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The increasing Douglas County traffic congestion is most obvious and disturbing, but the cause is the recent increase in unattractive high-density housing. If you’re a developer seeking to develop in the Town of Parker then join the party with confidence for the upheaval of single-family neighborhoods. Simply satisfy the zoning requirement and with the backing of the planning commission, the only resistance you’ll encounter will be residents. Case in point is the recent commissioners’ 5-2 vote to approve a 204-unit low-income housing apartment complex in Stroh Ranch (financed by an IRS Low Income Housing Tax Credit).
The Parker Chronicle’s Dec. 22 article “Parker planners approve affordable-housing development” by Tabatha Stewart describes resident reactions, but the elephant in the room is that over 300 residents attended a November hearing providing over two hours of comments with complete 100 percent opposition to the proposed housing project. There were a few comments about zoning and inconsistencies with the 2035 Master Plan, but the overwhelming majority of comments were heartfelt pleas from homeowners expressing viewpoints about the betrayal they felt after having purchased homes expecting similar demographics to continue, not intentional low-income deterioration of the neighborhood.
At a follow-up December meeting, each commissioner explained the vote they were making, but unlike elected officials these appointed stand-ins for the town council totally ignored all resident comments, instead focusing on technical zoning ordinances.
Section 13.06.040 of the Parker Municipal Code is the root cause of this disconnect with the community. The code totally empowers the planning commission to “approve/conditionally approve/deny a site plan/site plan amendment, without a public hearing”. Unlike other Douglas County municipalities, this code totally removes the elected town council from accountability for all high-density housing decisions. This code is unacceptable and needs to be rectified by the town council.
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