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City of Castle Pines rezoning to include residential uses

By Bryan Goodland; graphic by Tim Gamble

Castle Pines City Council rezoning map

Castle Pines City Council recently approved the rezoning of PA12 to include attached single-family residential dwelling units. It is also exploring the possibility of re-acquiring PA11 from the Douglas County School District and using it for a park instead of a school.

Following a public hearing, the City of Castle Pines successfully passed Ordinance No. 20-01, which rezoned the area known as planned area 12 (PA12) to allow for attached single-family residential dwelling units.

PA12 is located on roughly 20 acres of land about a half-mile northwest of the Happy Canyon Road and I-25 intersection and is part of the larger 354-acre development project known as Castle Pines Town Center Planned Development.

The rezoning allows for up to 303 attached single-family residential units, for a total density of 15 dwelling units per acre. Attached single-family units include townhouses, triplexes, paired homes and quadraplexes. According to Community Development Director Sam Bishop, the plans indicate a minimum lot size of 700 square feet for the units. The lots will include minimal setbacks, and the maximum height is 35 feet, which supports a two and potentially three-story housing product.

“Perhaps this higher density housing could be more affordable – as it traditionally is,” stated Councilmember Deborah Mulvey, “and that would be the type of workforce housing that we need to sustain a viable commercial area.”

PA12 has a history going back to 2012 when it was originally slated to be developed as a mixed-use parcel, including residential dwelling units, office and commercial space, a 10-acre school site and a 24-acre park. Then in 2014, residential units replaced the commercial component, and the park evolved to a regional park, remaining as such until the recent rezoning approval.

Bishop explained that the City of Castle Pines was the applicant and initiated this request through the property owner, LS Partners LLC because the property will be dedicated to the City as part of the original planned development submittal. The process was treated as a typical land use application where there was a third party that prepared the traffic and drainage reports and the City reviewed them in-house. The traffic report contemplated the additional 300 attached single-family residential dwelling units, and found it met the overall intent of the Master Transportation Plan.

So why is the City doing this and why do they think this is a good idea? Elk Ridge Park is within a half-mile of PA12, and according to Bishop, although not originally planned as a regional park, Elk Ridge meets the regional park needs of current and future residents. He highlighted the fact that the City will still be collecting cash in lieu of parkland fees in the amount of $101,000 from the developer, as well as future additional cash in lieu of parkland and school land fees.

Within the Castle Pines Town Center Planned Development, there is also a 10-acre parcel planned for a school (PA11). “We have expressed interest to the Douglas County School District (DCSD) that we would like to re-acquire that property and use it for a park for this particular neighborhood,” said Bishop. He explained that DCSD does not have a need for a school at this site, which was originally envisioned as an elementary school. “It’s not sized for any other type of school; it’s 10 acres and barely meets the requirements for an elementary school; and the fact that we have worked out other deals on the east side of I-25 for a potential high school site, that’s what they’re more focused on,” he said. “I think that we’re in a really good position to work with the school district and get this land back for the City for parkland,” said Bishop. City Manager Michael Penny also noted that PA11 is on the west side of Lagae, allowing for more residents to access it without having to cross Lagae Road to PA12.

It makes good planning sense along I-25 where you have commercial areas to have some higher density residential, deduced Bishop. “These areas probably are not suitable for the traditional single-family detached style of development that you find currently throughout Castle Pines,” he stated.

Mayor Pro Tem Melissa Coudeyras said, “I feel that this change is a more appropriate use of the property considering the surrounding areas, and it creates more diversity in our housing stock.” She concluded, “I find that it meets the approval criteria for a major amendment of our zoning ordinance.”

Council approved the rezoning with a unanimous 6-0 vote. To view the staff report, resolution and supporting documents, visit https://www.castlepinesco.gov.

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