Pine Curve sale plan may be diverted by vote

Group gathering signatures in effort to designate area as open space

Posted 8/6/19

The Pine Curve property in Parker is in the beginning stages of being sold to a developer, but it may not be until mid-winter until the fate of the land is decided. The citizens committee to preserve …

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Pine Curve sale plan may be diverted by vote

Group gathering signatures in effort to designate area as open space

Posted

The Pine Curve property in Parker is in the beginning stages of being sold to a developer, but it may take until mid-winter for the fate of the land to be decided.

The citizens committee to preserve development on the property turned out in droves for the Aug. 5 town council meeting, when the group was informed it has about two more months to gather signatures of town voters. The committee's goal is to gather enough signatures to put a question on the ballot asking residents if the property should be rezoned as open space. If about 6,000 valid signatures are collected, it will go to a special election in December or January.

Meanwhile, a “win-win" negotiation may be on the table between the committee and the Downtown Business Alliance, which invited the group to discuss their differences and commonalities.

In addition, the council is considering a proposal to limit general public comment time at council meetings.

Here's what you might have missed at the Aug. 5 town council meeting:

Developer eyes Pine Curve

Town council approved the first reading of a processing and sales agreement for the Pine Curve property downtown at the meeting, which drew a large turnout from the citizens committee that has set out opposing its development.

Many attendees wore blue T-shirts in support of the committee to prevent development on Pine Curve and the strip of land north of PACE (PACE Lot 2). About a dozen people spoke during the general public comment portion of the meeting, speaking in opposition to the agreement.

Town attorney Jim Maloney defined the parameters of the agreement. He explained there will be no closing on the property if it is voted on by the people to be rezoned as open space. The town will continue the public hearing process still, but the sale will not be final unless the initiative ends or fails.

The Pine Curve property is 24 acres of undeveloped land east of Discovery Park, at the Pine Drive and Mainstreet intersection. The listing price was $5 per square foot, or about $5.3 million. The town entered into an agreement with UDC Miller LLC, a real estate investment group that is known for developing retail and mixed use spaces like shopping centers and marketplaces throughout Douglas and Arapahoe counties.

Pine Curve has been at the center of controversy over how it should be, or shouldn't be, developed for the past decade. The Pine Curve property is part of the town's My Mainstreet Project, an initiative led by the town's urban renewal authority, Partnering for Parker's Progress, and is zoned as Greater Downtown. As part of the My Mainstreet Project, the town surveyed about 1,300 residents about how they feel Pine Curve, along with four other downtown properties, should be developed.

The survey did not include an option to keep any of the properties as open space because for a piece of land to be kept as open space, the property must be zoned accordingly as Parks/Open Space.

The second reading for the processing and sales agreement is set for the Aug. 19 meeting.

Possible public comment change

Town council approved on first reading a change to the public comment policy that would limit the general public comment section during council meetings to 30 minutes before regular business items. The rest of public comment will be heard at the end of the business items. Currently, there is no limit on the comment time. Each speaker is limited to three minutes during their time at the lectern.

This differs from the comment period allotted during public hearings, in which there is no time limit. This would only apply to the public comment section provided prior to the consent agenda and not to the public comment provided for individual items slated for a public hearing.

This format mimics that of other municipalities, like Castle Rock and Denver.

The proposal was met with opposition by some, including Councilmember Cheryl Poage, who said the proposal was an effort to cut off public comment completely.

Members of council disagreed with Poage's notion and stated this measure was for efficiency and convenience for everybody.

“We're not denying anybody's right to speak to that vote,” Councilmember Josh Rivero said. “It is not my desire to limit anybody's voice ever in this room. It is my desire to get to business that is on the agenda first … We're just looking to make this convenient for everyone who's at these hearings.”

Citizens committee eyes goal

According to Maloney, the citizens committee to preserve Pine Curve and PACE Lot 2 will have until Oct. 9 to gather roughly 6,000 signatures. Leaders of the committee say they are about three-quarters of the way there. Mike Rouche and Terry Dodd, two of the leaders of the committee, told council that in their experiences, the majority of residents support their cause. The town, on the other hand, has said the majority of residents want some kind of walkable, mixed-use development on the property, as demonstrated in the My Mainstreet Project survey results that finished earlier this year.

If the group gains the required number of signatures, a special election would be held in December or January asking voters if the two properties should be rezoned from Greater Downtown to Open Space.

Poage has been an unabashed supporter of the open-space cause from the beginning, even going as far as to collect signatures with a blue “Save PACE Parking and Pine Curve” shirt and a town badge in a photo posted on social media last month.

The citizens committee's message claimed the 180-some parking spots north of the PACE Center would be reduced if PACE Lot 2 is sold, which town officials have said is not true. The loudest voice from this group comes from the people of the Rowley Downs neighborhood, which borders Pine Curve and downtown to the south and east. Their concern is with traffic, noise and the possibility of undesirable development.

The group recently met with the Downtown Business Alliance to work toward finding a “win-win,” according to Dodd.

“That's really what should have happened before now,” Dodd said. “I believe (the My Mainstreet Project) failed what the people wanted, what the desires of the people is … (We've) engaged five to six times the people My Mainstreet engaged, so when we say the vast majority of people are against development on this property, we're not guessing or speculating. We're out there talking to the people.”

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