A proposed mixed-use development that would encompass dozens of acres just north of Town Center North in Highlands Ranch has gained the approval of the Douglas County Planning Commission.
Shea Properties' Central Park now awaits approval from the Board of County Commissioners in August. Plans call for the land to be used for retail, recreation, office and medical buildings, and single- and multi-family homes. The planning commission unanimously approved zoning changes for the development at its July 6 meeting.
Much of the property was previously zoned “grazing agriculture.” The parcels approved for rezoning are part of nearly 100 acres eyed for the project; Shea owns about 57 acres, and an additional 40 would be leased from the city of Englewood, pending the approval of a November ballot measure by Englewood voters.
Rick Owens, chairman of the Highlands Ranch Metro District Board of Directors, expressed support for the project during the meeting, saying it “looks like it's going to be a positive economic development.”
Shea sought input and received support from numerous entities, which it documented in a presentation to the planning commission. Among those groups was the Colorado Division of Water Resources. It found an adequate water supply is available.
John Kaufman, general manager of the local provider, the Centennial Water and Sanitation District, spoke in support of the project during public testimony to the board.
“With the planned community and the number of vested fees that is incorporated into our overall planning, we're fully capable of meeting all of our water supply needs and the wastewater flow needs,” Kaufman said. “The wastewater treatment plant, which is the Marcy Gulch plant, is fully capable of handling all of the wastewater flows for this new development and is also incorporated in our plans.”
Shea also sought approval from the Douglas County School District, in mind of the 18 neighboring schools, and garnered backing.
Others lending support, according to the presentation, include Douglas County planning and zoning staff, the Highlands Ranch Community Association, the Highlands Ranch Metro District, Highlands Ranch Parks and Open Spaces, traffic consultants and engineers, the Regional Transportation District and numerous neighborhoods.
Peter Culshaw, executive vice president for Shea Properties, said the intent of the project would be to design everything collaboratively with the community and create something special.
“I think we've done a good job of outreach to the stakeholders and neighborhoods adjacent to folks,” he said.
Planning commission board member Dave Simonson asked Culshaw if the single-family homes he has in mind are similar to what are being built on the east side of Highlands Ranch.
“No, the intent would be to develop a new lot,” Culshaw said. “I think it would be a dense area with price points that are affordable … We're going to develop a new product for this.”
With a 5-0 vote, board members had plenty of good things to say about the proposal.
Pam Schenck Kelly was first to speak.
“This all looks great,” she said. “You know, Highlands Ranch never ceases to amaze me as long as I have worked on and off the planning committee commission. We barely have to think because you guys check off all of those boxes. I'll be supporting this.”
Simonson was also in favor.
“I work and live in the area, and that area has been a point of conversation for a number of years, and I'm sure everyone in this room who has been involved with it knows that. I'm very excited to see it move forward and I'm in support as well,” he said.
Joseph Procopio was captivated by the project.
“I want to say that I'm impressed. I'm not from Highlands Ranch, I'm from Castle Rock, but this sure looks like a nice development, and I give you a lot of credit for what you're doing,” he said.
Representatives from Shea Properties were not available for comment regarding questions about total projected cost of the development or length of time for construction.
The Douglas County commissioners will hold a hearing in Castle Rock on Aug. 11 concerning approval of the development.