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19-acre lot near Morrison to be rezoned for housing development

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By Corinne Westeman

The Jeffco Board of County Commissioners voted 2-1 during its Aug. 29 board meeting to approve rezoning a lot near Morrison to allow 19 single-family houses to be built there despite recommendations from staff members and the planning commission to deny the request.

The 19-acre lot in Willow Springs is directly south of U.S. 285, near the intersection with State Highway 8, and is along the Turkey Creek Flood Plain.

Jeffco staff and the planning commission opposed the rezoning because the county’s comprehensive master plan for this area encourages a maximum density of one dwelling unit per 10 acres. This level of density was recommended because of the area’s unique views and geology in its rock formations, the flood plain and nearby wildlife, case manager Mike Madrid said.

Applicant Joe Huey of Willow Springs Estates LLC and his fellow representatives said they would ensure that 50 percent of the whole parcel was left open and undeveloped, and also added language so that future developers and homeowners could only use wildlife-friendly fencing. They also said they would build the houses in such a way that neither the views nor the geology would be impacted, and all would be a safe distance from the flood plain.

All the commissioners commented that additional housing options are critical in Jeffco.

Commissioner Casey Tighe, who voted to oppose the rezoning, said he gave the comprehensive master plan some weight, adding that he was persuaded by what was said by the staff and the planning commission. He clarified that while the master plan is only an advisory document, he felt the board shouldn’t deviate from its guidance in this case.

Both Commissioners Libby Szabo and Don Rosier voted to approve the rezoning, commenting that they couldn’t turn a blind eye to the changes along the 285 corridor and that the proposed one dwelling unit per 1 acre density was complementary to the rest of the Willow Springs community.

Szabo pointed out that the master plan for the Willow Springs area was last updated in 2011, and that a lot has changed in Jeffco and Colorado in that time.

“I think it’s going to be a lovely community, with area for the wildlife to roam,” she said.

All the commissioners agreed that Willow Springs’ proposal was thoughtful and well done, and appreciated that the applicants were planning to leave half of the 19 acres undeveloped.