After four hours of presentations, public comment and discussion, the Douglas County Commissioners voted 2-1 to move forward with the next stage of the Scott Avenue Planned Development …
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After four hours of presentations, public comment and discussion, the Douglas County Commissioners voted 2-1 to move forward with the next stage of the Scott Avenue Planned Development Rezoning.
Following much discussion between the board members, a motion was made by Commissioner George Teal and seconded by Lora Thomas to approve the application. Abe Laydon voted against the measure.
Over 50 Stone Creek Ranch and Pinery residents filled the hearing room, all wearing red in opposition of the Ulysses Development Group’s plan to build 220 multi-family workforce units located at the northwest corner of the intersection of State Highway 83 and Scott Avenue.
The land has been used for agricultural purposes. In 1996 a cellular tower was approved and the Comprehensive Master Plan Land Use Map Amendment to include the Pinery Separated Urban Area was approved by the Planning Commission in March last year.
Previously, the Scott Avenue Planned Development Rezoning approval was denied by an 8-0 vote at a Planning Commission hearing on Dec. 19.
Brian Connolly of Otten Johnson Robinson NEFF and Ragonetti Law Firm and Connor Larr of Ulysses Development Group represented the Ulysses Development Group.
Laydon addressed the room by saying that he supports and understands the need for workforce housing but this meeting was for the project’s application to be approved.
“If you were to approve it today, after your approval, it would be required to go through the Site Improvement Plan process which is where we actually design the project,” said Connolly. “And as it goes through that process, it’s going to be checked against all of your regulations.”
According to Larr, the project will serve county workers, the school district, police, South Metro Fire and local businesses.
“These are the people that we want building in our communities, these are the people we want teaching our students, these are the people we have treating us in hospitals,” Monica Burton, representative of the Western States College of Construction, said during public comment. “They deserve a place to live and a community like this gives them that opportunity to get that start to build their career, to develop that lifestyle that we all worked really hard for and that we all really want to be a part of.”
Presented by Larr, the project benefits would include high quality design and construction, traffic mitigation, open space preservation, flood plain enhancement and management and a financial contribution to the parks and trails.
The group plans to have the buildings bermed along Parker Road with a 400-foot slope, taking away the height impact of the three story buildings. It is also planned to have the buildings 600 feet from the nearest single family homes and about 1,000 feet from the nearest Stone Creek Ranch home. In addition, approximately 70% of the total space will be open space.
“The project site is particularly well-suited to a low-impact design that will have limited impact on the surrounding residential area,” said Connolly.
According to Connolly, the Scott Avenue property is one of the few remaining undeveloped parcels of the Separated Urban Area.
Three main concerns focused on 1503.01, 1503.03 and 1503.6 of the approval standards. These involve whether the application is in compliance with the requirements of the Douglas County Comprehensive Master Plan, which focuses on whether there has been a substantial change in the character of the neighborhood and if the rezoning is compatible with the surrounding land use.
“We are not emotional, we are passionate”
During nearly two hours of public comments, over 25 residents shared their reasoning for opposing this project, some providing documentation to the commissioners.
“Let me introduce who we are,” said resident Holly Green. “We are the Pinery SUA. We are nurses, we are teachers, we are firefighters, we are Veterans, we are retail workers, we are the workforce in Douglas County. All of us talk about bringing in workforce housing, that’s what we are. We are the taxpayers and the voters in the PInery SUA. I’ve handed you out a handout today with more than 200 residents… more than 200 residents opposing this.”
Many residents are concerned about the disruption of the area's characteristics, including the habitat, noise level, traffic, potential unfair housing, subsidized housing and water supply and conservation.
“I’ve been in the Pinery for 26 years, the last five, six years, we’ve had water restrictions every summer,” said resident Brian Flanagan. “I can’t believe another 500-1,000 is not going to exacerbate that issue. There’s also thousands of homes in that area between all the HOA’s that you’ve heard, there’s nine HOAs that are going to suffer from the property value declines that this guy (lawyer) denies.”
Another concern is that the project does not meet the density and scale criteria outlined in the Comprehensive Master Plan.
Policy 2-1C.2 of the Comprehensive Master Plan states: “Determine the actual density or intensity of development at time of subdivision or site improvement plan by considering the potential environmental and visual impacts; availability of community facilities and services; and compatibility with existing, adjacent or planned uses.”
Policy 2-15C.1 states: “Develop in a manner that complements and enhances the existing development pattern of adjoining neighborhoods, including density, scale, and landscaping.”
To hear more public comments, watch the Jan. 10 Land Use Meeting and Public Hearing.
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