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.”

Schluter doubles down on why they lost the Orchard Station election, by saying “I guess lies sell better than truth”.  What are the lies and misinformation that was presented to voters during the June 6 election?  Neither of them have any examples of these lies or misrepresentations.  Bishop cites a false example, “that people are touting that commercial office produces less traffic than residential”.

I have attended or listened to almost every meeting, read almost every public comment letter and have read almost every article on orchard Station and I have never heard anyone make that claim.

Personally, I have reiterated what the City’s consultants presented for mixed-use development.  Per the consultants, mixed-use produces more daily traffic, as much or more peak afternoon traffic and more non-peak traffic (including nights and weekends).  Light rail is not the solution to our traffic issues.  The consultants only assume that 8% of the mixed-use trips will be via mass transit.   The other 92% of incremental traffic will add to the already congested streets and intersections.

The consultant’s report and specific comparisons between development types can be found in my post VOTE NO on June 6: Orchard Station likely to Produce TWICE the traffic of Sold Out Pepsi Center Event; Leslie Schluter wrong on Traffic.

Bishop and Schluter argue that citizens and council members need to place more reliance on the consultants or “experts”.  However, they fail to mention that two of the three expert consultants that GV hired to help develop the Orchard Station Subarea language, Economic & Planning Systems and Felsburg Holt & Ullevig, performed work for Alberta Development Partners and the City of Greenwood Village.

Should city staff, city council and citizens blindly take advice from consultants with such an apparent conflict? Does this build trust between the city and its citizens?  Bishop argues that the electorate needs to “rely on experienced staff and external expert resources to educate themselves before decisions are made”.

Leslie says, “[L]ook for leaders who rely on facts, rather than personal pique. Insist that your City Council actually study expert information, rather than rejecting it out of hand because “they lie.” Be wary of those who insist they know better than Cherry Creek Schools’ Superintendent Harry Bull and Long-Range Planning about how this kind of approach would be great for schools.”

Schluter’s quote is clearly an attack on the letter I wrote to City Council and the blog and Nextdoor posts I made regarding the potential school impact from potentially adding 1,200 residential units at Orchard Station, combined with the impact from several other new residential developments outside of Greenwood Village that will also feed into Cherry Creek.

Click here to read the letter I wrote to Jim Sanderson and City Council.

It is very surprising that Leslie Schluter continues to defend CCSD’s contention that 1,000+ residential units in Orchard Station would only produce 25 students or 2 students per grade.  I asked CCSD multiple times for the calculations they used to arrive at the 25 total students in articles they wrote for the GV Newsletter and Denver Post.  CCSD’s final response was, “we did not maintain those records”.

CCSD - We did not maintain the records - 06-01-17

Councilwoman Schluter and Alberta tried to discredit me by comparing my knowledge to that of the superintendent.  However, I didn’t come up with my own methodology for projecting student enrollment.  I simply applied the District’s standard formula to the number of residential units that had been discussed by Alberta and Century for their proposed Orchard Station developments.

CCSD validated the approach in a recent “will-serve letter” prepared for Century Communities’ Landmark Village development application in Orchard Station.  Click here to read the CCSD letter and enrollment projection calculations (pg 5) and other CCSD will-serve letters, including Marvella.

The Landmark Village letter projects 85 students from Century Communities and 1,000 units from Alberta would generate 195 students.  This is eleven-times more than CCSD stated Orchard Station would generate and ignores all of the additional residential development that feeds the West side of the District.

Tom Bishop and Leslie Schluter want you to believe that they were pushing Orchard Station for the traffic benefits.  In one example, they along with Miklin, Jones, Gordon and six P&Z Commissioners published a letter during the June 6 campaign that stated,

“Orchard & I-25 – as distinct from the interchange areas of Belleview and Arapahoe — can be improved without involving the federal government. This is because capacity can be gained without I-25 bridge reconstruction.” (emphasis added).  Click here to see quote on pg. 4.

This completely contradicts the 2011 GV Traffic Study that said regarding Orchard & I-25, “Improvements needed for intersection capacity would require extensive bridge reconstruction and right-of-way acquisition. Improvements would need to be part of a coordinated interchange reconstruction with the Colorado Department of Transportation.” (emphasis added).  Click here to see quote on pg. v.

Schluter and Bishop want everyone to rely on the “experts” and “trust them”, but as soon as someone points out a factual inconsistency or questions the assumptions, Ms. Schluter and Mr. Bishop believe they need to discredit the person and deflect from the actual arguments and concerns.  Maybe if they had listened to the residents, the city would be much less divided than it is today.

Thanks for reading – Randy

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