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Planners say no to Franktown Village

Controversial rezoning plan loses round; water application gets mixed vote

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After six weeks, three public hearings and more than 100 statements against the project, the Douglas County Planning Commission decided on June 19 not to recommend the rezoning application for the Franktown Village residential and commercial development by a vote of 6-0. Commissioners tied 3-3 on a decision on a water appeal for the project, filed by applicants Russ Berget and Pat Carroll.

The final decision on the project will be up to the Douglas County commissioners.

Approximately 200 people from Franktown and surrounding areas attended the hearing at the Philip S. Miller Building in Castle Rock, as they had for previous meetings on June 5 and May 15. Both previous meetings were continued to allow the hundreds of citizens who registered to speak out against the project.

“A lot of people put their heart and soul into it,” said Diana Love, president of the Franktown Citizens Coalition II, a nonprofit organized specifically to stop the project. “They believed in our government saying 'it's going to stay rural,' and last night they got their belief validated.”

The Franktown Village plan, which has been in the works for over five years, would include 286 single-family homes and 180,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. Its proposed location, at the intersection of Colorado Highways 86 and 83, was designated as a rural area in the county's 2035 Master Plan. The rezoning proposal would have changed zoning to planned development from rural residential zoning.

Planning Commission Chair Clarence Hughes of Castle Rock reminded citizens in the audience to quiet themselves as Jack Reutzel, attorney for the developers, rebutted the arguments made by citizens opposed to the project.

In his decision, Hughes expressed concerns over degradation of wildlife habitat from the proposed development. Commissioner Peter Bierbaum, of Larkspur, echoed citizens' concerns that the water supply for the project was not renewable or sustainable.

The plan will go to the Douglas County Board of Commissioners on July 25, unless Carroll and Berget withdraw their application. Calls to Reutzel were not returned.

Love said she is cautiously optimistic after the commission's decision, and that she and other coalition members will be ready for another fight if necessary.

“We're not done yet,” Love said. “We kept a lot of our powder dry. If it goes to the board, then it will come out.”

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