Change is inevitable. However, guiding change to be sensible and sustainable is the challenge. My tenure as a family-owned developer in Greenwood Village is approaching 40 years. We, as a development company, have participated in multiple cycles of development where lessons have been learned and progress made. We have been held to the high standards and the city’s published guidelines over our 50-year history.
In today’s development world, the economic cycle of higher costs demands corresponding returns to justify development, which precipitates a request for more density. There is nothing original in this fundamental strategy. I want to be on record that I am in favor of the gentrification of the Orchard Station area, which includes the demolition of all current buildings within the proposed district. I am not in favor of excessive density whose impact will be lasting and have a profound impact on the quality of life in Greenwood Village forever more.
• Traffic is an area-wide issue. The undeveloped land south of Orchard Road between Yosemite and Quebec south to Arapahoe Road still has well over 1 million-plus square feet of density to be built. Belleview Station on the north side of Belleview will generate additional traffic burden for the over 1+ million square feet to be developed. Combine this undeveloped density with the proposed density on Orchard Station site and the traffic impact will be extensive.
• It is a matter of Greenwood Village record that the AMG Bank building south of Orchard at Greenwood Plaza Blvd faced extensive delays due to Southgate Water and Sanitation’s inability to provide sanitary sewer service. Water and sewer are necessary components of any development going forward. Until there is proven capacity to serve all the development density in Southgate’s boundaries, it is not prudent to authorize any density that cannot be adequately supported.
Sensible and sustainable development is premised on having proven infrastructure to support not just one subdivision, but all remaining development within the aforementioned boundaries. The Alberta plan is appealing and attractive; however, it must be scaled in the context of a plan that will improve the quality of life of the Greenwood Village residents and where the verifiable engineering data for traffic, water, and sewer will determine what level of development is achievable.
The risk of development is mitigated by the amount of density that can be built. The sunk costs to date by the developer will comfortably be recovered with compressed density that is scaled to both the city’s historic guidelines, as well as being validated by engineering (traffic, water, sewer, storm sewer, and fire department demands), data that meets the city’s rigorous zoning requirements that all developers had to adhere to for any project-zoning approval over the decades.
As a matter of precedent, if this project is approved at the current density levels, what is going to prevent the next developer to seek the same? The impacts and consequences will be vast and lasting.
John Madden Development Company
A proposed change to Greenwood Village’s long-term development encompasses 44 acres on the west side of I-25 centered on the Orchard Station light rail stop. If approved, the Orchard Station plan would amend the Village’s comprehensive plan to allow a dense mix of office, retail, commercial and high-rise residential projects to the area.
Traffic congestion, extensive commutes, lack of open space and deteriorating air quality are already problematic, and this development would aggravate all these issues. Village officials have acknowledged that significant road projects would likely be required to meet increased traffic capacity needs if this development occurs. It is the residents who will be taxed to meet this need, and it is the residents who will sit in gridlock every evening as they attempt to reach their homes.
Residents of Greenwood Village appreciate what is unique and priceless about this community. Greenwood Village is an offering unlike any other in the Denver metro area. We are a village with a delicate ecosystem that is filled with hawks, owls, songbirds, foxes and other wildlife. We are fortunate that we do not have to follow the same well-worn path as our neighboring cities and create yet another transit-oriented development.
It would be wise to carefully plan this area in accordance with who we are as a community. The best way to stand out among other light-rail-oriented developments is to not do it. Let’s concern ourselves instead with what makes us great: Wildlife, parks, open spaces, views and all the things that contribute to a healthy future.
A “No” vote on the June 6 ballot will be the best way to protect our community plan and our quality of life.
Bob and Becky, Great columns in today’s Villager! This Subarea has been clear as mud until today’s issue on what and where and now makes sense. Last week, it took Dave and me 20 minutes going from about Yosemite and Orchard onto I-25 north. And all those new office and residential buildings popping up like the proverbial dandelions, how do you compensate drivers like us just idling and wasting gas? Build it now and thanks for the clarification.
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