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Littleton council OKs Nevada Place changes

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By Ramsey Scott

The Littleton City Council has approved a contentious measure that will allow the second phase of the Nevada Place residential development to be built. 

The council voted 4-3 to let Camelback Development modify its plan for a new building at Nevada Street and Powers Avenue, changing the number of living units from 37 two-bedroom apartments to 72 one-bedroom apartments. The council’s approval was needed because the change drops the number of parking spaces per bedroom below the city’s standard requirement.

Mayor Debbie Brinkman and council members Phil Cernanec, Bruce Stahlman and Jim Taylor voted to approve the measure before a packed city council chambers. 

While Brinkman expressed some reservations, she said the change ultimately would add just 24 more residents.

The city’s planning board had voted against the change after neighborhood residents objected to the waiver of the parking-space requirement and said the larger number of residents would increase traffic in the area. Planning staff, citing the potential boon to neighborhood businesses, along with the building’s proximity to RTD’s downtown Littleton light-rail station, had endorsed the change.  

Camelback must pay for a study of the parking situation before and after construction. If effects on residential parking near the development are seen, the city would start issuing residential parking permits.

More than 70 people signaled their opposition to the change at the Feb. 5 council meeting, and many of those spoke. Public comment lasted until after 11 p.m., pushing the final vote until after midnight. 

At one point, neighborhood resident Paul Bingham asked for a show of hands in the audience. Almost every hand in the room shot up to show disapproval of the change. 

The proposed change had backing from local businesses. In letters to the council, supporters pointed to the development as a potential boon to the downtown economy. 

Under Littleton’s zoning regulations, apartment buildings must have 1.5 parking spaces per bedroom. Before the change, the second phase of the development would have had 1.95 spaces per bedroom; after the change, that number dropped to 1.07 spaces per bedroom. 

Because the building will be about a six-minute walk to the light-rail station, the developer maintains that traffic effects would be minimal and says Denver and Lakewood have reduced parking-space requirements for apartment buildings near mass-transit stations. 

But neighborhood residents countered that downtown Littleton doesn’t meet many of the criteria for a “transit-oriented development,” and that the building’s residents will have to drive to grocery stores and other destinations.

The proposed building is the second phase of the Nevada Place development. The two buildings in the development were originally supposed to be built at the same time, but Camelback decided to build only one initially during the economic downturn. The first phase was constructed in 2010; it has 31 two-bedroom apartments.  

The developer said the new one-bedroom apartments will rent for about $1,400 to $1,600 a month. 

 

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22.