Residents concerned about car-dealership proposal at C-470 and Kipling

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By Deborah Swearingen

Residents in neighboring Chatfield Bluffs South, Ken-Caryl and Deer Creek Canyon are concerned about a plan to bring two indoor, high-end car dealerships to a plot of land south of C-470 and South Kipling Parkway.

Many residents are opposed to the proposal, fearing the effects of additional traffic in an area that is heavily used by cyclists. Others worry rezoning five acres of a 20-acre lot might set a precedent and make it easier for the remaining 15 acres to be rezoned in the future.

In addition, they are frustrated to be fighting the same battle after a similar proposal was eventually scrapped five years ago.

If rezoning is approved, Ferrari of Denver would build Ferrari and Bentley-Lotus dealerships at the intersection of West Toller Drive and West Ute Avenue near the TownePlace Suites. The first step is to rezone the five acres, which is currently recommended for light industrial and office use.

A community meeting attended by more than 70 people was held Jan. 23 at the Deer Creek Golf Club. Since then, the developer has not filed a formal application for rezoning with Jefferson County. Ferrari of Denver did not respond to a request for comment.

If an application is filed, case manager Mike Madrid said it’s tough to say when the case might come before the planning commission. It likely will take anywhere from several weeks to several months before a decision is made, he said.

Regardless of what happens, residents say they plan to fight.

“We would go to the next level and actually file an injunction to stop this if that would be necessary to show the … county commissioners how strongly we feel against this,” said Cork Chicota, a resident of Ken Caryl for more than 40 years.

“If we prevent this from going in, then the subsequent rezonings will be much more difficult and highly unlikely,” Chicota said. “If we allow this to go in, then it opens the door for the remaining 15 acres, which is absolutely terrible for that location.”

Additional traffic

According to those who attended the Jan. 23 meeting, Ferrari of Denver maintains that test drives are infrequent at high-end dealerships, but residents still have concerns about test driving high-performance vehicles on heavily trafficked mountain roads.

Longtime Deer Creek Canyon resident John Vierthaler called nearby Deer Creek Canyon Road “the Front Range Mecca” for competitive and recreational cyclists.

Kirk McGahey and Robb Fort, who live near the property and enjoy cycling, agree.

“There are up to 1,000 cyclists riding up (Dear Creek Canyon), and I’m one of them,” McGahey said. “That’s the only way I can go. … The area’s just not appropriate for (a car dealership).”

In Fort’s eyes, cyclists leverage the nearby parks, including Chatfield State Park, Deer Creek Canyon Park and South Valley Park, in a way that is healthy and green.

“That would potentially be ruined because the dealership traffic would have to go right in that same area,” he said. “I am concerned someone’s going to get killed. People are going to go somewhere else or not do it, which I just think’s wrong.”

Fighting the same fight

Because a similar proposal was made and withdrawn several years ago, some longtime residents say they are frustrated to be fighting the same battle, and Madrid said this was evident at the community meeting.

Lori Brooks, president of the Chatfield Bluffs South homeowners association, is one of those people. She was part of the opposition to the 2012 proposal.

“At the meeting, most people were floored,” she said. “We’re going through this again?”

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