Recommendation on Red Rocks Ranch rezoning postponed — again

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By Deborah Swearingen

Another long meeting led to another postponed recommendation on rezoning Red Rocks Ranch.

The Rooney Valley Commission, made up of representatives from Lakewood and Morrison, opted to postpone its decision for a second time after more than four hours of public comment, questions and discussion on April 25. The commission will reconvene May 17 at Red Rocks Elementary to ask additional questions and make a recommendation on the rezoning.

The choice to postpone came two weeks after the commission pushed back a decision at the conclusion of its April 12 public hearing.

It also came after the commission in a 4-2 vote on April 25 voted against a motion to recommend approval of rezoning, and then commission members decided to take more time to consider their vote and read through the documents.

The Rooney Valley Commission will make a recommendation on approval or denial of the rezoning before it goes to the Morrison Town Board.

The proposed project, at the northeast corner of C-470 and Morrison Road, is in Morrison town limits.

The developer, Ventana Capital, is proposing a maximum of 1,350 dwelling units on 309 acres, plus commercial uses on approximately 40 acres with plans to provide services such as a supermarket, restaurants and retail. The property would have at least 37 acres of parks, open space and trails.

The developer is interested in moving the property out of Morrison’s jurisdiction and into unincorporated Jefferson County.

The recommendation from the Rooney Valley Commission on the proposed rezoning is important because if the Morrison Town Board votes to allow the rezoning, that change will be permanent even if the land ultimately becomes part of unincorporated Jeffco, according to Carmen Beery, who filled in for Morrison Town Attorney Gerald Dahl.

Mostly Lakewood residents attended the second meeting, and the crowd was angry to hear of the continuance, particularly after a majority voted against recommending approval. There was an audible stir from those remaining in the crowd and many shouted out their frustration, saying, “It’s too late!”

Disconnect on the disconnect

The divide between Lakewood and Morrison on the topic of disconnection was evident at the hearing.

Although disconnection is a legislative decision and will ultimately be voted on by the Morrison Town Board, it is mentioned in one of the staff’s conditions of approval. The condition says “recording of the ODP amendment shall be contingent upon approval of disconnection by the town.”

Because of this, Lakewood members of the commission wanted to ask about it and became frustrated when their questions weren’t answered. The three Morrison members, including Brewster Caesar, whose board term ended after the April election, said they were unable to speak for the board and could not answer questions about the disconnection.

“If it is their intention to disconnect, they will do that regardless,” said commission member Dale Miller. “ … I am personally finding it a waste of my time to be here if what we’re not really trying to do is improve the development of the Rooney Valley. That’s the whole point of this Rooney Valley Commission.”

“ … If it’s the town board’s will to disconnect this land, then that’s fine. They can do it,” he added. “But it has nothing to do with what we’re doing here.”

Ultimately, the Rooney Valley Commission voted to remove the condition. Morrison had scheduled its public hearing on Tuesday, but the hearing has been rescheduled until the commission makes a recommendation.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.