By Lisa Crockett
The Douglas County Commissioners approved proposals for the re-zoning and development of CC-20 on Wednesday, January 10. Representatives from Village Homes, owners of the parcel, Douglas County and residents of Castle Pines North (CPN) presented their plans and concerns for the land, which is on the northwest corner of Castle Pines Parkway and Monarch Boulevard.
The entire parcel was originally zoned for commercial use (termed “Community Center” or “CC”), but when Village Homes encountered overwhelming opposition from CPN residents to a large commercial development in the heart of CPN, they modified plans to include a residential area as well as a smaller, “neighborhood-sized” commercial area.
The approval comes after nearly a year of collaboration between CPN residents and Village Homes. The plan includes eight acres of commercial development, which will be contained in the south portion of the development. The eight acres on the north end of the area will contain single-family-detached homes and town homes, for a total of 47 dwelling units. The natural drainage area, which currently bisects the land, will remain intact and will serve as a buffer area between the residential and commercial portions of the development.
“This (kind of collaboration) is exactly what we hope will happen in communities,” said County Commissioner Melanie Worley. “When this land was zoned in 1988, no one knew what it would really look like. It’s nice to see this happen between citizens and developers.”
Currently, no leases have been signed for the commercial area. According to Bill Jenkins, the real estate broker who is representing the Laramie Company on the project, five entities have signed letters of intent to lease space in the development. The Douglas County Library District, who will serve as an anchor tenant, has signed a letter of intent. The library is now working on finding funding for the project. Other letters of intent have come from a nail salon, massage studio, dry cleaners and hair salon.
“Letters of intent are not binding in any way,” said Jenkins. “But now that the County has approved the plans, we should have leases signed soon. We are also looking at two child daycare options, coffee options and some small restaurants. There may also be the possibility of a UPS Store or a United States Post Office.”
Residents Voice Concerns at Planning Commission Hearing
The presentation to the County Commissioners was a relatively smooth process, but residents were somewhat more vocal at a previous meeting, held on November 27, 2006, with the Douglas County Planning Commission.
At the hearing, residents voiced their concerns regarding many issues surrounding the development, including traffic, safety and property values.
“In regard 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.
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.”
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, member of the CC-20 Committee, the 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.”
After hearing from all involved parties, the Planning Commission ultimately approved the plan, recommending that it be approved by the County Commissioners.
What Are the Next Steps Toward Development?
According to Village Homes, it will be a minimum of six or seven months before any structures are erected on the site. Village Homes will begin the long process of obtaining plan approval from Douglas County for each individual commercial building, as well as approval for subdividing the residential land into individual lots.
According to Margaret Barden, public processing manager for Village Homes, some minor changes to the land itself could begin in February. “With the minor plat development plan approved, we can go in an put in some basic infrastructure, like water and sewer,” said Barden.
To learn about the history of CC-20 and the committee that was instrumental in this development process, please visit www.cpnhoa.org.