Rezoning at C-470, Alameda proceeds

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Plan was recommended for approval from planning commission

By Deborah Swearingen

With just one community member speaking on the subject, a proposal to rezone the southeast corner of C-470 and West Alameda Parkway was recommended for approval by all members of the Jefferson County Planning Commission in a Sept. 26 hearing that lasted less than an hour.

If rezoning ultimately is approved by the Board of County Commissioners, the proposal could bring hotels, motels, gas stations and more to the Rooney Valley. The land, approximately 30 acres, is owned by Three Dinos LLC and is the latest in a long history of development proposals in the Rooney Valley — many of which have been strongly opposed by residents in Morrison and Lakewood. The applicant’s first attempt at rezoning in 2016 received dozens of letters in opposition.

Despite this, just one person came to speak during public comment at last week’s hearing, noting many of the usual concerns about development including additional traffic, light pollution and obstruction of views.

“I grew up in this area. I’ve seen this area develop,” said Philip Morgan, a Solterra resident.

“I’m just not for it,” he added, speaking of this particular proposal.

However, planner Heather Gutherless said updating the zoning from medium scale retail to planned development wouldn’t change much. Among other things, it would add gas and service stations, hotels and motels, car washes and entertainment facilities as permitted uses instead of special uses, a move that provides potential tenants a sense of assurance, according to the development team. Another key change to zoning is the addition of a 50-foot height allowance for hotels and motels.

“The uses are very compatible with what the existing zoning already is on the property,” Gutherless said. “ … Plus, the property is located on a major highway intersection where typically the county likes to see more intense commercial development. And it’s well-suited to serve the needs of a large commercial development because the infrastructure is there.”

The applicant has worked to mitigate some of the concerns surrounding the project.

Motorcycle-related uses and self-storage have both been removed from the development plan.

Additionally, multi-color LED lights will not be allowed on the property, and traffic improvements would be required if the project is to move forward.

Many of the Planning Commission members commended the development team for working with planning staff and the community to address the issues. Furthermore, Commissioner Tom Hatton said commercial development is much needed in the area.

“Being very familiar with the area, there’s a big need for retail in this area,” he said. “ … The population is growing rather quickly.”

Community members will have a final opportunity to provide feedback when the case comes before the county commissioners on Oct. 16.

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