New site for school in The Canyons neighborhood –
Major amendment to The Canyons Planned Development – Planning Area 7 (PA7) – for a school.
By Chris Michlewicz; graphic by Tim Gamble
A change to development plans for The Canyons neighborhood in the City of Castle Pines is expected to provide more flexibility in determining the best locations for future schools to serve the City’s growing east side.
Castle Pines City Council unanimously voted on October 12 in favor of the major amendment to The Canyons Planned Development that opens up a new potential site – Planning Area 7 (PA7) – for a school. The zoning for PA7, which is located approximately a quarter-mile northeast of the I-25 and Happy Canyon Road interchange, previously allowed only residential development. It’s now one of three potential planning areas where a school could be built, including Planning Areas 13 and 14, which are approximately a half-mile east of the intersection of Canyonside Boulevard and Cross Canyon Trail and one mile north of Crowfoot Valley Road.
The move has the support of the entities involved, including the Douglas County School District, Shea Homes and North Canyons LLC, said Nick Hufford, planner for the City’s community development department.
PA7 is currently undergoing a final plat review process, which pinpoints the exact locations of structures, open space and other uses. The final plat for the planning area could be up for City Council approval as soon as November 9, Hufford said, adding a potential school site was not originally included in PA7 due to an oversight.
The type of school and timing for construction are determined by the Douglas County School District.
The amendment also changes the procedure for school site approval by the Castle Pines Planning Commission because it reclassifies schools from a “permitted use by special review” to a “principal permitted use” in The Canyons. Use by special reviews are typically for developments that are compatible with the permitted uses, but due to their intensity, size, or other factors, require additional scrutiny to ensure impacts are mitigated. The new process “streamlines the City’s review process” and brings it in line with state law, according to a staff memo about the amendment. A principal permitted use still requires site plan approval from the planning commission.
Approximately 80 acres of land have been set aside for schools in The Canyons, a development that will include 5,000 dwelling units, including apartments and single-family homes, when it’s built out.
To learn more about the amendment, visit www.castlepinesco.gov, click on Council Meetings and scroll down to the City Council Study Session and Regular Meeting for Oct. 12, then click on the Packet link; it is item 8b on the agenda.