Chair Duzan introduced Ms. Dickinson, Principal Planner, who presented the staff report that had been included in the board's packet sent to them prior to the meeting.
Ms. Dickinson read the exhibits into the record and proceeded with the staff report highlighting the two sets of policies the must be evaluated: The City-wide Goals, Sterne Park Neighborhood Plan and Downtown Neighborhood Plan portions of the COMPLAN; and The Littleton Boulevard Corridor Study and Design Guidelines for the Sheriff's Department Site (2000 W. Littleton Boulevard). She reviewed each goal in respect to the previous application and the current application and noted the conditions as they related to the policy. She pointed out that the number of units was reduced to 250 and set backs were increased. The conceptual plan highlights these changes as well as showing two separate buildings.
Ms. Mackenzie Jellum of Alliance Residential Company, the applicant, distributed a hard copy of the Power Point presentation and then proceeded with some background information stating Alliance is a fully integrated, national operating company that is focused on acquiring, owning, developing and managing rental multi-family properties throughout the United States. Ms. Jellum introduced Mr. Andy Clay, Managing Director, to continue with the presentation.
Mr. Andy Clay, of Alliance Realty Partners, said he would summarize the application, highlight the evolution of the design, present their justification for rezoning and the consistency with the goals and policies of the plans and studies presented previously by Ms. Dickinson. He especially pointed out that the development will be built to LEED Gold standards.
Ms. Mackenzie Jellum presented information from studies made regarding the housing supply in Littleton, especially apartment communities. She stated the target demographic is empty nesters and young professionals.
Mr. Clay returned and explained in what ways the current application is consistent with the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan, Sterne Park Neighborhood Plan, and The Littleton Boulevard Corridor Study. Mr. Clay further explained the steps being taken to accommodate the community that include the developer installing a traffic signal at Bemis and Littleton Blvd., expanding the width of the sidewalk along the bridge over the railroad depression at Alamo, and dedicating an easement to the city for the open space and fire access. The developer will include a 1,200 square foot cafe with an outdoor patio at the corner of Littleton Blvd/Bemis Street which will be used as a private amenity if the space is not occupied to avoid a dark space and will be available for neighborhood/community meetings and/or gatherings.
Mr. Clay introduced Harsh Parikh, Architect, 3457 Ringsby Ct. #209, Denver, CO. Mr. Parikh explained that the design for the project has advanced to recognize the older buildings like the Court House and downtown Littleton. Mr. Parikh provided a presentation that included the context, site plan and a bird's eye view as well as a human scale view of the proposed project. The various views provided a sample of what the completed project could look like.
There were no questions of staff or the applicant, therefore, Chair Duzan proceeded with the ground rules for the public speakers. They would be allowed to speak for four minutes and a spokesperson would be allowed 8 minutes and everyone was encouraged to sign up to speak. Chair Duzan stated there would be no dialog until all speakers had a chance to speak. The Board, Staff and Applicant would take notes and try to answer questions at that time.
Paul Bingham, 236 W. Delaware Cir. Mr. Bingham distributed a hard copy of his testimony that expressed his opinion regarding the size - the 6 stories was magnified by the hill overlooking the city and he wanted compatibility with the ComPlan and Corridor Study without conditions.
Gary Johnson, 5753 S. Prescott felt the board did not have the full story regarding traffic - traffic pattern and trips in particular.
Lou Sullivan, 5940 S. Bemis shared concerns regarding the visual impact from downtown and felt the proposed project dwarfed the Court House. He felt this project was not quite there yet; therefore, he disapproved the proposed project.
Carol Brzeczek, 2000 W Arapahoe Rd shared her opinion that more compatible is not compatible and is that good enough? She further had concerns about height and scale.
Leah Burkett, 5730 S Bemis, resident across the street from the proposed project shared her concern for keeping the small town character, the problem of shadows on the neighborhood and the proposed density.
Brenda O'Connell, 5791 S Spotswood St, a 50 year resident said she is against the proposed project in that she felt it degraded the neighborhood character and her concerns for light and air pollution.
Sherleen Williams, 850 W Powers, expressed her opinion regarding the density and that the units in town already should be fixed rather than adding more.
Ben Burkett, 5730 S. Bemis St, opposed the size and mass and wanted to be sure the proposed project is considered on the merits according to the ComPlan.
Betty Harris, 6281 S Cedar, shared her opinions for being against the proposed project.
Marty Bolt, 6187 S Windermere Way, expressed his concerns about potential traffic problems.
John Watson, 4500 W Hinsdale Ave, expressed his opinion on the actual economic benefits from apartments regarding sales and property taxes.
Susan Burgsteiner, 6120 S Sterne Pkwy., shared this is a good project, just not for this location and does not meet the standards the current neighborhood residents deserve.
Pam Chadbourne, 5402 S Nevada St.,expressed her concerns regarding height, density, traffic and suggested the board not approve the proposed project.
Thomas O'Brien, 5652 S. Cedar St., shared his support for the proposed project in that parking and traffic problem shows things are happening and he expressed his opinion that 50/acre is very close to 56/acre.
Molly O'Malley, 6373 S. Prescott St., shared her concerns about the width of Bemis St., the lack of sidewalks and parking especially during events downtown.
Bob Decker, 5457 S Perry St., expressed his concerns regarding traffic, density and parking.
Chair Duzan called a recess of 10 minutes
Tom Grushka, 5758 S Gallup St., expressed his concern that large corporations are not sensitive and are not invested in the city. He also shared his concern what the impact will be on visually impaired residents.
Joseph Devlin, 5870 S. Bemis, expressed his opinion regarding size, traffic and parking and preserving the unique identity of Littleton.
Norm Brown, 6081 S Spotswood St., shared his concern for the safety of the residents at the proposed project from potential train incidents in the railroad depression. He quoted articles of past derailments and accidents involving explosions and speed.
Jeff Brabenec, 5931 S Spotswood, expressed his opinion that he is not against development as such but does object to the density and traffic of this proposed project.
Frank Atwood, 7094 S Costilla, expressed his opinion as an advocate for home owners.
Elizabeth Dosher, 2763 W Riverwalk Cir., expressed her appreciation as part of a young professional demographic, for the proposed project.
Francis Pierson, 1950 W Littleton Blvd. expressed his opinion that the proposed project should be put on hold until more research was done regarding the question of zoning.
Katie Burnie, Commercial Fitness at 12386 N Dumont Way, local business person, expressed her opinion that there is a demographic that is attracted to the culture of Littleton and will be attracted to this proposed project.
Greg Reinke, representing the downtown businesses, presented a letter of support for the proposed project to the planning board.
Kal Murib, Main Street business owner, expressed his opinion that the proposed project would enhance downtown, progress needs high density and that the targeted demographic is different than what is here now.
The following persons signed the public hearing roster as against the proposed project, but did not wish to speak:
Phyllis Clerihue, Cora Devlin, Sally Parsons, Lori Schultz,John Schultz, Will Gravely, Mary Gravely, Barbara Grohoski, Nancy Bargis, Erin Aldrich, Sue Young, David Wall, Michael Williams, Marty Bitts, Mary Grushka, Leonard Kopec,Jim Dubose, Mary Bradford, Carolyn Francisco, Eric Jones, Ray Flesher, Gwyneth Jones, Vicky Peterson, Roger Peterson, Aimee Lorenzeh, Nancy Berger, Peter TenEyck, Pete McClintock, and Al Clerihue
The following persons signed the public hearing roster as in favor the proposed project, but did not wish to speak:
Norm Herman and Robert Palm
Chair Duzan thanked all the participants and invited the applicant to present their rebuttal.
Mr. Clay informed the participants that they understand their concerns and explained the uses of a B-2 district may not be as desireable as the proposed project.
Ms. Dickinson clarified the B-2 zoning regarding density of the property. Ms. Dickinson clarified that the property is 4.5 acres and the density is proposed at 56 units per acre.
Mr. Mark Rudnicki had a question regarding the Littleton Blvd. Corridor Study and it not having any ordinance language that 175 living units 9,000 sq. footage of ground level retail. A discussion followed regarding the 9,000 sq. feet of commercial which is viable and 25 live-work units which is an allowed use in the code.
Discussion continued regarding height and scale, proposed parking is within the city requirements, traffic pattern on Bemis, lighting will comply with city dark sky code, and the LEED gold requirements.
Mr. David Bolt asked what the unit mix of the property was. Mr. Clay responded that there are approximately 60% are 2 bedrooms and 40% are 1 bedroom with an average room size of 892 sq. ft. There is more demand for 2 bedroom units than 1 bedroom where an urban location would call for a "flip" for that unit mix. There is an expectation that people will want more room and can afford two bedrooms.
Mr. David Bolt addressed the 30% vacancy rate for commercial space. He asked Mr. Clay if he knew what the breakdown was for retail vs. office vs. industrial. It was explained that the conceptual plan presented is not necessarily the final plan since that will come during future steps in the process. Mr. Clay confirmed that there is a 30% vacancy rate and it is primarily made up of retail vs office and it is within a one mile radius around the site. Another question arose as to what is the vacancy rate for office vs. retail? Response was that commercial office space summary has 27.2% vacancy and the retail has a 30.5% vacancy within a one mile radius of the light rail station. There were 12 conditions in the report that Mr. Clay stated that they were willing to agree to in their lease contract. The Design Review process would not curtail what they were proposing.
Board Member Samuelson moved that planning board approve Planning Board Resolution No. 13-03 which forwards a recommendation of approval with conditions to City Council was made. , seconded by Board Member Bolt.
Motion failed 0-8
Board Member Baertlein, Alt 1, Board Member Bolt, Chair Duzan, Chair Pro Tem Elrod, Board Member Graham, Board Member Moore, Board Member Rudnicki, and Board Member Samuelson voting NO.
Discussion ensued by the Board Members. Concerns were expressed relating to the density and building mass with six stories on the west side.
Chair Pro Tem Elrod moved that planning board amend the motion to include a 13th condition to further reduce the density to 50 units per acre and the related square footage for purposes of reducing overall mass and scale of building, seconded by -1.
Vote on main motion
Ms. Schledorn, Deputy City Attorney, asked the board if they would like to direct the City Attorney's office to prepare a resolution recommending denial to bring back to the board. At this point, the board is not forwarding any sort of recommendation to council other than a failed recommendation for approval.
Discussion ensued to clarify exactly what is required. Board members expressed that the density and scale of mass was not compatible with the COMPLAN and the Littleton Boulevard Corridor Study.
Chair Duzan moved that planning board approve approve a recommendation for denial to City Council. , seconded by Board Member Graham.
Motion carried 6-2
Board Member Baertlein, Alt 1, Board Member Bolt, Chair Duzan, Board Member Graham, Board Member Rudnicki, and Board Member Samuelson voting YES.
Chair Pro Tem Elrod, and Board Member Moore voting NO.