plan, takes about a year, Elms said.

More information about the development and public input process can be found online and in packets available at City Hall.

arvada, development, public input, public hearings, construction, city, input, city hall, city council, planning commission


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