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Rezoning approved for apartments

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250-unit complex planned at Mineral and South Platte Canyon

By Ramsey Scott

The City Council has approved a change to residential rezoning for a property in southwest Littleton, clearing the way for a 250-unit apartment complex at Mineral Avenue and South Platte Canyon Road.

The rezoning for the Meadows at Platte Valley development was approved on a 4-3 vote, with council members Peggy Cole, Jerry Valdes and Bruce Beckman voting no. Rents in the development will run from $1,000 to $1,500.

The 16.14-acre property, which was annexed into the city in 1985, previously had been zoned for commercial planned development. Yet the developer, Evergreen Development, said that zoning had resulted in the property being vacant since that time.

During his presentation to the City Council on Aug. 20, developer Jeff Wickstrom said that when the 16 acres were zoned commercial, a higher residential density had been expected in the surrounding area. When the site was first zoned in 1985, about 1,700 more people were expected to be living in the surrounding neighborhoods.

The lack of density near the location has kept the owner from securing a large chain as an anchor tenant. Another reason Evergreen Development cited for the lack of success in attracting a large retailer was the proximity to several large grocery stores.

The Planning Board had approved the change on a 5-2 vote, with the strong recommendation that the developer install a traffic light at Mineral and South Wolff Street.

While the property will primarily be a residential development, 3 acres will remain as commercial. Evergreen is currently trying to attract businesses such a sandwich shop, day-care center or coffee shop for the neighborhood shopping center.

About a dozen people spoke out against the project, saying the zoning change would cost the city retail space and that 250 residential units would increase traffic in an already congested area.

Lack of retail space in Littleton is a common complaint during hearings to change commercial zoning to residential. Since Littleton is a landlocked area that can’t expand, there is a finite amount of retail space for the city to develop for a strong sales-tax base.

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