Save the Quality of Life in Arvada Colorado's Neighborhoods

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This petition is asking the Arvada City Government leaders to postpone approval of high density developments until a comprehensive traffic study coordinated with Wheat Ridge, Jefferson County and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is completed and which would support the city’s ability to handle the anticipated increased traffic patterns, and to adhere to their own code guidelines stating the need for compatibility of adjacent neighborhoods. 

Arvada is traditionally known for its family orientation and quality of life style.  However local government officials have apparently decided they want that to change.  While we are a ‘government of the people, by the people and for the people’ our city government appears to not be listening to its residents. Instead, the city government is listening to the wishes of RTD and DRCOG by promoting the development of an overwhelming number of medium and high density residential units in an effort to force more people to use commuter rail, which could threaten our quality of life as residents of Arvada (known as TODs – transit oriented development).  The city is promoting higher density developments without a plan to accommodate a higher traffic volume, thereby clogging the roads even more and making travel times even longer.  

The city’s comprehensive development plan appears to ignore the reason why people live here in the first place.  Our city has a wonderful suburban outdoors culture and family oriented lifestyle.  It is foolish to believe high density housing will eliminate automobile and bus transportation nor will it reduce the number of recreational vehicles to take advantage of the Rocky Mountains to ski, camp, and travel and take advantage of other outdoor activities.

There is a need for multi- family housing, however, only promoting community infill developments that are medium and/or high density housing is misguided for all residents of Arvada.  Rather than listening to and representing the needs of Arvada citizens, these efforts to promote high density housing will only infringe upon the quality of life within existing communities and decrease property values.  The current plan is not compatible with existing neighborhoods and risks the reduction of the quality of life for current residents.  Compressing more people into less space penalizes Arvada residents, putting them into an increasingly crowded and restrictive environment, and will only serve to aggravate existing traffic problems, increase crime, and overcrowd our already crowded schools.

 Randal O’Toole (rot@i2i.org) is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute, director of the Independence Institute’s transportation policy center, and author of The Best-Laid Plans: How Government Planning Harms Your Quality of Life, Your Pocketbook, and Your Future. He writes:

“There are several problems with imposing TODs by top-down mandates. First, most people don’t want to live that way. Some do, but the market for those who do was probably met by Denver’s Lower Downtown (LoDo) and other existing dense neighborhoods. So, to persuade developers to build unmarketable TODs, Denver and other cities have to subsidize them.

Second, TODs are expensive. Despite claims that TODs provide greener, more affordable housing, multifamily housing not only costs more per square foot, the Department of Energy reports that it uses more energy per square foot than single-family, probably because landlords have less of an incentive to insulate rental properties than homeowners. The only way TODs are affordable and green is if people live in smaller condos or apartments than the single-family homes they would otherwise prefer.

Third, TODs aren’t really all that transit oriented. University of California, Irvine, economist David Brownstone has found that the reduction in driving from higher densities is “too small to be useful” in saving energy, while careful counts by Portland’s Cascade Policy Institute reveal that people who live in TODs are just as likely to drive, and just as unlikely to take transit, as they would be if they lived elsewhere. TODs actually increase congestion because they concentrate more people on busy arterials.

In short, TODs are a counterproductive hoax urban planners are playing on residents of the Denver area. Taxpayers first pay huge subsidies to build rail transit. Then they subsidize TODs along the rail lines. Then those who get stuck living in TODs must sacrifice living space, privacy, and peace and quiet all to get the supposed advantage of living near the stop of a train that doesn’t go where they want to go, so they end up driving anyway.

 This petition is asking the Arvada City Government leaders to postpone approval of high density developments until a comprehensive traffic study coordinated with Wheat Ridge, Jefferson County and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is completed and which would support the city’s ability to handle the anticipated increased traffic patterns, and to adhere to their own code guidelines stating the need for compatibility of adjacent neighborhoods. 

 PETITION TO SAVE ARVADA NEIGHBORHOODS

 There are currently MANY multi-unit developments scheduled to be built in and around the Arvada Rainbow Ridge (ARR), Skyline Estates (SE), and Valley at Rainbow Ridge (VRR) neighborhoods, pending approval of the Arvada City Council.  There are approximately 2,700 new units currently under construction or planned for development surrounding our neighborhoods including but not limited to:o  Haskins Station (Ridge Road & Quail Street between Rainbow Ridge and Skyline Estates)

 ·        Haskins Station (Ridge Road & Quail Street between Rainbow Ridge and Skyline Estates)     535 multi-family and single-family units

 ·        Hance Ranch (Southwest corner of West 52nd Avenue and Tabor Street)        250 multi-family apartments and 80 townhomes

·        Timberline Farms (West 58th Avenue and Tabor Street)     318 multi-family and single family units

·        Sabelle Subdivision (nursery area East of Ward Rd & North of Valley at Rainbow Ridge)     209 multi-family and single family units

 REASONS TO OPPOSE PLANNED DEVELOPMENT:

 ·        Density – Development that occurs adjacent to existing developed areas should complement the character of the existing neighborhoods.  A multi-family medium density development is not compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods. 

·        Inconsistencies with the Comprehensive Development Plan – Pursuant to the Comprehensive Development Plan concerning redevelopment and infill, the overall scale, size, and setbacks of new buildings should be similar to or compatible with those found on adjacent properties.  See Comprehensive Development Plan, Chapter 2 Grown and Economic Development, page 33.  Accordingly, the current development plan would be inconsistent with Arvada’s Comprehensive Development Plan.

·        Quality of Life and Property Values – The current development plan would increase traffic through the neighborhoods, increase crime, and overburden our public school systems, which would impact our current quality of life and property values.

·        Traffic Congestion – Ridge Road, Tabor Street, and West 52nd Avenue between Ward Road and Tabor Street are main arteries for much of the proposed developments.  They are narrow two lane roads with no room to add lanes.  Traffic is already congested feeding onto Ward Road, 44th Avenue and I-70.  Development should be delayed until there is a regional comprehensive study and plan involving Arvada, Wheat Ridge and CDOT to mitigate the additional traffic.  CDOT currently has no plans to improve congestion along Ward Road.

 As homeowners of Arvada Rainbow Ridge, Skyline Estates, and Valley at Rainbow Ridge we formally oppose any medium and high density development of this land.  We firmly believe that the land use that would be most appropriate and compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods would be to maintain the suburban residential zoning designations.

 

 

 



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