By Lisa Crockett
The Douglas County Planning Commission hosted a hearing regarding the re-zoning and development of CC-20 on Monday, November 27. Representatives from Village Homes (who owns the land), the county and residents of Castle Pines North (CPN) presented their plans and concerns for the parcel of land, which is on the northwest corner of Castle Pines Parkway and Monarch Blvd.
The entire parcel was originally zoned for commercial use, but when Village encountered overwhelming opposition from CPN residents to a commercial development of that size in the heart of CPN, they modified their plans to include a residential area as well as a smaller, “neighborhood-sized” commercial area.
At the hearing, residents voiced their concerns regarding many issues surrounding the development, including traffic, safety and property values.
“In regards to the commercial portion of this parcel, the possibility of vacant buildings could affect our property values. Castle Pines North has seen 17 businesses fail in our community since 2000. We currently have a large duplication of services in the community,” said Janet Conner, who serves on the CPN Master Association Board of Directors.
In response to Conner’s concerns, county project manager Joe Fowler stated that efforts had been made to ensure that the commercial area would have a small, intimate feeling quite different from the larger commercial areas on Castle Pines Parkway.
Bill Jenkins, a representative of the Laramie Company, the real estate company handling the parcel, said that it would be unlikely that any large, national chains would be part of the development.
“We’re hoping to have a daycare, a bank, the library, and a medical building,” said Jenkins. “We would encourage people to walk to this development.”
Ron Skarka, who represented Village Homes at the meeting, said, “We plan to develop this area lot- by-lot with quality, long-term tenants. While we can’t say there won’t ever be vacant buildings, we’re working to minimize that situation.”
The development of the commercial area features a library. And while funding has yet to be secured, Douglas County Library Director Jamie LaRue says that being a part of the CPN community is an important part of the long-term plan for county libraries.
“A library is a good way to add value; it lends a civic nature to a commercial development. [This development] is in the center of our service area. We’ve been trying to get into Castle Pines North for quite some time. After putting a bookmobile there, it became very clear to us that Castle Pines North really wants a library.”
It is estimated that with the completion of this project, traffic will increase by roughly 4,000 trips per day; the commission heard plans to help mitigate traffic concerns including the construction of a new third lane on southbound Monarch Boulevard bordering the development to help ease congestion. No new traffic lights are planned.
Rick Dobbs, who is on the CC-20 Committee, a group of CPN residents who has been working with Village Homes to come up with a plan for the site, says that while most CPN residents would have preferred to see the area remain open space, he is satisfied with the new plan.
“We feel that this compromise is a win-win situation,” said Dobbs. “We have developed a good working relationship with Village Homes and will continue to look at safety issues, especially since this development is so close to the school and the sled hill.”
Ultimately, plans for the site, which includes seven acres of residential property (about 47 dwelling units) and eight acres of commercial property, were approved by the planning commission. The approval was given with several conditions regarding technical improvements to the land, wildlife concerns, and drainage.
The commission allowed a change in the “setback” of the property. The usual setback (or distance from development to the road) is 30 yards, but because homeowners requested that parking lots be placed in the interior of the development, Village Homes asked for a 20-yard setback to give them the ability to place buildings closer to the road while still accommodating the appropriate number of parking spaces.
The Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on these matters on December 13 at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at 100 Third Street in Castle Rock.