By now, many Greenwood Village voters should have received mail-in ballots for the city’s June 6 special election that will decide the fate of the Orchard Station Subarea Plan.
The proposed amendment to the city’s comprehensive plan has been a flashpoint for controversy in the city in recent months. If approved by voters, the plan — written to guide future land use decisions, not as a precursor to any specific project — would make it clear that mix-used development of varying densities should be sought for a 44-acre special planning district centered on the Orchard Station light rail stop west of Interstate 25. The area is now home to a handful of office buildings.
The first ballots were delivered to voters this week and the last of them should reach mailboxes by Monday. With just a few weeks for voters to make up their minds, YourHub this week is closing its three-part Q&A story series examining some of the core issues in the Orchard Station Subarea debate. Over the last two weeks, we asked plan supporters and plan opponents to share their thoughts on how the plan might impact schools in the city and what it could mean for local traffic. This week, we asked, How might the character of Greenwood Village be changed if denser, mixed-use development is allowed at Orchard Station? Responses are edited for length and clarity.
For the better.
John Herbers is the president and CEO of the DTC/Greenwood Village Chamber of Commerce. He has lived in Greenwood Village for nearly a decade. He lives in the Landmark high-rise condos located just north of Orchard Station and is president of the Landmark homeowners association.
As development occurs through the southeast corridor, today the (Denver) Tech Center and Greenwood Village are primarily drive-through cities. Many people go to work here but don’t live here, creating a drive-through model that increases traffic and increases load on streets. You can’t build enough infrastructure to build your way out of it.
For Greenwood Village to be more self-sustaining, more a place to live, work and play, it needs to adopt a new vision that includes all the elements of mixed use. That means creating a place where you can walk or ride your bike to work, you can use public transportation and you can live, work and play in the same community.
By having communities like the Landmark you actually cut down on traffic and improve the lifestyle and amenities for the residents by having higher density and mixed use. This is born out by a study done by consultant for the cities which shows the average household in the Landmark has an average of four car trips per day, where a single-family house in the has 11.
The most exciting aspect of this subarea redevelopment is it is the ideal location for the more dense, live, work, play development. It is along I-25 and parallels the light rail at Orchard Station and other public transportation.
It will change the character of Greenwood Village in terms that it will help make it much more of a community with a community center. It will help drive development that will make the Tech Center and Greenwood Village more than just a drive through.
For the worse.
Steve Moran represents District 3 on the Greenwood Village City Council. He moved to the city in 1997 and served as vice president of the Sundance Hills HOA, and on the city’s parks, trails, and recreation commission, board of adjustments and appeals, and planning & zoning commission before being elected to City Council in 2015.
When I think about my 20 years living in Greenwood Village, I think of a peaceful suburban community. I picture Greenwood Village Day where families gather to watch the fireworks, the Fishing Derby where the mayor serves you pancakes, the holiday tree lighting with school-age carolers, or the fall festival with pumpkin carving. In short, I picture a celebration of family and neighborhood friendships, all brought together by a Village that fosters consistency and continuity of these neighbors and friends; in short, a Village that builds a sense of community. My friends, my community, create an unparalleled support structure. In times of need, my neighbors help out; if they need help, I return the favor. We give, and give back, sustaining a value system where we are proud to raise our children, and grow our lifelong friendships.
We are now forced to imagine a Village where these neighbors and friends change over more frequently. Adding large tower buildings and 1,000 apartments adds a transient, impersonal nature to the Village. It has the potential to destroy that sense of pride, ownership and community. Voting No on the referendum isn’t about an old way of thinking, it’s about being true to things that are timeless.