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Public meetings planned on town’s proposal to annex Southwest Plaza

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By Ramsey Scott

County Commissioner Casey Tighe will host two public meetings on the possible annexation of Southwest Plaza mall by the town of Bow Mar. 

The meetings are set for 3 to 5 p.m. July 10 and July 24 at the Columbine Library and are open to all county residents. 

 The owner of the mall, General Growth Properties, and representatives of Bow Mar presented a possible “flagpole” annexation, which would also include the town annexing stretches of West Bowles Avenue and South Sheridan Boulevard, on June 17 during staff briefings. 

Annexation of the mall, which is undergoing a $75 million to $80 million renovation, would allow General Growth and Bow Mar to enact a special sales tax to pay for public improvements at the mall. Revenue from the proposed 3 percent sales tax, which would have to be approved by Bow Mar residents in November’s election, would be split by the mall and the town. 

The two meetings are a chance to inform residents about the annexation proposal and the possible tax, what they would mean for neighbors and patrons of the mall, and to gauge the public’s opinion, Tighe said.

“I want to get people’s feelings if this is a good idea, bad idea, what the concerns are and what the thoughts are from the residents. It hasn’t been discussed much prior to this,” Tighe said. “This seems to be moving at a quick pace. I understand why the developer wants to make the November ballot in Bow Mar. I want to make sure the people in the area know what’s going on and provide their input.”

In the proposal to the county, Jeffco would continue to provide law enforcement at the mall and maintain the sections of streets annexed by Bow Mar, and Jeffco’s Planning and Zoning Department would handle all building applications. The county and Bow Mar are in talks about how those services would be funded to make the annexation revenue-neutral for Jeffco. 

While the county would handle building permits, the zoning rules would be Bow Mar’s, not Jeffco’s. That was another reason that Tighe said Jeffco residents near the mall should have a chance to offer opinions. 

“I’m curious as to what the other people in the area think and want them to weigh in. That mall is an important part of the community, and that’s why it’s such a tough thing,” Tighe said. “We want to see it vibrant, and part of the question is, ‘What’s the best way to make that happen?’ ”

In a similar agreement, another mall owned by General Growth Properties, Park Meadows, was annexed by the town of Lone Tree. That 30-year agreement splits sales-tax revenue 50-50 between the mall and Lone Tree. Once that agreement ends, all sales-tax revenue would go to Lone Tree, unless a new agreement is reached. 

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine. Check www.columbinecourier.com for updates.