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Red Rocks wedding chapel rezoned for running store

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By Deborah Swearingen

Goodbye, weddings; hello, running.

The Chapel at Red Rocks was sold in April, and it’s on its way to becoming a specialty running store after the Morrison Town Board approved rezoning the property from agricultural to planned development in its July 3 meeting.

Avid runners Ken Pliska and Deb Spence purchased the spot with plans to turn the existing space into a specialty running store, much like Runners High, the store they already own in Golden.

“We just love people. We love taking care of people. We love taking care of communities,” Spence said. “We’ve developed what I feel is a very strong running community in Golden.”

The pair hopes to accommodate retail and professional office uses within the existing building, which is located at 905 Bear Creek Avenue in Morrison just west of Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. Additional allowances include a future single-family residence, a church or wedding chapel or agricultural uses.

According to information from Morrison’s planning staff, a special use review of the 0.77-acre property was approved in 1991 to allow the existing use of the wedding chapel.

In addition to a running store, Pliska and Spence say they are considering offering physical therapy, massage and chiropractic services.

“That’s a nice complementary addition to our business,” Pliska said. “... It is the up-and-coming thing for specialty running stores to have those services in house. … And it’s nice for a community.”

Furthermore, they envision partnering with Red Rocks Elementary School to coordinate running-centric events or fundraisers.

But perhaps of most importance, they intend to maintain the natural beauty of the property and have no plans to expand the existing building’s footprint.

“We do love it as it is,” Pliska said. “The views are unbelievable, so we’re excited about that.”

Concerns from the town

From the board’s discussion at its July 3 meeting, it became apparent that while the town had few qualms about rezoning the property, there was some concern about the potential for growth.

“It’s pretty clear that what they’re proposing is a lower intensity use than what we currently have up there,” said board member Katie Gill.

“No one’s concerned about a home,” said Mayor Sean Forey. “Everyone’s concerned about an expanding business.”

However, no one attended either the town board or planning commission’s public hearing to share any such concern, and Pliska and Spence emphasized that their plans don’t include expansion.

Additionally, town planner Stephanie Stevens said the rezoning allows for very specific uses. If the property was sold, new owners would need to come before the town board if they intended to open anything but a specialty running store, professional office, home or church.

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