Some residents at a community meeting Oct. 25 expressed concerns about three-story buildings, fences, drainage, runoff and expanding soils in connection with a development group’s plan to seek rezoning to build an apartment complex at South Simms Street and West Belleview Avenue.
The proposed complex includes 17 buildings and 316 units on 13.5 acres on the northeast side of the intersection.
About 50 people turned out at the Dakota Ridge Assembly Church, 11455 W. Belleview Ave., to get a look at the developer’s concept and ask questions. Jeffco zoning case manager Jeanne Shaffer was present to answer questions on the planning process on behalf of the Planning and Zoning Division.
The community meeting is the first step in the process before a rezoning hearing at the Planning Commission and another hearing with the county commissioners, who make the final decision. Before the Planning Commission hearing many of the final design details will be worked out.
The complex would be built on a 13-acre L-shaped property that wraps around a large corner parcel that will be reserved for commercial and retail uses and is no longer part of the apartment project.
Developers are seeking to rezone the rest of the property as Planned Development to build multifamily units, a clubhouse with a pool, and a private road with outdoor parking spaces and carports. The land abuts the Dakota Ridge Assembly Church property on the north and east.
The property owners are the Gerald Stafford Family Trust, JBK Investments and Doris Bown Frost LLLP. The developers are Harvey Deutsch of Denver and Michael Blumenthal of Greenwood Village, according to documents filed with the county planning department.
The proposal is the latest in a series of multifamily developments that have surfaced in South Jeffco in the last year. Others include the Ken Caryl Towne Center (280 units), which was approved Sept. 4. Another complex is proposed for the intersection of Alameda and C-470. In August, commissioners rejected a developer's plea for a hefty fee waiver in connection with the proposed Kipling Commons apartment complex at West Quincy Avenue and South Kipling Parkway.
The Belleview Village property has been on the market for years, said Mike Kortendick of Land Form Inc. of Evergreen, a planner working for the developers.
Kortendick showed a conceptual color rendering of the project, with a private, L-shaped road that accesses Belleview Avenue on the south and Simms on the west.
The apartment buildings would be set back from the property line by 30 feet.
The new apartments would be high-end with numerous luxury features, newly planted pine trees, a designer “garden wall” and a long list of written design restrictions, Kortendick said. As required by the county, the developers would make contributions to the Foothills Park and Recreation District, as well as Jefferson County Public Schools.
Surrounding homes would not be affected by traffic since it would be a “gated” community on the private road that would not send traffic onto adjacent streets other than Belleview and Simms, Kortendick said.
The larger area north of Dakota Assembly Church and the proposed Belleview Village consists mainly of single-family homes in the Lakehurst West subdivision.
Because some of the homes would share a boundary with the apartment complex, the developers agreed to make the buildings on the sloping north end one-story with a basement walk-out to reduce the height difference. Buildings on the interior and the west end would be two- and three-story to make up for the lost density elsewhere.
A couple of audience members said they were worried about runoff from the apartment complex flooding into the yards of adjacent single-family homes and causing problems.
Kortendick said drainage issues would be studied thoroughly and examined by the county at a later date. He suggested that French drains and landscape elements like cattail plantings could be used to help control water flow. He also said the subject property wasn’t in the expanding-soils district.
“We all have double drains and have walls caving in. French drains don’t do that well,” said one area resident. “Bentonite still causes problems. Can you do something better?”
Erica Franzel, a member of the board of directors of the Lakehurst West Homeowners Association, said there is so much water in the ground that her basement sump pump runs constantly.
One man thought the layout of the streets might cause headlights to shine in the neighbors’ windows.
Another woman who has lived in the area for 40 years said the swelling soil on the southwest side of Belleview and Simms was the subject of lawsuits.
“I’ve seen a lot of problems with soil, and we don’t see a lot of recourse,” she said.
A map of the "designated dipping bedrock area" on the Jeffco planning department website shows the corner of Belleview and Simms is included in the geologic feature that runs north and south along C-470.
A couple of people said 564 parking spaces wasn’t enough for 530 units, 180 of which would be either two- or three-bedroom units.
A man who lives next door pointed out that he lives at the bottom of a 40-foot slope, and if a 50-foot (three-story) building were above him, it would be like looking at a 90-foot building.
Some objected to the density in general. “This isn’t a typical urban environment,” one said.
Residents are invited to send their comments to the planning and zoning department to be included in the case record.
Meeting information will be sent to area residents and registered HOAs. Signs will also be posted on the property.