Quick Notice: Tonight’s Apex Meeting Cancelled


This is a quick notice to those who were planning to attend tonight’s public input meeting on its bond proposal for new recreational facilities for Arvada:  the meeting has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.

The meeting was scheduled for 6:30 pm Thursday February 26th.  You can read the cancellation notice at this Apex web page:

http://apexprd.org/public-input-invited-apex-prd-master-plan-projects

This was to have been one of three public input meetings before Apex decides what to put on the ballot this November.  Apex may ask the voters to renew $25 million in bonds for the District, and what facilities projects will be included has not yet been decided.

Apex Board of Directors

Apex Board of Directors

There is one final input meeting still scheduled, and that will be held on Thursday, March 26th at the Apex Community Center across the street from the Arvada Center.  That meeting will begin at 6:30 pm and I will try to send out a reminder to our members and friends a few days before that on our RalstonCommunity.org website.

Sorry about the late notice, apparently the meeting was cancelled last Friday, but I did not see a notice until I was starting to clean the snow off the car this afternoon.

–John Kiljan

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Neighborhood Festival this Saturday at Echter’s Garden Center


If you live near Terrace Park or use it regularly, you may be interested in a free neighborhood festival to be held at Echter’s Nursery and Garden Center this Saturday morning, February 28th, from 9:30am to 11:30am.

Terrace Park

Terrace Park

The purpose of the festival is to hear citizens’ ideas about how to improve the park and the neighborhoods around it. And it’s to have some fun too. This will be a family-friendly event with healthy food, music and child care provided.

It’s sponsored by the City of Arvada and its Healthy Places initiative and you can see the see the official announcement at this link

https://arvada.org/pages/neighborhood-festivals-scheduled-to-solicit-input-for-healthy-places-neighborhood-engagment-initiatives

where it has phone numbers to call if there is a problem with the weather on Saturday, and at

http://healthyplacesarvada.org/healthy-places-resources-classes-and-events

–JK

Echter's Nursery and Garden Center on Garrison Street

Echter’s Nursery and Garden Center on Garrison Street

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Love and Hate – Two Different Views on Urban Renewal


by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends,

On Friday, February 20th, and on Saturday, February 28th, there will be a couple of public meetings of significance. One will be on the benefits that urban renewal brings to Arvada, and the other will center on why urban renewal should be stopped altogether.

The first discussion will be hosted by the Arvada Chamber of Commerce (CoC). The second is being put together by the loosely organized Facebook group called, “Let’s Talk, Arvada – Arvada for All the People” (LTA).

Olde Wads & Grandview before AURA

Olde Wads & Grandview before AURA

Olde Wads & Grandview after AURA redevelopment

Olde Wads & Grandview after AURA redevelopment

These are not academic discussions. The General Assembly is expected to be taking a hard look at urban renewal during its 2015 legislative session. During the 2014 session, the Legislature passed a last-minute bill that would have effectively redirected much urban renewal revenues to counties and stopped urban renewal activities for a number of months while the bill was weighed by attorneys and adjudicated by the courts. The Governor vetoed that bill. But a similar bill is expected to be brought up again during the 2015 session which ends in early May.

The CoC’s speaker will be Maureen Phair, the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority’s Executive Director. She’s expected to give a short history of urban renewal in Arvada and an update on the City’s plans for redeveloping the Triangle shopping centers and the areas surrounding the heart of Olde Town. All told, if carried through, those developments will amount to many tens of millions of dollars in new commercial investments in central Arvada.

The Chamber’s early Friday morning breakfasts are usually pretty good when hosted at the Arvada Center and are well worth the $15 fee — even if you don’t like what you’re hearing. And you don’t have to be a member of the Chamber to attend. But be sure to book by noon on Thursday so the caterers can figure out how much food to come up with the next morning. Chamber members can get grumpy if they run out of eggs and bacon.

Here’s the link that lets you do that:

http://arvadachamber.chambermaster.com/events/details/3rd-friday-breakfast-aura-update-10981

1882 Schoolhouse before AURA restoration

1882 School House before AURA restoration

School House after $1.5 million AURA restoration

School House after $1.5 million AURA restoration

The LTA’s Saturday morning meeting will feature Bruce Baker, who is a Westminster City Council member elected in November of 2013 and who ran on a platform opposed to urban renewal in the City of Westminster.  Westminster has a lot of urban renewal on its plate and some are wondering if that city can afford all the urban renewal programs it has planned. You can read about the LTA meeting in this Arvada Press article:

http://arvadapress.com/stories/Residents-scrutinize-changes-in-city,179967

The lengthy 24-item action agenda referenced in the Arvada Press article can be found at

http://www.arvadaforallthepeople.com/action-agenda-for-arvada.html

And there is no fee planned for the 10:30 am LTA meeting at the library on Saturday morning. Any cookies and refreshments provided should be free.

The LTA keynote speaker, Bruce Baker, was elected councilor in Westminster in November of 2013. You can read more of his somewhat unique-for-Westminster opinions on urban renewal at this link:

http://completecolorado.com/pagetwo/2015/01/01/westminster-abusing-blight-designation-for-tif-funded-urban-renewal/

There’s a lot happening in Arvada in 2015, and whatever view of urban renewal prevails, it should be as Yankee catcher Yogi Berra once observed: “The future ain’t what it used to be.”

Before the Water Tower project

Before the Water Tower project

 

 

Water Tower development

Water Tower development

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
Arvada City Council member Jerry Marks is the current chair of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Kami Welch is the Chamber’s President. Their website can be found at

http://www.arvadachamber.org/

The independent Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA) has a web page at

http://arvadaurbanrenewal.org/

The City of Arvada also updates AURA’s Triangle shopping center efforts at its website at

http://arvada.org/about-arvada/arvada-triangle

and at

https://arvada.org/about-arvada/ralston-creek/

If you want to read a recent article about AURA’s influence on the redevelopment of Olde Town, try this link for a Denver Post article:

http://www.denverpost.com/arvada/ci_27542904/years-effort-paying-off-revitalization-arvadas-olde-town

The “Let’s Talk, Arvada – Arvada for All the People” Facebook group is thought to be organized by community activist Cindi Kreutzer (pronounced CRYTZ-er) and former Arvada mayoral candidate Dave Chandler. If you are on Facebook, you can just type in that long name and read the many posts denouncing urban renewal in Arvada. You can also read many anti-Walmart posts on the “Stop Arvada Walmart” Facebook page which seems to have the same principal sponsors as the LTA.

Wadsworth motel before urban renewal

Wadsworth motel before urban renewal

This group, the Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community, is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway. There are many articles on our website about urban renewal, the Triangle shopping centers, Olde Town and the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority. Feel free to browse our archives and sign up for new postings.

Our main website is at http://www.RalstonCommunity.org or you can read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. And, you can write to us, call us or email us at

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

— John Kiljan, CLRC secretary

February 18, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Thursday Night Meeting on Olde Town’s Coming Hotel


by John Kiljan
[updated February 21, 2015]

Dear CLRC members and friends,

The City of Arvada and its urban renewal authority have been trying to get a hotel to locate in or near Olde Town for at least a couple of decades now. They have not been successful. Although there has been interest, no private developer has yet been able to get the financing needed to actually build a hotel – this despite offers of financial assistance based on the new revenues a hotel would bring to Olde Town.

Hilton Garden Inn example

Hilton Garden Inn example

Until now, that is. An independent operator says it now has the financing needed to build a Hilton Garden Inn hotel at the current location of the Vineyard church just below the hill in Olde Town. The site is also known as Brooklyn’s. This should be very good news for Olde Town businesses — and for the County and Jeffco schools who will eventually see quite a pop in the property tax revenues they receive from the increased value of the land.

Hotel site -- click to enlarge

Hotel site — click to enlarge

According to a Wikipedia posting, “Hilton Garden Inns are considered to be upscale mid-priced hotels that are designed for both business and leisure travelers. The hotel brand is similar to that of the Courtyard by Marriott, a key competitor. Similar to other Hilton brands, most Hilton Garden Inn properties are independently owned and operated, franchised under a licensing agreement with Hilton Worldwide.” The $17 million hotel is planned to be four stories tall and have 136 rooms. It will employ 60 to 80 people and have 3000 square feet of meeting space.

The developer and the City will be holding a public meeting later this week to answer questions about the development. If you are interested, it should be a pretty informative meeting. Here’s the time and place:

Thursday, February 19, 2015
6:00 pm
Lawrence Elementary School Library
5611 Zephyr Street
Arvada, CO 80002

[Update February 21, 2015]

The meeting held last Thursday had about a dozen citizens attending.  The comments were generally supportive of Olde Town having a hotel on the site.  However, most attending seemed to think the architecture was a bit boxy and didn’t blend in that well with the rest of of the architecture in Olde Town.  The designers seemed disappointed to hear that, and they said it was their intent to modify a standard HGI format as much as they could to blend in better with the other buildings in the neighborhood.  They will go back and have another look at the design  proposal.  Cost is a major factor in having a radically different design.

The conceptual design proposed by the developer is shown here in the photo below, where it can be compared to the example of a more typical HGI hotel pictured at the top of this article.

The Denver Post covered the meeting with reporter Austin Briggs, and you can read their article at

http://www.denverpost.com/arvada/ci_27567133/proposed-hilton-would-be-first-modern-hotel-arvada/

And the Arvada Press printed a guest column by local community activist, Dave Chandler, who characterized the project as a government giveaway scheme in his writeup.  You can read that article at

http://arvadapress.com/stories/Arvada-governments-hotel-bailout-scheme-equals-Hilton-handout,180847?

Concept drawing of the hotel looking westward

Concept drawing of the hotel looking westward. The conference facilities are located on the south end.  (Partial photo taken from a presentation poster board.

[end of update]

Meeting notice -- click to enlarge

Meeting notice

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
If you are interested in the economic benefits the hotel brings to the City, you can read a very detailed financial statement in the AURA board packet at this link:

http://static.arvada.org/docs/AURAPACKET010715-1-201501051111.pdf

And you can read a previous CLRC article on Arvada’s future hotel prospects, what happens to the Vineyard church, and more, at this link:

http://ralstoncommunity.org/2015/01/11/our-readers-olde-town-hotels-and-the-vineyard-church-notes-from-the-net/

For a look at the features a HGI hotel typically offers, have a look at this website:

http://www.hiltonworldwide.com/portfolio/hilton-garden-inn/

And the Wikipedia article referenced can be found at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilton_Garden_Inn

The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

Our main website is at http://www.RalstonCommunity.org or you can read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. You can write to us, call us or email us at

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

February 14, 2015

John Kiljan

John Kiljan

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Notes from the Net – GOP Appoints Arvada’s New House District 27 Representative


by John Kiljan

[updated February 5, 2015]

Dear CLRC members and friends,

Lang Sias

Lang Sias

Last weekend, Lang Sias was appointed as Libby Szabo’s replacement to represent most of central Arvada in the Colorado House of Representatives for the remainder of Ms Szabo’s two-year term. Along the central Ralston Road corridor, District 27 covers the neighborhoods that are west of Olde Wadsworth. East of Olde Wadsworth is included House District 29. Tracy Kraft-Tharp, a Democrat, was recently reelected to that seat. Lang Sias is a Republican.

This is an important appointment. The Colorado House is currently controlled by the Democratic Party, which has a majority of one seat [corrected:  Dems have a 34-31 edge in the House]. The Senate has a Republican majority of one seat. Several bipartisan issues of local interest are expected to come up during this legislative session.

Those include cutting back the authority of the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA) to remove urban blight in the Triangle shopping center and in the area around Olde Town. Also likely to be on the agenda is construction-defect legislation intended to encourage the building of owner-occupied condominiums instead of the hundreds of new apartments now being planned for central Arvada.

Here are a couple of links to recent non-partisan news articles on the appointment:

http://www.coloradostatesman.com/content/995357-sias-top-gun-house-vacancy-election

and

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_27432807/lang-sias-picked-fill-colorado-state-house-seat

You can also read a few comments on the appointment on our CLRC Facebook page. It also has a list of the Republican vacancy committee members.

If you are interested in partisan coverage, readers can get a take on the appointment by the Democratic-leaning Colorado Pols website by going to this link at

http://coloradopols.com/diary/67380/breaking-lang-sias-finally-wins-an-election-sort-of

Oddly, there has been nothing on the appointment posted on the Republican-leaning ColoradoPeakPolitics website at http://coloradopeakpolitics.com/ , but something may show up later on.

[Update]  ColoradoPeakPolitics’ article had simply scrolled off the screen.  Here’s the link to their writeup:

http://coloradopeakpolitics.com/2015/02/02/flying-high-lang-sias-lands-hd27/

* * *

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

Our main website is at http://www.RalstonCommunity.org or you can read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”.

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

February 4, 2015

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Tall is Five Stories? Park Place Olde Town Reaches to the Sky


by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends,

Park Place Olde Town (PPOT) construction is moving along at a rapid clip with the first apartments on the south end of the block expected to be rented out at the end of the year — even while the rest of the building is under construction. According to Arvada’s urban renewal authority, another temporary construction crane is expected to be set up to complete the top deck of the one-story parking structure that will be located under the four-stories of apartments being built on top of it. The project’s 153 apartments will look out over McIlvoy Park and Olde Town to the west, and over the Wadsworth Bypass and the Stocke-Walter neighborhood to the east.

Park Place elevator shaft reaches the top of the building

Park Place elevator shaft reaches the top of the building

But what’s of most interest is the height of the first elevator shaft constructed – the plain, tall, boring, square concrete tower that now sits at the south end of the site. It’s important because the top of the shaft defines how high Park Place will be when it is completed, and it gives a pretty good idea of what the profile of the finished building will be when viewed from the rest of Olde Town. More elevators shafts of the same height are to be poured for the north part of the building.

Aerial plan view without park trees

Artists aerial view of the finished apartments with adjacent park trees removed for clarity

Many Arvada residents have complained that the overall five-story height of the structure will loom over Olde Town Arvada and it will destroy – yes, literally destroy — Arvada’s historical and architectural heritage as well as its small-town appeal. They’ve also complained that PPOT will create a wall separating Old Town from the growing traffic on the Wadsworth Bypass to the east. I can understand most of these concerns, but with 60,000 cars a day moving up and down the Bypass, I really can’t understand why shielding Olde Town from the roar of traffic on Wadsworth wouldn’t be a good thing.

DID SOMEONE EXAGGERATE?
It’s time for a few personal opinions here: Looking back on some of the widely circulated information put out by a local neighborhood group, Save Arvada Now (SAN), about how the new building will tower over the City when it is finished, it appears that a lot of people were mislead by a few. Many people were genuinely frightened and angered by a video circulated by SAN showing artist’s renditions of what PPOT’s impact on Olde Town’s skyline would be. At the same time, SAN was posting its “Olde Town is being destroyed” video, the group was also asking for donations for legal action to help stop the project.

In my own opinion, the video was a gross deception, and there is no one in Arvada – whether they are for against this kind of development – who should not feel insulted by it. The truth about what is actually being built is a lot more reassuring to those who value the quality of life Olde Town brings to Arvada. Those who produced the video and promoted it should be ashamed of their deception.

For Arvada, five stories IS tall — there’s no doubt about that. But the construction of the first elevator shaft leaves little doubt about how high the building will actually appear to those visiting or living in the area. Here are a several photographic comparisons of what SAN has told citizens the visual impact of Park Place will be, and what we now know is actually being constructed. You can take a few moments to walk around Olde Town and see for yourself where the top of the elevator shaft is. Or, look at the photos here and judge for yourself how bad the coming “destruction” of Olde Town will actually be.

The deception -- St Anne's bell tower from Fuzzy's

The deception — St Anne’s bell tower viewed from Fuzzy’s

The truth -- the top of PPOT's elevatator is below the V mark

The truth — the top of PPOT’s elevator is below the V mark

The deception -- the view from Grandview's orthodontist

The deception — the view from Grandview in front of the orthodontist’s office

The truth -- the same Grandview office with the south PPOT elevator in the  background

The truth — the same Grandview office with the south PPOT elevator in the background

The deception -- view from the Mcilvoy House

The deception — PPOT view from the Mcllvoy House, the video’s reporter is not identified

The truth -- the actual view of the McIlvoy House with the top of the elevator shaft below the V

The truth — the actual view of the McIlvoy House with the top of the elevator shaft below the V

 

The deception -- PPOT seen from Saint Anne's school

The deception — PPOT looming over Saint Anne’s school

The truth -- the actual view of the elevator shaft viewed from St Anne's school front door

The truth — the actual view of the elevator shaft viewed from St Anne’s school front door

The deception -- view of Park Place from Grandview and Olde Wadsworth

The deception — view of Park Place from Grandview and Olde Wadsworth

I have no matching “truth” photo for this one.  Park Place will not be visible at all from this intersection.

CHAMBER POTS, DOGS, WIFI AND SHADOWS

after Leyden painter Frans van Mieris the Elder

Emptying a chamber pot — after Leyden painter Frans van Mieris the Elder

Park Place Olde Town often derisively called “pee pot” by the project’s detractors. Despite that unfortunate imagery, the 300 or so new semi-affluent residents living within easy walking distance should add quite a bit of vitality to Olde Town and the businesses that operate there. If, like me, you are saddened by Olde Town businesses closing down because they cannot attract enough customers to keep up their rents, you should find Park Place to be a welcome development.

And the people we elected to govern the City seem to think PPOT is a good fit for Olde Town as well. The construction of Park Place and its permit to build additional sidewalks on the adjacent parts of McIlvoy Park to handle the new foot traffic were unanimously approved by the Arvada City Council.

That’s not to say that our City government always supports Arvada’s historical heritage. The City of Arvada no longer allows chamber pots to be emptied onto its streets in morning.

Proposed Park Place common patio area

Proposed Park Place common patio area

And for those who can afford the rent, Park Place should be a nice place to live, both for young millennials and for more elderly residents who will have elevator access to all the floors. In addition to the nice view over the park and its easy walkability, the developer says that dogs and other pets will be allowed. Park Place will also have a patio café with internet access.

On the flip side, the café, and it’s wifi access, will not be available to the public, and the building will cast a winter-time shadow over the park in the early morning hours. I guess the rest of us can just look up at the residents from the park in envy while they are enjoying their coffee. “Hey mister! I’ll walk your dog for you if you will slip me your wifi access code.”

Okay, I’m kidding. The well off should be able to live in nice places without guilt. But my biggest gripe is real. And that is that PPOT will have no owner-occupied units. I don’t blame the developer. Because of Colorado’s existing construction-defect laws (and like the new Solana development starting south of Grandview later in the year) Park Place is going to be all rentals. The annual tenant turnover rate could run 60% or more. And, unlike Solana, the way the PPOT apartments are being constructed, they will not be easily convertible to owner-occupied condominiums later on. That’s not good. The Colorado Legislature is supposed to be working on the problem again this year, but anything they come up with will be too late for this project.

Park Place will not be Arvada’s tallest building. That honor goes to the ageing six-story Arvada House senior apartment complex overlooking the adjacent Lutheran church and Kmart on 58th Avenue. Actually, the Arvada House is a little taller than six stories because of its utility and elevator shaft housings. My own mother-in-law lived there in her declining years, and I have happy memories of that simple, but friendly and useful, apartment block.

The opinions expressed in this article are my own and not necessarily those of the members of the Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community. Opposing views are welcome on our RalstonCommunity.org website.

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The Save Arvada Now video from which some of these stills were taken can still be found at this YouTube link. The narrator is not identified. If you are interested, have a look at it before it gets pulled.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MILSHPBkChU
The Denver Post has an article on the City’s final approval to build the new apartments at this link.

http://www.denverpost.com/arvada/ci_25614072/arvada-oks-18-million-park-place-olde-town/

and the CLRC has a previous article about the start of construction on the site that can be found at this link

http://ralstoncommunity.org/2014/04/24/masons-hall-being-pulled-down-photos/

The Save Arvada Now website at www.SaveArvadaNow.info has several articles on the development. But check first before you donate. The organization may no longer be using its donations to stop the 153 new apartments from being built. SAN also has a Facebook site with page after page of anti-PPOT postings. It also has lots of photos of the ongoing construction that are actually kind of neat.

The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

The CLRC’s main website is at http://www.RalstonCommunity.org or you can read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. Here’s the CLRC’s contact information if you want to call or write:

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com
January 20, 2015

John Kiljan

John Kiljan

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Notes from the Net – AURA Board Meeting on January 7, 2015


by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends,

Here is our second “Notes from the Net” article. It captures some Facebook postings on the last AURA meeting. First a quick note: It is my understanding that AURA is NOT proposing an increase in the City’s hotel lodging tax, which currently stands at 2%.  That would require a ballot issue, and none is planned. However, the hotel management does plan to set up its own 6% guest surcharge to help fund the development. They will be calling it a public-improvement fee (PIF) as well. The City tax and the hotel’s own PIF will add up to 8% which is approximately equivalent to the normal hotel lodging taxes charged in the Denver metro area.

* * *

Notes by Nancy Young on the “Let’s Talk Arvada – Arvada for All the People” (LTA-AAP) Facebook page (reposted with permission)

“Hotel at former Brooklyns, Streetscape & traffic signal at Arvada Plaza/Arvada Square”

“5:30 pm. The meeting was called to order. All Commissioners were present – Jacobson, Bolin, Cline, Delaria, Parker, Piz Wilson, and Willaims. Three citizens were present, as were two individuals who later made presentations.

“During public comment, citizen John Kiljan asked if the AURA board knew anything about a sale of “the storage place” (presumably the mini-storage on the Wadsworth ByPass just south of Grandview). Apparently Mike Miles, Executive Director of APEX, had made a comment to that effect at a meeting the night before. No one on the AURA Board appeared to know anything about it.

“NOTE: Subsequently, this information was proven in error. The storage place has not been sold, nor do the owners appear to have any intention of selling.

"By all means, call the police." -- meeting public comment

“By all means, call the police.” — meeting public comment

“Another citizen, who did not state her name, noted that she had questions for the Commission. Chair Jacobson repeatedly asked her to state her name, to which she responded that when she arrived, everyone seemed to know her name. Chair Jacobson repeated that if she did not state her name, then her comments could not be heard. The Chair then moved on to the next item on the agenda.

“Hotel at the former Brooklyns, now the Vineyard Church

“The AURA Board approved a Development and Disposition Agreement with Renascent Partners to develop an hotel at this site. Groundbreaking is scheduled for mid-October 2015. The agreement calls for selling the land to the developer for $500,000, all of which will be used to reduce AURA’s loan from the City. The City of Arvada will raise the hotel tax from 8% to 10%, with the entire additional amount (2 percentage points), up to $800,000 through 2028, to be rebated to the developer. Groundbreaking is scheduled for October 2015.

“Notice to vacate will be given to the Vineyard Church on submission of the Preliminary Development Plan, estimated at late March or early April. It appears that the City intends to assist the Church in finding a new location within Arvada, preferably on the southeast side.

“Maureen Phair noted that she met with the City Council on Monday, January 5, 2015, and received their “Okay” on a proposal to lower the interest rate to 1.5% from 3.5% on the City’s $2,745,000 loan regarding this property. [NOTE: City loan was made in 2010; AURA initially acquired the property in 2007 for $2,800,000 and, in 2008, acquired an adjacent parcel for $542,800, for a total AURA investment in the property of $3,342,800.] Commissioner Williams quickly noted that this Council “Okay” was an informal approval. The proposal will need to be presented to the City Council for formal approval during a public meeting.

“Streetscape near proposed Walmart

“Pacland, represented by Mike Beach, will install a new streetscape on private property at three corners of the proposed Walmart development in the Arvada Square: Ralston & Garrison (at the KFC), Ralston & Independence (at US Bank) and Independence at W. 57th (the former Valero gas station). The streetscape design was created by Britina Group and approved by the AURA board.

“On the US Bank corner, relocation of street lights and other infrastructure will be needed. The corner will be “moved back”, allowing more room for a right turn from Independence onto Ralston. The sidewalk and related plantings will eliminate all of the parking spaces on the west side of US Bank. The Bank accepts this change and incorporated it into their plans to construct a drive-thru on their property.

“At the KFC corner, there are two alternatives. The ideal alternative would eliminate 4 parking spaces which is unlikely to be accepted by KFC. The less ideal, but more realistic alternative, would eliminate one parking space. The fire hydrant and other utilities will need to be moved back from the corner to enable widening the sidewalk and allow planting of trees. The Board spent considerable time discussing ways to make the nearby bus shelter and bench more attractive.

“At the Valero corner, the streetscape will only include the area from Ralston to W. 57th. W. 57th will be narrowed by 7 feet to allow construction of a 4-foot wide sidewalk and a bike lane along the Walmart side of the project.

“The cost of this streetscape totals about $560,000, including an estimated cost of obtaining the right of way of $43,300 and the cost of construction of about $516,00. This cost does not include any costs for Pacland as the consultant for the project. Construction costs include moving utilities. Ms. Phair noted that she is attempting to negotiate with the owners of these properties to obtain the right of way “for nothing”. The preference is for the City to own the property rather than to have an easement.

“Questions from Commissioners, summarized as follows.

“Commissioner Cline expressed an unwillingness to spend an estimated $90,000 on the Valero corner (57th & Indendependence) – about 280 feet. The ensuing discussion noted that parking for Santiagos will be behind the restaurant once the proposed Walmart is constructed, which will require a curb cut in the sidewalk on W. 57th. It appears that Santiagos has approached Valero to allow parking on their land.

“The schedule for bidding this project is expected to coincide with Walmart’s bidding proposal. It would be more efficient to construct the streetscape, including moving utilities, at the same time that the Walmart and its streetscape portion, are being constructed.

“Ms. Phair then presented to the Board with the issue of who will maintain the streetscape plantings, particularly the flower pots (only at the entrance to the proposed Walmart), irrigation for the trees, electricity for the signs, snow removal, and related ongoing expenses for the streetscape. While current property owners might be willing to provide these services, in some cases, the quality of service (like snow removal) might not be up to AURA standards. Commissioner Williams suggested that the City might be willing to share these costs through 2028, when this urban renewal district expires.

“The Board approved the next step, at an estimated cost of $92,000, to proceed with the Streetscape project.

“At this point, it was noted that the bike shop (formerly at 66th & Wadsworth) had moved to Wheat Ridge. Commissioner Jacobson, owner of Sportline, noted that his business is now clearing snow from the sidewalk up to this business (from about W. 64th Ave. to W. 66th Ave.).

“Traffic Light – Ralston & Holland

“Chris Derossa, City of Arvada traffic engineer, appeared in place of Ben Waldman, to discuss the traffic signal on the north side of Ralston at Holland. The issue here involves who will pay the estimated $125,000 to replace the traffic signals. While Walmart will replace the signals on the south side, it appears questionable who will accept this responsibility on the north side.

“Buckingham, who has been selected to develop the Arvada Square, seems unwilling to aborb this cost. According to Chris Derossa, the City’s budget does not have room for this traffic signal replacement.

“The issue remained unresolved, with Commissioner Williams noting that he will coordinate with the City regarding this proposal. It might be possible for the City and AURA to share the cost of this upgrade, which means that the street would be torn up only once for traffic signal replacement when the proposed Walmart project is constructed.

“Development update: report by Ms. Phair

“A summary list of AURA projects, known informally as the “Tony Cline” list (AURA Commissioner who requested it), was presented.

“Walmart: Autozone has received construction permits for its new structure where the US Bank drive-thru was formerly located. Once construction begins, estimated completion is 4 months.

“Once Autozone begins construction, IRG will commence its “abatement demolition”. This demolition will pave the way for Walmart to begin construction, supposedly during the summer.

“Arvada Square: Buckingham, the chosen developer for the Arvada Square, is negotiating “every little item”, according to Ms. Phair. As a result, the Development and Disposition Agreement (DDA) is taking longer than expected to complete.

“PPOT (Park Place Olde Town – 5-story rental apartments on McIlvoy Park): This project is now in a critical stage where they are pouring concrete. Soon, a second crane will be erected.

“TOD – Trammel Crow: Ms. Phair continues to negotiate with RTD regarding the move of the existing bus terminal to the north. This move would enable Trammel Crow to begin construction. Trammel Crow continues to wok on selecting a grocery store, supposedly to be constructed on the south side of W. 56th (after this street has been extended west across the Wadsworth ByPass).

“Solana Olde Town: Preliminary Development Plan scheduled for the Planning Commission on January 20th.

“Former McDonalds property (Ralston, north of W. 59th) – Stone Leaf Pottery: the developer is working on financing, which they hope to close by the end of February.

“Public comment session: the citizen who earlier had attempted to make a comment again attempted to do so. She noted that she feels intimidated by the Commissioners. Again, the Chair requested her name, and again she noted that everyone appeared to know her name because they greeted her by name when she arrived. She then proceeded to state that she had questions for the Commissioners. She gave each Commissioner a slip of paper, supposedly with these questions. She noted that the Chair of the Commission immediately put her questions in the trash bin.

“At this point, Commissioner Williams motioned that the meeting be adjourned. The meeting was adjourned at about 7:10 pm, prior to hearing Commissioner comments.”

[end of notes by Nancy Young]

* * *

[LTA-AAP Facebook comments]

Michelle Weiss McCallum: Who was this person they ignored

Dave Chandler: Am I understanding this correctly: AURA bought the parcels of land for $3,342,800 and it is going to be sold to the developer for $500,000?

And … AURA/council wants to raise the Arvada hotel tax from 8 to 10 percent and give the increase to the developer?

Nancy Young: Dave Chandler, the short answer to your questions – yes to both. AURA ended up with this property, and the associated $2.8 million loan when the borrower (presumably Brooklyns) defaulted on this loan guaranteed by AURA. Subsequently, AURA acquired the additional small parcel and the City lent them the $2.745 mm. As for the hotel tax, the “logic” is that since Arvada doesn’t have any hotels, and since Arvada’s hotel tax is well below the local average, nobody is really harmed. This hotel will collect the tax from its guests, send the tax to the City, then the City will turn over the “extra” 2% to AURA, who will then rebate it to the developer – up to a maximum of $800,000 over the life of the urban renewal district.

Nancy Young: Michelle Weiss McCallum, the citizen who was ignored has apparently been active in some citizen protests over the last several years. She appears to prefer to remain anonymous. Some people have wondered if the recently increased police protection for the mayor is due to concerns about this individual.

Marilou Griego: Sounds like it to me, too.

Nancy Young: Did anyone else notice: Ms. Phair apparently presented the interest rate reduction to Council, but not in a public forum? Was this presentation during the “executive session” before the January 5 public meeting? How does this matter fall within any exemption to the Open Meetings law? Is this another example of a “back room” deal, hidden from the public?

Dave Chandler: I noticed that also. Tax policy is public policy — there shouldn’t be any secret or ‘executive’ discussion amongst our elected representatives about tax rates. Is there not one council member who will speak up for the public and demand that this kind of clandestine discussion (if it really occurred) be halted?

Jim J. Narcy: oh lord. How long will this go on? I’ve got to make it down to city coun-sell meetings. What is the best strategy to get some common sense solutions to this cities opportunities and challenges?

Don Johnson: Wouldn’t that be “con-sell meetings”.

Brett Hall: Does Phair work on commission? The more of our money she gives away the more she gets in return? Free money, free money!

Nancy Young: Jim J. Narcy, many citizens have concluded that the only way to restore common sense to city government is through the ballot box. If elected officials refuse to respond to the citizens, then perhaps the citizens need to replace them.

Jayme Gaines: Nancy, where is the street side entrance to AURA?

* * *

[Citizens for a Better Arvada Facebook comments]

Susan Shirley: Thank you, Nancy! Lots to think about, there. I am sad about the bike shop going to Wheat Ridge, but glad to know what happened to them. Seems to be a lot of that going around.

Nancy Young: Yes there is a lot of “moving out” going around! Just learned yesterday that Grizzly Creek Framing is also moving to Wheat Ridge – the landlord wanted to nearly double the rent “because of the Gold Line”. They will join Ralston Ace Hardware (moved to Lakewood) and Mama Saninos (to Wheat Ridge). Then there are the treasured businesses that are gone forever – D-Note, Gunther Toodys, and Black Forest Deli. I wonder who will be next….

Susan Shirley: If that Walmart opens, it’ll be Kmart, then probably the Target on Kipling, then Walmart raises its prices at that store since it got the competition outta there…so then its numbers drop and the next thing you know, the Walmart’s gone too. Leaving a trail of busted merchants in its wake. But hey, it’s all in the name of progress, right?

* * *

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE

For those interested in viewing a video of the last six minutes of the abruptly adjourned AURA meeting, try clicking on this link:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/x139yro4b36z59e/AURAMtgDisruption07Jan2015.mp4?dl=0

The Triangle redevelopment article referred to in the video can be found at

http://ralstoncommunity.org/2014/12/30/changes-coming-to-the-triangle/

Comments and feedback welcome.

The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

Our main website is at http://www.RalstonCommunity.org or you can read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”.

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

January 16, 2015

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments