Brooks Drive and Garrison Street to be Resurfaced


by John Kiljan

Crews are starting now on some of the last finishing touches to the new Ralston Central Park. As those who live near the area well know, two years of construction traffic have taken its toll on Brooks Drive and on Garrison Street just north of the park, and those two streets were not in the best shape to start with.

Brooks Drive Repair Area Markings

Brooks Drive Repair Area Markings

Originally, Garrison Street and Carr Street were on the resurfacing list for the 2014 paving season to be repaired after the end of park construction. But some areas of Brooks Drive have lately been looking like they are more patches than pavement. The City’s Public Works Department tells me they have decided to hold back on Carr for another season and move now on Brooks Drive because of its condition.

Driver Avoiding Pothole On Garrison St

Driver Avoiding Pothole On Garrison St

Garrison isn’t in much better shape itself. There are only a few nighttime drivers who have not been surprised by some wicked potholes on the street that were only filled with temporary asphalt patching material while utility work was going on.   That recent utility work, running from Ralston Creek to the Oberon Road, is now over.

Restricted Parking on Brooks Drive - click to enlarge

Restricted Parking on Brooks Drive – click to enlarge

Drivers should expect Brooks to be a mess with a lot of heavy equipment parked on it since the more seriously stressed pavement areas are having to be completely excavated and refilled before the actual milling and repaving takes place. It may be best to avoid Brooks from Garrison altogether until the work is done. Fortunately, the highest demand for Brooks Drive has dropped off quite a bit with our schools reopening. There is now more parking space available inside the park itself and fewer people need to park on Brooks Drive.

Other less heavily traveled streets in the Alta Vista and surrounding neighborhoods north of the park are suffering too. These streets are high on the list of needed resurfacing projects set up by the City’s pavement management system. But unlike fee-based water and sewer services, the City’s repaving budget comes mostly out of the General Fund and competes with other City services. The price tag for needed repaving work is pretty high and the Arvada City Council will be deciding in September and October just how much to allocate for this kind of work.

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The phone number for the City of Arvada’s Public Works Department is 720-898-7600.

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

Wednesday 27 August 2014

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Sunday Comment Deadline for the Olde Town Parking Structure


by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends,

The Olde Town station design and its EIS are being revised.

If you want to see a pedestrian bridge over the tracks at the new Olde Town parking garage, or an alternative pedestrian underpass, or if you want to see the 35-minute Ride Provide van shuttle service to DIA from the Olde Town Park & Ride continue after opening day in 2016, or if you want to see taxis, handicap vans, hotel shuttle services and the like have easy access to the station without stopping to let off passengers on Grandview and on other Olde Town streets — now is the time to speak your mind. Currently, none of these features are included in the proposed revisions to the EIS.

The public comment deadline for the revised station design is Sunday, August 24th at midnight, and it is quick and easy to post an online comment that goes to both RTD and to the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) — the agency that is providing much of the funding for the new Olde Town station and has promoted rapid approval for the project as a public-private partnership.

Revised Station Design - click to enlarge

Revised Station Design – click to enlarge

The proposal for the Gold Line commuter rail station has come a long way since the first public informational hearings were held. Originally, there was some consideration of two pedestrian overpasses at each end of the station to solve the problem of having the station’s parking located on the south of the tracks, while train boarding would only be allowed from the north side of the railway tracks.

That ped bridge idea disappeared when the preliminary Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was issued by RTD. The transit agency simply said ped bridges were not needed and a pedestrian underpass was not economically feasible. That meant that commuter-rail passengers and those parking to shop in Olde Town would have to cross the tracks while trains were entering and leaving the Olde Town station.

That created an access and safety issue that remained un-addressed until earlier this year when a private-sector developer proposed building a pedestrian bridge that would both better feed shoppers into the Olde Town businesses from the parking garage while providing a safe crossing opportunity for commuter rail users who will see their platform access cut off just before their train arrives at the platform.

How often and how long will the crossing gates be down? I’ve asked that question more than once. Those who might know aren’t yet saying. In part, I’m told, because it’s uncertain if the gates on both Vance and Olde Wadsworth will have to be down while the trains are approaching or are in the station.

Pedestrian Crossover Bridge Turned Down by RTD

Pedestrian Crossover Bridge Turned Down by RTD

But despite strong support for a pedestrian bridge from both the Arvada City Council, City Staff, the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority, the private developer of the urban renewal area just east of Vance Street, and from most of the public during presentation meetings showing the benefit of an overhead pedestrian crossing and the minimal impacts on the views from Grandview, the idea was recently nixed by RTD. And we are still not sure why.

The reason wasn’t funding. Additional grants were available for the pedestrian bridge. RTD simply said that a pedestrian bridge would have an “adverse impact”. Moreover, they said an alternative pedestrian underpass was unworkable from both a cost and engineering standpoint. At that point one AURA Commissioner quipped, “Wouldn’t getting pedestrians hit by a train be an adverse impact?” Apparently, a pedestrian underpass is feasible both from an engineering and economics standpoint at the next RTD Gold Line station down the line at Arvada Ridge, where it is an integral part of the station’s current design.

With the currently planned 15-minute each-way headways for the commuter rail, that means that the gates that will close both pedestrian and vehicle access will begin dropping every 7-1/2 minutes during peak hours. If, in the future, the original preliminary EIS headway schedule is adopted because of higher demand, then those gates will be dropping every 3 minutes and 15 seconds. With its single-track design, both inbound and outbound commuter rail trains cannot be in the station at the same time.

GOING TO DIA — WHEN DO I NEED TO BE AT THE STATION?
Safe pedestrian crossings and better parking access to Olde Town are not the only issues. The Arvada station will also be transportation hub for the City.

Much of the current RTD Park & Ride patronage is for people going to DIA to travel or to work at the airport. The Gold Line will indeed offer a connecting service to DIA, but it will involve a change at Union Station (with baggage, possibly kids, and an escalator or elevator ride) to another platform on the opposite side of the station to another train that will be operating on an uncoordinated schedule. When that airport train arrives at DIA, it will not be letting off passengers at the terminal. Passengers will have to hoof it a bit to get to the actual airport.

I’ve also asked — and again more than once — what the expected time will be for door-to-door service for the Gold Line to DIA. I have not yet gotten an answer for either peak or off-peak hour trips to the airport. My best estimate is that the maximum time — Arvada platform to check-in — will exceed an hour and a half during off-peak periods. If you have catch a plane, you have to know when you will need to catch the train. As many airport trips have told me, the 35 to 45 minute travel time for the direct Ride Provide van service to DIA is a pretty reliable number. That appears to make continuing the existing Ride Provide A-Line service to DIA a pretty viable operation for many years to come.

However, in addition to cutting off the subsidy that Ride Provide has enjoyed for years for its DIA shuttle service since the A-Line replaced RTD’s long-defunct AA shuttle service, RTD says it does not plan to allow passenger pickup access at the Gold Line station nor at its parking garage for a competing service to DIA. This may mean the end of Arvada’s door-to-door airport shuttle service if it cannot get approval to operate elsewhere in the City. That would be a loss to Arvada and hurt the businesses that use the service for reliable access to DIA. Moreover, moving the A-Line pick-up site away from the Olde Town Park & Ride hurts the viability of the service.

Currently Approved EIS Station Layout Showing Drop-Off Locations

Currently Approved EIS Station Layout Showing Drop-Off Locations

HOW TO COMMENT
It’s pretty simple, really. You just go to this website and fill in the who-from boxes and then the comment box:

http://www.fastracks-comments.com/public/comment.aspx?project=gl

But before you do, you might want to scan through the actual proposal to revise the currently approved EIS. You can read that proposed revision by going to this link:

http://www.rtd-fastracks.com/media/uploads/gl/GL_Olde_Town_Reevaluation_20140730.pdf

And, you can look at an RTD PowerPoint presentation that was shown at a public meeting on August 7th by going to this link:

http://www.rtd-fastracks.com/media/uploads/gl/20140807Olde_Town_Station_Reevaluation_Public_Meeting.pdf

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
You can also go to the RTD website at

http://www.rtd-fastracks.com/gl_179

which has a brief summary of the changes to the original EIS.
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”. Hey, it’s not us. It’s Facebook that insists on spelling Livable that way.

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

Saturday 23 August 2014

 

 

 

 

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Arvada Asks for Citizen Advice on Spending $70 Million for Major Projects


by John Kiljan

[updated August 23, 2014]

Dear CLRC members and friends,

Road widening, recreation, parks, urban development, sidewalks, municipal buildings, higher education facilities, public landscaping, traffic signals, bridge replacements, arts and humanities, open space — what’s most important to you? And what projects are most needed by the people who live in Arvada and pay its taxes?

Here’s your chance to volunteer to help the City make those spending decisions, but think twice before you do — there’s a lot of work involved.

1407251599_Banner_CCIPC

 

The City of Arvada is obligated by its Charter to spend 20% of the City sales tax it takes in on capital improvement projects (CIP’s). Typically CIP’s are projects (such as road widenings) that are expected to last ten years or more. But several years ago the City Council redefined the criteria to include projects that may only last for five years (such as roadway overlays). Add to this the monies available to the City after its current debt obligations are paid off, and the amount of money available for these long-lasting projects is expected to top $70 million over the next ten years.

Although that is less than a thousand dollars for each City resident, it’s still a lot of money for a city like Arvada. And that money should be spent wisely. It is the responsibility of the Arvada City Council — and no one else — to prioritize the possible public improvement projects in the CIP list. But that’s a daunting task for any Councilor and that’s why the City Council is now asking for help.

But there is more. The list of capital projects on the City’s wish list for the next ten years far exceeds the available $70 million. There is also a possibility the City may fund even more improvements through lease-buyback arrangements or by issuing straightforward municipal bonds. The City currently has a triple-A bond rating, which means it can borrow money now to build projects that might otherwise have to be put off for decades.

And it can borrow money needed to do that at some pretty low interest rates and without having to increase taxes. This committee may be asked to provide input on those borrowing options as well.

So what projects do you think should come first? This isn’t a fill-out-an-index-card-at-the-end-of-a-one-hour-public-meeting request for input. It involves a lot more.

Instead, participants will be asked to take almost the same amount of time and effort as the City Council members themselves would take to prioritize the list of possible CIP projects now in front of them in their ten-year plan. Participating will take a lot of time and study and showing up for workshops to learn how a city like Arvada works and what’s important to the City’s well being — before even beginning to make recommendations.

Participating will be a lot like going back to school again, except you won’t have to pay tuition and you will probably have the opportunity to debate those who have opposing views on what’s best for Arvada.

The City has formed a CIP committee in the past. The last time was in 2007. I was told that there were 75 applicants at that time. Only 25 volunteers were supposed to be selected the last time, but the interest was strong enough that 33 people were chosen to form a rather large and unwieldy working group. This time only about 21 people are expected to be selected, but their meetings are supposed to be posted as open meetings and their work is to be available for all to review. And public comment periods are expected during their meetings.

If you are interested in contributing your talents and skills to this process, here is the City of Arvada’s official web posting for the volunteer solicitation that has links to the forms needed to apply:

http://arvada.org/about-arvada/seeking-applicants-for-citizens-capital-improvement-plan-committee/

The applications are due by Friday, August 15th, at 5:00 pm.

Update:  The application deadline has been extended to September 5, 2014 at 5:00 pm.  For more information go to

http://arvada.org/about-arvada/seeking-applicants-for-citizens-capital-improvement-plan-committee/

So what does it pay for all this time and effort? Well, if the committee members behave, they will probably get fed while they miss their dinner hours at home. But the real payoff will be in helping see a city operating as efficiently as it can and with as much informed public input into what its funding priorities should be as it can handle. And, if it works anything like the last 2007 CIP advisory group did, I can promise participants they will learn a lot about a how the City of Arvada works.

Central Ralston Road sidewalk

Central Ralston Road sidewalk

Will the proposals made by the committee be adopted by the Council? Not necessarily. The Council may reject the committee’s recommendations in part or entirely. Funding priorities are the Council’s responsibility. The picture here is of a sidewalk segment on Ralston Road that was given a top priority by the last CIP committee. It still hasn’t been upgraded in the six years since that recommendation was made.

But the Council is taking this effort pretty seriously. They also expect to invest a lot of City Staff time in working with the committee’s members. That slows down other City functions. Still, the Council and the City Staff itself seem to think that investment in time and resources will be worth it.

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
In addition to the Arvada.org link shown above, you may follow our online posts.

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 RalstonCommunity.org or you can read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. Hey, it’s not us. It’s Facebook that insists on spelling Livable that way.

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

Wednesday 6 August 2014

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Olde Town Arvada Neighbors Work to Preserve Historic Reno Park


by Kelly Eargle

Hi Neighbors!

There are a few of us who live in Reno Park who have started a grassroots effort to preserve the integrity of our historic neighborhood and the history of the original settlers of Arvada. Sadly, a home in our historic neighborhood has been demolished. This home at 5608 Yarrow was built in 1900. We have heard that the owners are planning to build a single-family home in its place, but it will not be historically sympathetic.

Yarrow Street in the Reno Park District next to Olde Town

Yarrow Street in the Reno Park District next to Olde Town

In an effort to protect our neighborhood and the character of Olde Town Arvada, we are petitioning the city to change the zoning ordinance. Currently, zoning in part of Reno Park Historic District, including all of Yarrow and east Zephyr from Grandview to Ralston, is RM – Residential Multifamily, which is “intended to encourage a wide range of housing types, including apartments, townhomes, and condominiums to meet the diverse needs of the housing market” and allows for convenience stores.

Mixed Use Housing in Tennyson District

Mixed Use Housing in Tennyson District

Our desired is RSL – Residential Small Lot District that is “intended to preserve the size, scale, density and character of single-family residential development in the older, established neighborhoods of Arvada.”

If you would like to help us in our cause, including signing a petition, please contact me at earglek@gmail.com.

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.

You can catch us on our main website at RalstonCommunity.org or read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”.

27 July 2014

 

 

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The Triangle Gets a Big Development Boost


by John Kiljan
[updated: 26 July 2014]
[updated: 30 July 2014]
[updated: 31 July 2014]

Dear CLRC members and friends,

The Buckingham companies have been selected to be the preferred developer for Ralston Creek North. The late-night Wednesday vote selecting Buckingham as the developer for Ralston Creek North was a unanimous 6-0 after an hour’s deliberation in a closed executive session by the AURA Board of Commissioners.

Ralston Creek North -- Proposed Site Plan

Ralston Creek North — Proposed Site Plan

The Buckingham proposal features a European-style beer garden where children can play while their parents have a beer and a bratwurst, lots of open public space, accessible bike and pedestrian connections to adjacent parks, maximum use of the ambience of Ralston Creek, substantial recreational facilities, park-friendly businesses next to the new Ralston Central Park, residential parking tucked under middle-income condos, restaurants with a local flavor, taller buildings set closer to Ralston Road and away from Brooks Drive, and maybe — just maybe — a nice community-sized pool where kids can learn to swim year-round, and many other features yet to be discussed with local neighborhood groups at future public meetings and feedback sessions.

One of the things that a number of commission members found attractive in the Buckingham proposal was the development companies’ willingness to not only build the new development, but to stay and own, operate and manage these facilities in the future as a continuing long-term investment.

In closing remarks after the developer selection, AURA Executive Director Maureen Phair said, “I just want to say this is a huge day. . . . We have worked since 2003 to redevelop the Triangle area, we’ve named it, we’ve branded it, and now we’ve got a wonderful first-class developer whose going to come in and really change this community for the better. . . . We have worked hard for a year in this solicitation process, through the training that we did as a group, through the Request for Qualifications, the Request for Proposals, and this selection tonight. I just want to say congratulations! I think you guys did a great job today picking the developer and thinking through why this developer would be the best one, so congratulations. It’s really huge and it’s really exciting. . . . This is my passion and I am thrilled — absolutely thrilled!”

Updates:  A more readable image of the above foam-board poster may be viewed at

https://static.arvada.org/…/Ralston_Creek_site_plan…

or by going to

http://arvada.org/ralston-creek

Buckingham Proposal for the Triangle -- click to enlarge

Buckingham Proposal for the Triangle — click to enlarge

* * *

If you are curious about the Buckingham group and the companies they have partnered with for this development, there is a useful post on a City of Arvada website at

http://arvada.org/pages/aura-selects-buckingham-companies-for-ralston-creek-development/

* * *

There are now two articles in the newspapers by local reporters about the selection. You can read them online.

The first is by John Aguilar, a writer for the Denver Post, at

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_26247618/developer-chosen-breathe-life-into-beleaguered-arvada-shopping

And the second is by Crystal Anderson at the Arvada Press at

http://arvadapress.com/stories/Lead-developer-selected-for-triangle,163396?

–John

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE

Concept Plan Detail

Concept Plan Detail

We’re still trying to get copies of the presentation material Buckingham used during the final selection process, so look for them in future postings, along with a projected agreement and construction schedule.

There is a (very) amateur video available online showing the final ten minutes of AURA selection meeting with comments by individual AURA commissioners saying what they liked best about the Buckingham proposal. Here’s the link:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zwg5m582v7dp0w5/P1010889.MP4

AURA’s own web page for developments in Ralston Creek (aka, the Triangle) can be found at

http://arvada.org/ralston-creek-developer-solicitation

and at

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

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.

You can catch us on our main website at RalstonCommunity.org or read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. Hey, it’s not us. It’s Facebook that insists on spelling Livable that way.

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

Thursday  24 July 2014

 

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Important Meetings this Week


by John Kiljan

[updated July 22, 2014]

Dear CLRC members and friends,

The Triangle, even more Olde Town apartments, the A-Line to DIA, the Land Development Code — sometimes it’s the least-publicized City of Arvada meetings that are the most important to the well-being of the City.

RALSTON CREEK NORTH

Ralston Creek North

Ralston Creek North

On Wednesday, July 23rd, AURA will select a development team that will have the exclusive right to re-develop what is now being called “Ralston Creek North”, the shopping district just across Ralston Road to the north of the new Walmart Supercenter that is expect to begin construction in 2015.

There are two finalists in the request for proposals (RFP’s) being reviewed that night. And each proposal has complimentary teams of developers. They will be giving their final presentations in the 3rd-floor conference room in the Arvada City Hall at 5:30 pm. Access is via the lower entrance to the Arvada City Hall. If you want to see what is being planned for the area, take the elevator to the third floor of the building (the main door should be open but you cannot climb up the stairs or get off on the 2nd floor from the elevator) and look for the meeting room on the east side of the building.

How to deal with the need for a local community recreation center/pool near Ralston Central Park is likely to be a part of each developers’ presentations.

There will not be an opportunity for public input. After the presentations, the AURA board is expected to go into executive session to decide who the developer will be and under what conditions — or to decide not to give an exclusive development right to either developer responding to this much-anticipated RFP. This may be the most important decision AURA makes this year for the neighborhoods surrounding the Arvada Triangle.

SOLANA
On Tuesday, July 22nd, MKS Residential will be having an open meeting to discuss its Preliminary Development Plan for its proposal to build rental-only apartments in the last undeveloped tract of land in Olde Town. The site is just east of the mini-storage units on Wadsworth Bypass at Grandview Avenue. It has been named Solana after a site developed by the company in California.

East Side Apex Proposal

East Side Apex Proposal

Many uses have been proposed for this property — including a grocery store, pharmacy or a recreation facility in conjunction with the Apex Park and Recreation District — but so far the only commercial interest seems to be to construct up to three times the number of apartments now planned for Park Place Olde Town (at the corner of Ralston Road and Wadsworth Bypass) with two- and three-story walkup units. Some financial support from AURA may be sought for this project.

The meeting will be held at the Vineyard Church on Olde Wadsworth below the tracks from Olde Town at 6:00 pm and is open to the public.

SHUTTLE SERVICE TO DIA
The fate of the A-Line shuttle service to Denver International Airport hangs in the balance at an Arvada Planning Commission meeting being held Tuesday evening, July 22nd, at 6:30 pm.

Ride Provide's A-Line DIA Service

Ride Provide’s A-Line DIA Service

RTD’s financial support for Ride Provide’s A-Line shuttle service to DIA ends on opening day in 2016. The popular and predictable 40-minute service to DIA from Olde Town will be replaced by the Fastrack’s commuter rail service through Union Station.

Estimates are that travellers will have to arrive at the Olde Town Gold Line station up to an hour-and-a-half before their needed arrival time at DIA. The extra time is because of uncoordinated rail schedules and the need to change platforms at the new Denver Union Station transportation hub.

Ride Provide is hoping to use the parking lot next to the Cornerstone Building (behind the old Gunther Toody’s) to continue the service at a somewhat higher cost — and without RTD’s support. That requires a special-use permit from the City of Arvada approved by the Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday.

It does not look like RTD will allow the A-Line, nor any other commuter van or taxi service, preferential access to the new tax-supported $20 million parking structure being built in Olde Town. So this may be the only alternative to a much longer ride to DIA — or to simply taking a $100 taxi ride (don’t forget the tip) directly to or from DIA.

If you, or your business, rely on quick, reliable and economical ($12) access to DIA, this would be a very good meeting to show up at to express your concerns or support.

Yep, the meeting is being held at the same time as the Solana meeting, so you will have to decide which is more important to you if you want to attend.

LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE
That’s your — or a business’ — authorization to use your/their property as you/they see fit within the City of Arvada.   The LDC describes the authority invested in the Planning Commission, the Board of Adjustments, and the Olde Town Design Review Committee to modify zoning requirements. Vagueness in definitions in what is an industrial area is supposed to be and how it is meant to encourage employment are the reasons the latest review got started, according to Rita McConnell, City of Arvada Planning Manager.

This is only one of a long series of meetings being held to review the code that is open to the public. You need a reservation to attend and you should contact Rita as soon as you can to do that. Rita’s contact information is 720-898-7444 or rmcconnell@arvada.org.

The meeting is being held on the 3rd floor of City Hall between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm. Here’s the announcement link:

http://arvada.org/pages/city-invites-public-input-on-land-development-code

That’s right. The meeting is being held at the same time as the AURA developer selection meeting on the same floor in City Hall, but in a different room. You will have to decide on which meeting is more important to you.

UPDATE
On Tuesday evening, the Arvada Planning Commission approved the conditional use permit needed to keep the A-Line shuttle service to DIA running on a 5 to 0 vote after a number of public comments in support of the request.

The Solana facts sheet handed out at the MKS meeting at the Vineyard Church says that they are planning for 352 rental units on the 15-acre site.  76% will have their own garages.  They will be 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units (750 sq ft to 1.330 sq ft).  There will be a clubhouse, fitness center and a pool, but only for use by the residents.  The proposal goes to the Planning Commission in November.  Groundbreaking is expected in the spring of 2015.

The developer said there will be no apartments adjacent to Grandview.  That part will be used for a park (open to the public), with the 3-story units below the hill.  The apartments will be built to be convertible to owner-occupied condos later on.

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.

You can catch us on our main website at RalstonCommunity.org or read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. Hey, it’s not us. It’s Facebook that insists on spelling Livable that way.

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

Tuesday 21 July 2014

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Just How Poor Are We?


by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends,

It’s a question that often comes up when citizens say that the City of Arvada should be doing more to attract high-quality retailers to central Arvada.

Typically, it comes in the form of a question such as, “Why can’t we get a Macy’s to locate in the Triangle instead of a Walmart?” And for central Arvada, the answer often comes down to the fact that we don’t make enough money to attract upper-scale retailers. People living in neighborhoods near the Arvada Triangle typically earn 30% less than the City overall.

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

There are many factors a retail chain considers about a neighborhood before deciding to invest millions of dollars to build a new outlet in one. Traffic volumes, road access, education levels, ethnic backgrounds, age distributions — those, and more, are important criteria when a store chooses a new location.

And average income is one of the biggest criteria. The most often-used statistic seems to be a neighborhood’s “median household income”. “Median” means that half the family incomes are higher and half are lower. Median income is preferred over an average income number because it discounts very high- and very low-income households.

Information on median household income levels is easy to come by for Arvada as a whole. For local neighborhoods it’s a lot harder to get that information.

According to the draft Arvada Comprehensive Plan, Arvada’s median household income was $67,000 in 2011. That’s pretty good. It’s greater than unincorporated Jefferson County ($64,000), Westminster ($63,000), Thornton ($62,000), the Denver Metro Area as a whole ($59,000), and Wheat Ridge ($48,000). Overall, Arvada is pretty well off.

However, as a part of its effort to attract businesses to the Triangle, Arvada’s urban renewal authority (AURA) has published extensive statistics for the neighborhoods immediately adjacent to the Ralston Creek shopping centers — which most of us still know as the Arvada Triangle. The Triangle (which is now officially known as Ralston Creek) includes Arvada Plaza, Arvada Square and the King Soopers and Kmart retail areas. In the nearby neighborhoods, the income numbers don’t look nearly as good.

According to the Jefferson County Business Resource Center there are 7259 households within one mile of the Triangle. And there are 42,594 households within three miles of the center of the Triangle, defined as the intersection of 58th Avenue and Independence Street.

For households within one mile of the Triangle (reaching almost to Olde Town), the median household income level drops from $67,000 a year to a mere $47,000 a year — 30% lower. For the three-mile radius, the numbers are a little better — $54,140 (or 19% lower). Those one- and three-mile income figures are for 2012, so the actual drop could be a bit worse than that.

That doesn’t mean the Triangle neighborhoods are poor. We are still pretty well off — about the same median income level as Wheat Ridge has overall. It just means that compared to other parts of Arvada, we have less discretionary income available to spend. And we offer less to retailers who have to rely on that discretionary income spending to keep their sales up.

Nor does it mean that no one wants to live in central Arvada anymore. Indeed, just the opposite seems to be true.

Central Arvada seems to be becoming a much more desirable place to live in and to raise a family in. The coming redevelopment of the Triangle, the completion of construction in Ralston Central Park and Wolff park, the coming of the Gold Line commuter rail line, the revitalization of Olde Town, the small-town feel that Arvada still has compared to most other metro-area cities — all are combining to make central Arvada a lot more attractive place to live in and to buy a home in.

Add to that a cutback in new housing construction during the Great Recession and legal impediments to building new owner-occupied condominiums, and that’s probably why for the last couple of years we haven’t been seeing FOR SALE signs popping up on lawns like mushrooms like they used to do every spring. Residential homes now seem to be selling as fast as they come onto the market.

Or even before they come on the market in what are being called off-market sales. I, and others, have heard anecdotal stories of houses getting a dozen purchase offers the day they are listed, and having a final sale price that is 50% higher than what the same house would have received only a few years earlier. (If you are selling a house, be sure to check out the referenced article below.)

The CLRC neighborhoods may be a little poorer than the rest of the City, but that doesn’t mean that central Arvada isn’t the best place to live in the City.

–John Kiljan

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
You can wade through a copy of the entire draft Arvada Comprehensive Plan and find out a lot about what Arvada is planning for the future by going to these links:

http://static.arvada.org/docs/Draft_Plan_WebQuality-1-201406191217.pdf

and

http://static.arvada.org/docs/Appendices1-1-201406181654.pdf

and, you can see the Ralston Creek Demographic Report (including the income levels) for the neighborhoods nearest the Arvada Triangle (Ralston Creek) by going to this link:

https://static.arvada.org/docs/Ralston_Creek_Demographic_Reports-1-201404011019.pdf

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

If you are selling your Arvada home because you need to downsize or move and your real estate agent is recommending an off-market sale, you will definitely want to read this Denver Post article on how expensive a mistake that can be. Here’s the link:

http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_25959207/dora-colorado-agents-dont-keep-listings-off-market

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.

You can catch us on our main website at RalstonCommunity.org or read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. Hey, it’s not us. It’s Facebook that insists on spelling Livable that way.

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

Tuesday 14 July 2014

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