City Council Study Session 10 July 2018 – Ensor Property P4, Air BnBs

City Council Study Session                10 July 2018           Citizen Minutes


ID18-222 Preliminary Project Plan for “Parkland” – 33 acres of what is commonly referred to as the Ensor property.

To remind you of the P4 process…. it is an optional step that developers can take to test the waters for what they have planned for development/redevelopment.   Staff presents an overview of what the developer wants in the way of zoning changes and council responds.  This went to Planning Commission previously and there wasn’t a kind remark made about the proposed project.   City Council wasn’t as critical.

 Debbie Brinkman started by telling the council that this was a different situation – usually interested parties sign a contract contingent on new zoning being approved before consummating the sale.  In this instance the Ensor family sold the land to Evergreen.  This P4 went to Planning Commission on June 25 and the applicant has made subsequent minor edits. 

Jocelyn Mills presented the proposed plan for the 33 acres situated at the southwest corner of the Mineral/Santa Fe Intersection.   From the staff report:

“The Parkland P4 is a mixed use concept with the proposed South Platte River Parkway bisecting the property north to south.  West of this roadway is the area entitled “Homestead” to be comprised mainly of residential uses.  East of this roadway is the area entitled “Vineyard” to be comprised of mainly commercial uses.”

 In a nutshell there are multiple parcels that make up the 33 acres. Each parcel has its own zoning classification.  Evergreen is asking for all 33 acres be zoned the same with a height limitation of 100 feet (approximately 10 stories) and any possible use be permitted on any parcel.  

Karina Elrod was the first to address the plan.  Her concerns included traffic – this would exacerbate the problem, we are not ready for this and she expected to see a very comprehensive traffic study done if the project does come forward.  She expressed her concern over the 100-foot height limit on the whole parcel – this is a plan that would provide opportunity for anything and everything. 100 foot tall building is not what we want.  And she was concerned about the flood plain that exists on the property.  (From what I understand the fact that the land was in the flood plain it became cost prohibitive to mitigate the issue making the land difficult to develop.  But that issue appears to have been resolved.)

Mills said that Urban Drainage would have to formally review any plan.

Carol Fey was also concerned with traffic and the building heights requested and said she was puzzled by why the applicant would want 100 foot limits everywhere rather than focusing on where they actually want it.  The last thing she wants along the river is a 9 or 10 story building.   She pointed out that the proposal said that increased density was required to support the TOD location but yet there was no backup data to substantiate that claim. Littleton Village is in her district and she hears weekly from disappointed residents that the entertainment and restaurants are not there when they were promised.  She wants to see signed contracts for those amenities before rather than waiting for the promises.  She thought this concept was wasting the glorious gem of the river.

Jerry Valdes only asked about access onto Santa Fe and Mineral.  He does not want to add to Mineral, as he believes those commuters are Littleton citizens.  He was not concerned about Santa Fe because those commuters are not Littleton citizens.  He then asked about the Meadowbrook at Platte Canyon – didn’t we require a percentage of commercial to go in before the residential?   (The way I remember it the developer could only build a percentage of the residential units without any commercial.  But at some point there had to be some commercial developed before the rest of the residential could be built.)

Kyle Schlachter liked the fact that the developer was flip flopping the residential and commercial uses from the 1985 zoning on the land.  He did not think there would be a big wall along the river and it is not going to be “nothing” there forever.  He liked the architectural design but wished for a community garden. He liked mixed use but this was not really mixed use and it was not very creative or innovative.

Pat Driscoll thought there were only 306 apartment units by his calculation.  But that put 600 plus people in cars out on the roads everyday. He asked about a pedestrian crossing on Mineral around the 7/11 site.  He thought the people that lived there would use light rail and saw it as a big positive.  He agreed with Kyle that 100-foot structures would not be a deterrent along the river.

Peggy Cole commented that the illustrations do not tie to the outcomes.  (What she means is the drawings of the project do not reflect what they are asking for in height etc.  At this stage of the game the pictures don’t mean anything – the developer could get the new zoning and then sell the land to another developer.  It has happened more than once in Littleton.  The decision council will have to make is how the land could be used and that’s it.)  Peggy said that the river is our crown jewel.

Elrod said this project is not unlike Aspen Grove.  She preferred that what is developed there would be different than anything else we have in Littleton. This is am amazing site and she wanted amazing work.

Fey reminded (thank you!)council that they were making land use decisions and not considering the pretty pictures.  The developer did not give us pictures with 100 foot buildings – what is in the pictures may very well not be what we get.

Schlachter asked if it was possible to restrict heights in each parcel.

Mills told him the whole reason for the P4 is for council to say what they did and didn’t like.

Schlachter then suggested that Littleton could share in the cost of a pedestrian crossing across Mineral. He commented that he did not like all the concrete parking lots in the plan.

Cole said there needs to be space within the project where people can play.

Brinkman said the developer recognizes the importance of light rail to the area.   She wasn’t sure she was in love with the split design and thought it would be more dynamic with a mix of residential and retail.  Put two floors of residential above retail.  This serves a different demographic.  Access to the river was a big issue – there’s not a trailhead on the north end – it is a social trail and she was not in favor of paving a trail at that location.   She liked the idea of a peds bridge over Mineral.  She said the 100-foot height limit was a deal breaker.  We need to be more thoughtful – she did not have a problem with vertical mixed use if it wasn’t too high.  She encouraged the developer to form a special district to pay for parking.

Driscoll said he did not want a cut through the project for commuters to use.

Brinkman added that she wanted a huge consideration for bikes and pedestrians, she wanted height variations and wanted to respect the view corridor…..2 to 4 stories.  The buffer provided between the development and the river was never meant to provide access to the river.

Waste Water Treatment Review

Keith Reister told council that the city has embarked on a plan to map all the sewer lines in the city, their condition and the statistics of size etc.  He showed the program that they are using – he was able to click on a segment of sewer pipe and up popped a description of the line etc.  There are 127 miles of sewer lines in the city and they have 5% of the work done.  In the 5% they have identified 3 imminent failures.   Expect a rate increase over the next few years to cover the costs of future upgrades to the plant etc.

Moratorium on AirBnBs

Steve Kemp, city attorney presented, saying the 90-day moratorium was 90 days because that is what the Charter allowed for Emergency Ordinances.  This vote will require 5 votes to pass.  (An emergency ordinance is one that can be passed with a single vote of council (no second reading) and can only be for 90 days.  After the 90 days a regular ordinance can be passed if council wants to extend the moratorium.)  Fey tried to get the moratorium extended to apartment units being used for short-term rentals as she has been getting constituent complaints about them.  The other council members did not support including apartments because they had not received any complaints.  Kemp will make some changes to the draft ordinance before presenting to council on July 17.

City Manager Report

Mark Relph wanted council’s blessing to close the South Platte River this weekend.  Someone has planned a massive tubing.  They group did not get a permit from the city and refused to take their Internet site down saying they could all just show up.  The city was very concerned about the health of the river and the consequences such a large group would have on the community and property owners.  The only way to handle this was to close the river for the day as the organizers are determined to show up whether or not the city granted a permit.  He got their concurrence.








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