Downtown Parker properties to be sold, sparking controversy

A citizen committee is trying to put the zoning of the Pine Curve and PACE Lot properties to a vote

Posted 3/26/19

Four parcels of land in downtown Parker are ready to be sold, including the 24-acre Pine Curve lot that has been at the center of public scrutiny over its zoning twice before. One year after the My …

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Downtown Parker properties to be sold, sparking controversy

A citizen committee is trying to put the zoning of the Pine Curve and PACE Lot properties to a vote

Posted

Four parcels of land in downtown Parker are ready to be sold, including the 24-acre Pine Curve lot that has been at the center of public scrutiny over its zoning twice before.

One year after the My Mainstreet Project launched, the results of the project have yielded protest from residents and councilmembers concerning the Pine Curve and PACE Lot 2 properties in downtown Parker and a citizen affidavit to change the zoning of them. Pine Curve is east of Pine Drive. PACE Lot 2 is a 1.4-acre lot north of the PACE Center, which includes part of its parking lot, along Mainstreet.

“The far majority (of citizens) have asked for some level of vibrant, convenient and fun development to happen,” Mayor Mike Waid said. “I have been involved in two of the three community engagement projects over the past decade on this (Pine Curve) property, and in every situation a very large percentage of citizens from all of Parker have provided extremely valuable input as to what they would like to see there.”

But a committee of Parker residents is trying to put the fate of Pine Curve and PACE Lot 2 to a vote.

“The Committee to Save PACE and Pine Curve 3.0” plans to circulate a petition for the purpose of placing a question on a ballot as to whether the zoning of the lots should be modified to Parks/Open Space. The “3.0” is representative of two previous efforts to modify the zoning on the properties.

Town council approved a listing agreement with NavPoint Real Estate March 18, setting the stage for the four downtown properties to be sold. The My Mainstreet Project, facilitated by Partnering for Parker's Progress (P3), was meant to serve as a guideline for downtown developments based on opinions from residents. The town followed the results of the My Mainstreet Project survey to keep the Pine Curve and PACE Lot 2 properties zoned commercial.

Terry Dodd is a member of the five-person committee and has been involved in the previous efforts to re-think the development of Pine Curve.

“The people have said they don't want a big-box user in there, they don't want 24-hour uses like a gas station, they didn't want the lights to intrude with the residential neighborhood to the east, they don't want the traffic problem along Pine Drive,” Dodd said. “We saw what they (the town) were trying to do, and they really haven't left us any choice — if it's all or nothing, then it's nothing.”

Councilmembers Cheryl Poage and Jeff Toborg both voted against the approval of the listing agreement March 18 and voiced support for the citizen committee. Toborg said he asked the council to agree to putting the zoning of the properties on a November ballot.

'Not a representative population'

Poage and Toborg said they feel the results of the My Mainstreet Project were inconclusive based on the total number of resident responses. According to the town, more than 1,200 people engaged with the project, about 2 percent of the town's population. Andy Anderson, the town's spokesperson, said the town typically receives between 10 to 30 public comments on a municipal project.

“If you look at the number of respondents, it's not a representative population,” Poage said. “Citizens have told (the town) repeatedly that they don't want commercial development on Pine Curve.”

Poage also stated she felt commercial development on the north end of the PACE Center property, facing Mainstreet, would create parking problems and take away from the aesthetic of the PACE Center. 

The listing agreement includes a commitment fee of 1 percent of the price of each property to be paid to NavPoint if one or more of the properties is pulled from the agreement. That would amount to roughly $97,000 if both the Pine Curve and PACE Lot 2 properties were pulled from the contract. NavPoint stated it would not move forward with the agreement without the commitment fee.

The town added the 1 percent commitment fee after the threat and eventual deliverance of the citizen affidavit seeking to put the zoning of Pine Curve and PACE Lot 2 to a town-wide vote.

'Battle of Pine Curve'

The development of the Pine Curve property has been at the center of controversy twice before.

In the most recent effort, 2016, the town announced plans to zone the Pine Curve property allowing commercial development. More than 500 residents signed a petition to stall the rezoning process. The town suspended the rezoning process as a result.

Three years later, the town began the My Mainstreet Project, surveying residents how they feel downtown should be developed. The results of the survey reported a higher percentage of residents felt the Pine Curve property should remain a commercial property.

“Two years ago, we had the battle of Pine Curve. It was very obvious the people in the town did not want what they were trying to do on that land,” Dodd said. “The town council has really not been willing to negotiate.”

Waid said he sees the Pine Curve property as an opportunity for a market center zoned for commercial to provide an “additional piece to the downtown Parker puzzle.”

“What our citizens want is vibrancy, excitement, convenience and access while maintaining the charm of Parker,” Waid said. “They want walkable shopping. They want a vibrant environment conducive to day and night time use. They don't want a typical big box strip mall, and this project agrees with that.”

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