Council Workshop on Reno Park and a Wadsworth Cultural Corridor

by John Kiljan
[updated December 9, 2014]

Dear CLRC members and friends,

Monday night’s workshop should be more interesting than most. Although not a formal business meeting, the Council will be considering a rezoning plan that will prevent future scrape-off projects in the Reno Park historic district just west of Olde Town. Scrape-offs typically occur when an investor buys one or two older homes to pull them down and replace them with multi-story, multi-family apartments. Arvada’s zoning laws currently allow this to happen in Reno Park. Some years ago the Stockey-Walter historic district east of Olde Town was rezoned to prevent scrape-offs and now the residents of Reno Park are asking to do the same.

City of Arvada, City Council Packet, December 8, 2014_5Some public testimony is expected to be allowed. You can read more about Arvada’s historic housing districts and what is at stake in this recently completed consultant survey at

— Update on Reno Park: In a correction to the above article, Reno Part resident Kelly Eargle wrote, “We are not able to prevent scrape offs with this rezoning, nor is Stocke-Walter. They rezoned into a PUD, changing some of their building requirements. We are asking to rezone from multi-family zoning (RM) to a single-family zoning (RSL) to prevent condos, apartments, and convenience stores, all of which are allowed under the current zoning.”

At Monday night’s meeting the Council seemed sympathetic to the goals of the Reno Park Historical District petitioners. Many spoke in support of the proposal, but one non-resident spoke against it saying that one day they hoped to be able to scrape the Reno Park lots that they own and put in multi-family housing. They said that they bought their property knowing that the current zoning would allow that if they had the opportunity and met all other current City requirements for multi-family housing.

The Council asked City Staff to draft up a rezoning proposal for a formal review by the Planning Commission and then the Council. If the rezoning were approved, the City would then look at the expense of setting up design guidelines for the neighborhood.

Mayor Williams cautioned the petitioners that the zoning request would be handled impartially and that none of the Council members would take a position on the rezoning before full public hearings. He also said that he would have to be convinced the the neighbors really wanted this change and fully understood the implications of what the rezoning would mean.

There is an audio-only recording of the meeting available if anyone is interested.

City of Arvada, City Council Packet, December 8, 2014_19The cultural corridor is a dream long-held by Arvada’s City Councils. At the same workshop a consultant will be making a presentation of the feasibility setting up of a section of Wadsworth Boulevard from at least the Arvada Center to Olde Town.

You should be able to click on these images to enlarge them.

— Update on the Wadsworth Cultural Corridor: Most of this part of this evening’s workshop was Artspace consultant Roy Close speaking to Artspace’s 24-page evaluation of the feasibility of a cultural corridor for the Wadsworth Boulevard. That report should be available online for the rest of the week at this link.

Mr Close said there was no real definition of a cultural corridor, but gave several examples of cultural corridors in other cities and what did and didn’t work well about them. All them concentrated on attracting talent to create thriving arts community, and he said it was very important for young artists to actually live in the city they work in. 

He advised against trying to include the Bypass in the corridor because of the traffic load. He said that Olde Wadsworth also had a number of drawbacks in the middle area between Olde Town and the Arvada Center. He suggested instead that the City concentrate on the areas at each end of Olde Wadsworth. 

He said that the northwest corner of 68th and Wadsworth especially had a lot of potential to the City in encouraging a community of artists. He suggested that the City take a lot of care in developing a long-term plan for this part of the Arvada Center campus. Also on his list of potential sites were the areas just adjacent to the north part of Olde Town across from Ralston Road. 

A surprising recommendation was to look at the light industrial area across from Marshal and Lamar Streets where young artists are already setting up studioss. He suggested they were seeking out this area because they were being pushed out of other artist colonies in the metro area because of neighborhood gentrification and rising prices for available work space. 

In the end he strongly suggested that Arvada establish a cultural commission whose first task should be to better define the communities needs and opportunities and to seek certification of Olde Town as a Colorado Creative District. The Council agree to start taking those first two steps. And City Manager Mark Deven said he planned to come back to the Council to do just that as a way of meeting the performance goals the Council has already set for him . That work will also include giving the Council and idea of what City resources would need to be invested to actually create the corridor.

An audio-only recording of the presentation and discussion is available if anyone is interested.

This meeting will not be televised, but you can download the entire City Council packet with much of the presentation material at this link.

–John Kiljan

7 December 2014

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