Neighbors want Forest Hill Road improvements

Rezoning proposal sparks discussion about issues with the road

Deb Hurley Brobst
dbrobst@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 10/19/21

Neighbors of the Forest Heights Lodge in Evergreen are less concerned about a proposal to turn the lodge property into 16 residential lots and more upset with what they called Jefferson County's lack …

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Neighbors want Forest Hill Road improvements

Rezoning proposal sparks discussion about issues with the road

Posted

Neighbors of the Forest Heights Lodge in Evergreen are less concerned about a proposal to turn the lodge property into 16 residential lots and more upset with what they called Jefferson County's lack of maintenance of Forest Hill Road.

“I think the project fits up here, but the county needs to provide us with a safe road and a safe intersection at Highway 74,” said neighbor Ivan Wolverton during a community meeting on Oct. 13 about the proposed rezoning of nearly nine acres to planned development. “The county is not holding up their obligation to the citizens.”

More than a dozen neighbors voiced concerns about how the winding, dirt road that runs from Little Cub Creek Road over the hill to Highway 74 is so narrow in some places that it is only wide enough for one car. They were concerned that once the property is subdivided, a large number of homes will be built at once, and construction traffic will destroy the road.

“Everybody on this call would reiterate that the roads are in pretty rough shape,” one neighbor said. “I don't have much confidence that Jeffco will do anything. I think everyone on this call would say these roads are unacceptable.”

Residents suggested that they and Jeffco authorities should meet to discuss options for improving the road.

Resident Michael Whitehouse said neighbors could negotiate with Jeffco to provide some land to help widen the road where possible, and Jeffco should waive road-width standards to allow for paving.

“We cannot (be in favor of) the project without the road being improved,” Whitehouse said. “We want it properly paved and paved to the depth that (the road) will take heavy equipment.”

He also noted that access to Highway 74 from Forest Hill Road by Murphy's Mountain Grill is a disaster waiting to happen because it is impossible to see traffic on Highway 74 thanks to the building and parked cars.

Rezoning proposal

Forest Heights Lodge operated a residential treatment facility for boys since 1954 on the property that includes several buildings and three homes for staff. Thanks to the pandemic, the facility closed its Evergreen location and moved down the hill, according to Executive Director Jody Olson.

Olson said he has tried to find a buyer for the property who would run another residential treatment facility to no avail, since that is the only allowed use for the land, so the next option is residential.

Jeanne Shaffer with Chadwick Land Use Entitlements, who represents the facility, explained that the lots would be similar in size to surrounding lots, and an exact plan would be available once the property has been surveyed. The proposed zoning would be planned development because roads run through the acreage, and a planned development would allow the zoning to be kept to Mountain Residential-1 standards

Olson noted that the property already has 17 water taps and 15 sewer taps from the Evergreen Metro District, so no additional taps would be needed.

Some of the 35 people on the Zoom meeting said Olson and the facility had been good neighbors over the years.

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