Alberta shares revised vision for Orchard Station Development

Last week at a neighborhood input meeting, Alberta Development shared new plans for the redevelopment of the former Marilyn Hickey property at Orchard and I-25.

The neighborhood input meeting is a prerequisite to submitting a formal development application to Greenwood Village.

Here is a link to a Villager article describing the conceptual plans.

Alberta Development displays plans for Marilyn Hickey building

Sundance Hills Verizon Application to be decided at Monday’s City Council Meeting

If you live in Greenwood Village, please attend Monday’s City Council Meeting (July 15 at 6:00 pm at City Hall) or write City Council to oppose a proposed Verizon cell tower (with 4-6 antennas) on top of the Sundance Hills pool house.

The Sundance Hills HOA opposes this application and Sundance Hills residents are strongly opposed to this as demonstrated by large attendance and vocal opposition at two recent neighborhood meetings. However, the Sundance Hills Metropolitan District’s Board chose to enter into a 25-year lease with Verizon without seeking ANY neighborhood input (SHMD is a special district that owns the pool and facilities).

The proposal is a 10-foot addition to the club’s rooftop, which is ALREADY at the maximum 26-foot height limit allowed under current zoning. This will impact many homes situated immediately around the pool and these neighbors were completely left out of the process.

Verizon’s 10-foot proposal also exceeds a 7-foot limit for building-mounted telecommunications facilities and further seeks to build a large new equipment enclosure at the end of the parking lot that will be an eyesore to neighbors and include a new transformer in close proximity to the swimming pool.

Under FCC rules, City Council CANNOT consider concerns about RF emissions. City Council can only consider impacts related to “height and aesthetics”.

The city recently adopted a master plan (April 2019) and predefined design standards and guidelines to allow cell phone providers to leverage approximately 800 existing poles (traffic and street lights) to encourage the build out of 5G networks throughout the city. The city has done this thoughtfully and with the intent of keeping the providers out of residential neighborhoods, while still providing ample options for expanding cell phone coverage. The Sundance Hills application defies that intent and would allow the tower to be placed in the middle of the neighborhood. Surprisingly, Verizon acknowledged Thursday night that it won’t even cover the entire neighborhood.

This is important to all GV residents, because if approved, it will create a terrible precedent and undermine our current zoning laws and impact property values.

Please attend Monday night and oppose this application and/or write to City Council.

  • Ron Rakowsky –
  • George Lantz –
  • Steve Moran –
  • Dave Bullock –
  • Jerry Presley –
  • Anne Ingebretsen –
  • David Kerber –
  • Judy Hilton –
  • Tom Dougherty –
  • Susan Ortiz (City Clerk) –

The agenda with links to attachments can be found here:

Thank you for your help – Randy

The Sundance Hills Metropolitan District wants to put a Cell Tower on the Sundance Hills Clubhouse

The July 15, 2019 Greenwood Village City Council agenda recently revealed the application by Verizon Wireless to build a 10-foot tall cupola to house cell phone antennas on top of the neighborhood’s pool and tennis clubhouse, commonly known as the Sailfish Room.

In addition to the rooftop cupola, Verizon is proposing equipment cabinets to be housed at the end of the pool parking lot.

The Verizon application was originally submitted in June 2018 and Verizon began discussions with the Sundance Hills Metropolitan District (“SHMD”) Board in the first quarter of 2017.  The special district owns the pool, clubhouse and tennis courts and was originally organized to provide landscaping to the neighborhood and later to acquire the pool and related facilities from the developer.

Residents have many concerns about the proposed cell tower and what is being viewed as a complete lack of neighborhood input leading up to SHMD’s authorization of the agreement.  The lease agreement between SHMD and Verizon allows for Verizon to automatically renew the agreement for up to 25-years, with little ability for SHMD to exit the lease.

Approximately, 50 residents attended a special Sundance Hills HOA meeting tonight (June 30, 2019), not one person spoke in favor of the proposed cell phone tower.  The SHMD Board was invited to attend, but declined the invitation.  Some of the concerns expressed include:

  • Health and safety (RF emissions*, generators, lightning and proximity to the pool);
  • Impact on Sundance Hills property values;
  • Impact on the pool and related facilities;
  • Height, aesthetics and visual impact of an additional 10-foot structure on top of the club house – total building height is now proposed to be 36.5 feet at the top of the cupola. This is 40% higher than the maximum allowable height of 26 feet in a R-0.25 zoned district (GV Municipal code section 16-11-60 and zoning map);
  • Adequacy of the lease to protect Sundance Hills’ interests.

Residents concerned about the proposed cell phone tower are urged to reach out to the following contacts prior to the July 15 city council meeting:

  • Sarah Shepherd, SHMD District Manager and CEO of Circuit Rider of Colorado – (ask Sarah to forward your comments to the SHMD Board)
  • George Lantz, City Council, District 3, Mayor Pro-Tem –
  • Steve Moran, City Council, District 3 –
  • Susan Ortiz, GV City Clerk –

The SHMD Board members include:

  • Mark Adams, President
  • Amy Fehr
  • Kelly Kelly
  • Erin Kindy
  • Stacie Sarsfield

* Due to FCC regulations, City Council will be unable on July 15 to consider testimony related to the potential health risks related to the close proximity of the pool and adjacent residences to the cell phone towers.  However, the SHMD Board should have considered and discussed with residents the potential for unknown long-term risks prior to its decision.  This issue is still highly debated around the world.

Final GV District 4 Seat Remains Undecided

Update 11/9/17: I misspoke on the recount below. I talked with the city this morning and it is based on 1/2 of 1% of the highest vote getter (I️ thought it was 1%). So the difference needs to be 3 or fewer votes for a recount.

There is still a chance the Vote difference will close between now and Nov 15.

Arapahoe County will update by 4 pm each day.

Twenty-four hours after the polls closed Tuesday night, the second City Council seat for District 4 in Greenwood Village remains undecided.

As of this morning Tom Dougherty held a 7 vote lead over current City Council Member TJ Gordon. Dougherty’s lead has now shrunk to 4 votes, 519 to 515.

According to the GV Municipal Code, an automatic recount occurs if someone doesn’t win by more than 1% of the highest number of votes in the district. Judy Hilton currently has 565 votes, so it appears that a recount is required if someone’s lead is less than 6 votes.

The city has five days to complete the recount, so we are unlikely to know the outcome until next week.

According to the Arapahoe County website, election results will not be certified and final until late November.

Here is a link to the Arapahoe County Election returns: Arapahoe County Election Results< img src=”; height=”579″ class=”wp-image-1061″ width=”1229″>

Challengers upset GV City Council Incumbents

Update: 12:05 am – D4 Candidates Judy Hilton (563 votes), Tom Dougherty (519 votes) and TJ Gordon (512 votes)

Update : 11:05 pm – Judy Hilton maintains her lead over 3rd place candidate TJ Gordon by 50 votes. However, Gordon has narrowed his deficit to only 8 votes behind Tom Daugherty. 

It is a great night for those looking to restore trust in Greenwood Village City Council. (Results are as of the last update at 8:06 pm)

District 1 re-elected Councilman Dave Bullock with 44% of the D1 vote. Jerry Presley was elected with 36%. Incumbent Freda Miklin with just under 20% of the vote will not be re-elected. 

District 2 elected Anne Ingebretsen and Dave Kerber, each with about 30% of the D2 vote.  Darryl Jones was not re-elected (19%). Seanna Mulligan received 16% and Henry Siegel received 5% of the votes. 

George Lantz and Steve Moran were both re-elected after running unopposed in D3. 

District 4 was the tightest race with Judith Hilton receiving 32% and Tom Dougherty receiving 30%. D4 incumbent TJ Gordon is currently in 3rd place and only 22 votes behind Dougherty with 29% of the votes. Jeff Kahn has about 10% of the votes. 

Tom Bishop (D4) and Leslie Schluter (D2) decided against running for re-election. 

Bishop, Schluter, Miklin, Jones and Gordon all voted in favor of the Orchard Station Subarea. On June 6, 76% of voters voted against the proposed high-density Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) amendment to the Village’s Comprehensive Plan. 

GV Council Members question intelligence of Electorate

orchard-station-mapCouncil members Tom Bishop and Leslie Schluter clearly remain angered by the results of the June 6 Orchard Station Special Election.  Four Villager articles published over the last week on Bishop and Schluter strongly state their opinions on Orchard Station and undermine the considerable intelligence of GV voters and the 76% who voted against the Subarea.

Schluter and Bishop, along with Freda Miklin, Darryl Jones and TJ Gordon all VOTED TO ADOPT the Orchard Station Subarea on March 20, 2017 despite knowing that citizens were strongly opposed to the Amendment.  They did not care about legitimate concerns residents had regarding traffic, density, views and schools.

In one article, Tom Bishop states, “In my opinion, we are now left with a misinformed and therefore misguided majority of electorate who are asking their council representatives to lead in ways that will be counterproductive to both their and our city’s interests.” Continue reading

GV City Council punts Century’s Orchard Station project and why it Matters in the City Council Election

Monday night City Council had an opportunity to vote on Century Communities’ high-density Landmark Village residential development in Orchard Station. City council members could have provided clarity and transparency on their positions regarding Orchard Station. They could have begun the City’s healing process after the damaging division they created as a result of the June 6 Special Election. They could have honored the vision that is articulated in the Greenwood Village Comprehensive Plan. They could have said we heard the message sent by 76% of voters loud and clear. 

They didn’t.  

Instead they delayed the issue until December 4 and AFTER the upcoming City Council Election (ballots are being mailed this week). City council members argued that this delay would “de-politicize” their decision. Instead, I believe the decision does exactly the opposite by providing cover to TJ GORDON , FREDA MIKLIN and DARRYL JONES in their efforts to be reelected on November 7. 

Attendees at Monday’s hearing were told TJ Gordon recommended the delay until after the election. 

Twice during the meeting, Century offered to reduce the density in a last ditch effort to turn its $11 million Orchard Station investment into a $160 million development. Century’s application was predicated on the passage of the Orchard Station Subarea Amendment to the Comprehensive Plan. This was City Staff’s conclusion when it reviewed Century’s initial 104-unit Landmark Village application that was withdrawn at the beginning of 2016. 
The Subarea Amendment would have allowed residential and higher-density TOD development (tripling the height restrictions in the Amendment would have tripled the allowable density). 
TJ, Darryl and Freda REFUSED to agree to specific density restrictions requested as part of a compromise effort before the Orchard Station Amendment was sent to the voters in June. 

Century’s final offer Monday night included 161-units (reduced from 189). This would still be over twice the density of Caley Ponds and three-times the density of Marvella (both nearby Century projects). 

Some members of city council argued that residential would be preferred, because it would generate less traffic. That is a true statement. However, residential has its own costs – impact on schools and a significant increases in residences, may also be dilutive to the tax base, city services and potentially home values due to greater supply. 

These issues may not all materialize from a single development like Century’s, but allowing Century’s residential development to proceed creates an important precedent. Alberta Development still owns the Marilyn Hickey property and may continue to have options on additional redevelopment sites in the area. Alberta’s initial development application included almost 1,200 residential units, which would have increased the number of residences in the City by about 20%. If Century gets residential, how can the City deny residential to Alberta?

Allowing the Century residential development would basically tell developers that the City’s Comprehensive Plan doesn’t matter, since it strongly discourages additional residential, except for a limited amount by the Arapahoe Road light rail stop (the “Village Center”).

What will this type of exception to the Comp Plan invite when other areas in the City’s Corridor Area are eventually redeveloped (e.g. the area around Sheplers)?

The city attorney acknowledged last November that the main difference between the existing Comp Plan and the Orchard Station Subarea was that the existing Plan focuses new residential in the Village Center. 

Over and over, city council members supporting Orchard Station said (and continue to say on the campaign trail) that they only wanted to amend the Comp Plan in order to have the opportunity to consider alternative development opportunities beyond commercial office. They have acknowledged repeatedly that the current Comp Plan discourages additional residential. 

So why couldn’t they make a decision on Monday night?

As we know, the vote to amend the Comp Plan on June 6 failed 76% to 24%. However, other than a comment by Councilman Dave Bullock, I don’t believe the Comp Plan was discussed at Monday night’s meeting. 

Why can’t the high-density candidates like TJ, Darryl and Freda be consistent and abide by their previous statements? The attempt to amend the Comp Plan failed on June 6, so to be consistent they shouldn’t have had a very difficult time evaluating Century’s Landmark residential development application. 

Council members had all of the information they needed to make a decision and begin to restore trust on Monday night, but they failed to do so. A significant portion of this process will now start over on December 4, we just don’t know how much – what a waste of time for City Staff and residents. 

When you cast your ballots for a new City Council, please consider the damage caused by current Council’s actions on Orchard Station and Monday’s decision to continue to prevent transparency and protect the vision of Greenwood Village. 

Thank you – Randy

City Council punts Century’s Orchard Station application to December 4, after GV City Council Election

City council has kicked the Orchard Station can down the road to December 4. Waiting until after the new Greenwood Village City Council has been elected. 

Century came to tonight’s meeting trying to gain city council support, by offering to reduce the 189-unit high-density residential development by 10%. After some questions by city council Century further agreed to reduce the number of units by another 10-units to a total of 161-units. This is still 55% larger than its original 104-unit development. 

City council then closed the public hearing and met in Executive Session for over an hour to receive legal advice. 

When city council returned the decision was made to continue the application to December 4 when a new city council will be elected. It was stated that city council would have to reopen public comment, but since the city council will not have heard the new case, there is some speculation the process will need to start over. 

The concerns regarding compliance with the Comprehensive Plan (currently residential is highly discouraged around Orchard Station) were almost entirely ignored during the meeting. Dave Bullock raised the issue during his comments, but I don’t believe anyone else mentioned the issue. 

TJ Gordon recommended the delay until after the election. This means Mr. Gordon, Freda Miklin and Darryl Jones can all continue use their reelection campaigns without having to take a stance on another high density Orchard Station development.