Neighbors upset over Stroh Crossing development plan

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The re-emergence of new housing has been a welcome sight for recession-weary residents, but a proposed mixed-use project is causing concern for one rural neighborhood.

The Butterfield Homeowners Association is opposing an amendment to the Stroh Crossing planned development guide, which scales down a previously approved commercial anchor on the northeast corner of South Parker Road and Stroh Road and replaces it with housing.

While this might seem like good news for adjacent residents, the Butterfield HOA sent a letter to town planner Patrick Mulready, detailing what it believes will be negative impacts to the neighborhood just to the east if the changes are approved.

The Parker Planning Commission was set to hear the amendment request during a meeting Sept. 12, and if approved, it would go to council for consideration on Oct. 7.

Bill Lundell, a Butterfield resident since 1994 and current president of the HOA, says the proposed housing density of four dwelling units per acre in Stroh Crossing is “incompatible” with surrounding subdivisions.

“It’s lots as small as 3,500 square feet for a single-family home. That’s just tiny,” he said. “In Robinson Ranch, the homes are on about one acre, and in Butterfield, we’re on five acres.”

Objections to the sudden change in density were expected, Mulready said, and the town required the applicant to hold neighborhood meetings with representatives from Butterfield and Robinson Ranch. He cited examples around Parker of similar rural subdivisions being surrounded by higher-density developments, including Cherry Creek Highlands.

Butterfield residents are also worried about the amount of traffic that would be generated by the 133-home neighborhood, as well as proposed commercial uses along South Parker Road. The property owner and applicant for the change, Service Star Development Co. LLC, has worked in the past on the behalf of petroleum companies to establish gas stations.

Commercial uses would account for 8.4 acres of the 53-acre property and residential uses would comprise roughly 33 acres. The remaining land would be dedicated as greenbelts and open space, including a 13-acre drainage wash that contains a number of old cottonwood trees. That parcel would provide a buffer between the new development and Butterfield, and a 100-foot buffer will separate Stroh Crossing from Robinson Ranch, Mulready said.

But Lundell says the town might eliminate an open space parcel that is already part of the development plan in favor of building more houses. The landowner went above the required amount of open space during the first approval process in 2001, Mulready said, and has since changed the plan to make it easier to build homes on flatter land. Since the land was never officially dedicated to Parker as part of a final plat, the open space is “not the town’s to give away,” he said.

The property at South Parker and Stroh roads, upon which sits the Coffee Cabin and an old dairy that has been considered for historic designation, was one of three spots marketed to Kohl’s, which ultimately opened in Flat Acres Marketplace. The 2001 PD amendment allowed for 300,000 square feet of commercial uses and 80,000 square feet of offices and open space.

Plans for the property were altered when a handful of community leaders decided to use Hess Road to connect to Interstate 25 instead of Stroh Road. The property owner is attempting to get the zoning in place to market it to a homebuilder, Mulready said.

“Since the original annexation, significant decisions have taken place that don’t make it as viable for commercial uses as once thought,” he said. “This (amendment) falls back to what the town’s master plan recommended, which is single-family residential.”

Approval of the amendment doesn’t give the go-ahead for construction to start and there are still several rounds of review. The earliest that construction would start would be the second half of 2014. Mulready says Butterfield representatives have been offered a “seat at the table” during the discussions.

The proposed amendment can be viewed at www.parkeronline.org by typing “Stroh Crossing” into the search window.