After months of activity, an effort to preserve two historic houses on Grandview Avenue came to a head Nov. 5, when the planning commission heard an appeal associated with the fate of the houses. …
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After months of activity, an effort to preserve two historic houses on Grandview Avenue came to a head Nov. 5, when the planning commission heard an appeal associated with the fate of the houses.
Business owner Lori Drienka, who owns runs the Eli Ashby Healing Arts Center at 7401 Grandview Ave., appealed a board of adjustment decision made this summer to approve plans for a development to be built on 7315, 7317 and 7318 Grandview Ave.
The three-story development, known as Grandview Station, will stand 33.5 feet tall at its highest point and include ground-floor retail space and 14 condominiums.
The board approved the development plans as compliant with city guidelines and Olde Town design requirements, but made a handful of waivers, including for the building’s height and number of stories.
As per current guidelines, buildings in the area should not exceed 32 feet and should not have more than two stories. Following with current plans, Grandview Station will include three stories within its 33.5 feet.
Opposed to these waivers, as well as the fact that the new development will replace two houses built in the 1900s, Drienka started a change.org petition back in August to stop the development. She has led efforts to petition city leaders and organize the Nov. 5 appeal hearing regarding the decision to approve the design plan.
“They completely glazed over the fact they’ll be removing historic buildings,” she said. “Once you take those houses away, you can’t put them back.”
Drienka has held that much of the historical significance of the Olde Town Historic District stems from buildings like the two houses, which portray the scale and aesthetic of a former Arvada. She believes the houses should be preserved and turned into businesses, she said.
Back around the time Palmer put in an offer on the properties, Drienka also put in an offer.
Drienka says back then she had considered tearing one of the houses down too, “because we were told it needed to be torn down,” she said. Her plans to tear down the house always remained in infantile stages, she said, as she ultimately did not purchase the property.
Further, “we never talked about tearing down the house next-door” to the Eli Ashby Healing Arts Center, she said.
When the appeal came before the planning commission, the group voted unanimously to uphold the board of adjustment decision.
When making decisions, city officials “acted in good faith and in the best interest of the public,” said planning commission chairman T.O. Owens.
Residents like Cindi Kreutzer with steering committee Arvada for ALL the People agree that to replace the houses would be in Olde Town’s best interest.
“This isn’t just a quick decision for me to support this project. This is my hometown,” she said. “But Olde Town is a very special place, and we’re trying to keep it from getting any worse. There are much better examples of architecture from that time period within blocks” of the two houses, she said.
She added that Palmer “has been more responsive to the citizens of Arvada than any developer ever has been,” putting emphasis on the developer’s offer to relocate the houses before the development goes up, should anyone be willing to provide a property for the houses to be relocated to.
Kreutzer further pointed to Drienka’s former plans to tear down one of the houses. She suggested that, rather than pursuing preservation because of the historic value of the homes, Drienka could be motivated by her own designs for the property.
Drienka, however, said the need to preserve the history extends far beyond her, as evidenced by the 1,579 individuals that had signed the change.org petition as of Nov. 8.
She now plans to appeal to the city council.
“We would love to have our council review this mess and trust that they would uphold justice here. They should have been the very first government body to hear this,” Drienka said. “I’m going to stop this process in any way I can.”
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