Shea almost done with commitments to Highlands Ranch

Public-use plot, park space are only sites left to convey

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Shea Homes has completed all but two of its longstanding commitments to the community of Highlands Ranch.

With only a single plot left to convey for public use near Town Center, 198 acres of park space left to convey to the metro district, and most of the commercial and residential development done, the community is 94 percent built out.

What the remaining public-use plot — located across from Ridgeline Boulevard from Civic Center Park, just north of the Park-n-Ride parking lot — will look like remains to be seen, said Steve Ormiston, vice president of planning for Shea Homes.

“The master plan for the town center included a variety of uses,” he said. “It was the Park-n-Ride that RTD operates, the library, Civic Green Park, and there was one piece of ground set aside for public community use.”

One of the things that had been envisioned for that space was a performing arts center, he said, but after the Enhance the Ranch vote to fund a center with tax revenue was shot down in 2002, Parker and Lone Tree both took similar projects to the polls and have since given Douglas County a pair of arts centers, making it less likely that Highlands Ranch will get one.

“There is currently no activity on that space,” Ormiston said. “It will eventually be conveyed to somebody for some form of public service.”

Ormiston, who presented an annual update on the community to the Douglas County commissioners July 9, said that to date the company has conveyed a total of 12,702 acres of land for open space. That land has been given in part to the county, the Highlands Ranch Community Association and the Highlands Ranch Metro District.

“We anticipate that perhaps next year we will convey the final increment, bringing that grand total of conveyance to 12,900 acres as anticipated in 1979 when Mission Viejo first drew up the master plan,” he said.

That final increment is located west of Mountain Vista High School, east of the BackCountry Homes Development and south of Wildcat Reserve Parkway. Ormiston said it will likely be treated like the rest of the open space that runs throughout the community, with a possibility of some trails going in, but that it will be up to the metro district to decide what to do with it once it is conveyed.