Olde Town Residences plan must start over after court decision

City reviewing judgment and determining next steps

Casey Van Divier
cvandivier@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 5/25/20

The city of Arvada is reviewing a May 14 Colorado Court of Appeals decision that overturned city council approval of the Olde Town Residences project. The project proposed by Trammell Crow, a …

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Olde Town Residences plan must start over after court decision

City reviewing judgment and determining next steps

Posted

The city of Arvada is reviewing a May 14 Colorado Court of Appeals decision that overturned city council approval of the Olde Town Residences project.

The project proposed by Trammell Crow, a developer headquartered in Dallas, was a six-story building with about 250 apartment units and a parking garage located at the intersection of 56th Avenue and Wadsworth Bypass.

The Olde Town Residences plan is known for its association with the so-called $30 land deal, which outlined that the property would be sold from the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority to Trammell Crow for $30. The Jefferson County Assessor valued the land at almost $6 million, according to a media release from grassroots group Arvada for All the People.

City council voted down the project's preliminary development plan in January 2018, partially because of a concern about parking spaces and beliefs that a project of that scale was incompatible with the Olde Town area, said Dave Chandler with Arvada for All the People.

However, in an email sent to councilmembers from city manager Mark Deven in February 2018, Deven said Trammell Crow would be making some adjustments to the plan, such as adding more parking spaces and eliminating some top floor units.

Council held a vote on the revised plan in March 2018 and approved the project.

But Arvada for All the People took issue with this. The group soon sued the city for allegedly violating open meeting laws. It also contended that the city violated part of its land development code, which reads “if the city council denies an application, that same request or one substantially the same may not be heard by the city council for a period of one year from the date of denial, unless the city council explicitly states that an earlier reapplication will be considered.”

The code states that the one-year waiting period does not apply if a developer submits a revised application that addresses all concerns that caused council to originally vote no. However, Arvada for All the People has held that the revised application did not improve upon all stated reasons for denial.

The Jefferson County District Court ruled against Arvada for All the People in March 2019.

But when the Colorado Court of Appeals made a decision on the case May 14, 2020, it reversed a portion of this judgment. The court of appeals ruled that Arvada did not violate open meeting laws but did misinterpret its code when it chose to rehear the plan.

“The decision means that developer Trammell Crow will have to start the development approval process as a new application,” said a statement from Arvada for All the People. “The city council's March 2018 approval is void.”

As of May 20, the city is reviewing the court's decision and determining next steps, said city communications manager Ben Irwin.

Trammell Crow shared a statement with Colorado Community Media stating that the company and Arvada Urban Renewal Authority “remain committed to developing the Olde Town Arvada Transit Oriented Development project.”

“Last fall, we hosted a successful community meeting to share our vision for a hotel and retail development,” the statement said. “We are looking forward to holding additional public meetings in the coming months to share our vision for the Olde Town Residences project.

“This mixed-use development project addresses the city of Arvada's Master Plans to develop underutilized parcels along Wadsworth Boulevard and to provide residences, hotel rooms, retail stores and restaurants that will benefit Arvada residents and visitors,” it continued.

As Arvada for All the People prepares for this upcoming process, the group's goal is to encourage the city to allow plenty of room for public input, Chandler said.

The citizens' group has concerns that because the city adopted a new land development code May 18 of this year, the next version of Trammell Crow's plan could be approved administratively, as opposed to being heard by council.

“We would tell them that would not be the honorable way for city council to approach this,” Chandler said. “If they (Trammell Crow) decide to submit a new application, we want them to know we're not going away. We want our input heard.”

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