July 9, 2011
by John Kiljan
The Arvada City Council is scheduled to vote on the AURA’s Triangle plans at a Council meeting this Monday night. Although there is near-universal agreement that the shopping district centered at Ralston Road and Independence Street is blighted and badly needs redevelopment, the proposals to do that have been controversial. The Arvada Urban Development Authority’s (AURA’s) plans have drawn widespread community interest because of concerns about increased neighborhood traffic, a possible relocation of the Arvada Gardens and the impacts of the high-density housing needed to attract investors to the project.
The issue in front of the Council on Monday is whether to approve the Triangle’s rezoning and the design guidelines that go with the redevelopment plans. Those guidelines, consisting of suggested plans and a lengthy narrative (with illustrations), are collectively referred to as an Outline Development Plan (ODP).
The local gardening club, the Arvada Gardeners, has opposed the ODP because it allows removal of the community gardens from its current location at 57th Avenue and Garrison Street to allow for multi-story housing on the same site. Indeed, all four concept plans in the ODP call for a relocation of the gardens to accommodate multi-story housing on the hill overlooking the Triangle.
The gardening club has attracted widespread support for its position. However, others have argued that the redevelopment of the blighted Triangle is more important to the welfare of the community than the gardens are, and that developers should be allowed to make proposals that preserve the gardens at other nearby locations. That was the view of the Arvada Planning Commission at a meeting early last month. Despite hearing from about 20 public-comment speakers who were against allowing the gardens to be moved, the Commissioners voted 7-0 to allow the garden’s relocation with a proviso that, “A community garden facility be included within the outline development plan.”
It is unusual for the Arvada City Council not to approve a plan that has already been approved by the Arvada Planning Commission.
Some of those who spoke at the Planning Commission meeting last month were concerned about the impacts that high-density housing could have on local neighborhoods. Increased residential traffic, parking problems and the lack of local recreational facilities for the new residents top the list of concerns.
All four of AURA’s concept plans show Garrison Street being extended in a straight line up the steep hill to 57th Avenue. Garrison Street collects traffic from southbound Kipling Street and runs past the entrance to what will be a new North Jeffco Community Park.
AURA has countered that the City is unlikely to get a viable private-sector redevelopment offer without new housing to support the businesses that are expected to relocate in the Triangle. Also, that the recommendation to push Garrison Street through to 57th is in response to the ongoing Ralston Road corridor study which calls for closing off most of the central left-turn lanes east of the Triangle to reduce the accident rate along the road.
No new community recreational facilities are called for in the ODP.
WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The Council meeting may be crowded. If you don’t want to attend Monday night’s meeting but do want to hear the presentations, public comments and comments by the Council members, you can pick up the streaming video of the meeting a couple of days later at this link:
Scroll down to the entry that will probably be marked ‘7/11/11’ to see the streaming video of the entire meeting.
There may also be a live video feed on the KATV Channel 8 cable service, or you can try the Arvada.org’s online live video feed at
To see the actual ODP and accompanying design guidelines, follow this link to a previous May 30th CLRC News article at
The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community will post more information online on its website at http://www.ralstoncommunity.org/ as it becomes available.
John Kiljan, CLRC News: 303-423-9875 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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