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Rezoning would allow offices to be built on lowered knoll south of Fillmore Street

       A flat-topped knoll near the top of Fillmore Hill - popular with trespassing dirt-bikers - could be noticeably lowered sometime in the future, when plans for office development there come to fruition.
       Visible from Fillmore Street, it's on a 10.8-acre site owned by Camelrock Holdings LLC about a quarter-mile south of Fillmore, just west of an
Lowered in height by 25 to 30 feet, this flat- topped knoll would have room for 4.4 acres of office space, based on a recently approved rezoning and concept plan and a proposed grading plan by Camelrock Holdings LLC for the site south of Fillmore Street and west of Centennial Boulevard. The vertical dirt gashes reveal popular routes used by off-road vehicles. The photo looks south from Centennial across the neighboring 36.1-acre property that Camelrock also owns.
Westside Pioneer photo
unfinished portion of Centennial Boulevard and roughly catty-corner from the Veterans Affairs (VA) Lindstrom Clinic that opened last year.
       City Council approved a rezoning request for the site in early June, after Planning Commission, meeting in April, OK'd a concept plan and recommended the rezone.
       There is no intent to start construction right away, according to developer Don Hare with Camelrock. But he described the approved plans as a step in that direction, “so when we do it [build] we can do it properly.”
       Camelrock owns both the 10.8-acre site and the 36.1-acre parcel just north of it, at the southwest corner of Fillmore and Centennial, directly across from Lindstrom. The 10.8 acres had been owned by Pueblo Bank and Trust. Camelrock closed on the purchase after the rezoning went through, Hare said.
       The LLC has announced no plans for the 36.1-acre site. It is not even zoned, according to the County Assessor's website, although in the 2-by-3-mile Garden of the Gods Club Master Plan (which it's part of), the acreage is suggested mainly for commercial uses.
       The concept plan shows where
The Camelrock Holdings/NES concept plan for the top of the knoll shows 10.8 acres in all, with 4.4 acres in the middle that could be developed for offices, based on the recently approved zoning change. The remainder of the site, as shown in the graphic, would not be built on. The large arrow represents the suggested access to the site through the 36.1-acre parcel that Camelrock also owns just to the north. Topographical markings give an idea of the steepness of the slopes and the height of the knoll.
Courtesy of NES and Camelrock Holdings
“office/medical office” could be built on 4.4 acres in the central part of the 10.8-acre site. The hilly land remaining on either side (to the west and east) would be set aside as “no build areas,” the plan shows.
       The knoll stands about 50 feet high currently, with fairly steep sides and a plateau on top. Grading plans have not been finalized, but to create 4.4 acres of buildable land and to make that area more accessible, the knoll will need to be shaved to at least half its current height, according to interviews with Hare and Andrea Barlow of the NES land-planning company.
       Cut-and-fill is the basic strategy, Hare explained, with the dirt from the knoll being moved to a low area on the Camelrock property to the north. He compared it to “taking a butter knife at the toe of the slope and slicing through there.”
       Barlow estimated the height reduction as “about 25 to 30 feet.” Hare predicted that about 200,000 yards of dirt would have to be moved.
       After the fill work is done, a public road - starting from Centennial north of the 36.1-acre parcel - would be built across it and up what's left of the knoll, Hare said.
       Before council's action, the southerly site had two zones, both of which included a hillside overlay (limiting development options on slopes) and a “condition of record” (requiring a plan to restore with native grasses the areas denuded by the off-road vehicle use).
       The new zone is Office Complex. Both the Planning Commission and City Council agreed to remove the condition and the overlay in response to an appeal from Camelrock/NES and a recommendation from Lonna Thelen of City Land Use Review.
       "The area that is proposed for development
With a surveying stake in the foreground, the photo looks north from the top of the knoll. In the distance can be seen Fillmore Street, the 36.1 acre property that's also owned by Camelrock Holdings, Centennial Boulevard and, at far right, part of the Lindstrom Veterans Affairs Clinic.
Westside Pioneer photo
contains the majority of the area that has been used for off-road vehicle use, therefore eliminating the need for restoration of native grasses and the condition of record,” Thelen's written analysis states.
       Regarding the overlay, she cites a geologic hazard report paid for by Camelrock and reviewed by the Colorado Geologic Survey (CGS): “The review from CGS has noted that CGS does not object to the approval of the concept plan for commercial development as long as conservative setbacks are required from slopes, a geologic hazard report is submitted with the future development plan, and grading and erosion control and drainage reports are submitted with development plan submittals.”
       NES' Project Justification, submitted with the Camelrock application, elaborates that the “subject site has already been disturbed by landfill activities and many of the steeper slopes in the area are not naturally occurring.” The document does concede that there are a “few conditions that contribute to the hillside character,” but points out that these are in the places set aside for preservation in the concept plan.
       Thelen's analysis also agrees with the developer that the proposed office complex use is “compatible with the surrounding residential uses to the south and office and commercial uses to the north.”
       In the past 10 years, the area around the Fillmore/Centennial intersection has gone from being open land to sporting several office buildings (predominantly health-oriented) and the Grandview Market Place commercial center that includes King Soopers.
       Additionally, Penrose-St. Francis has recently submitted a proposal that could result in a 12-story hospital on the northeast side of Fillmore and Centennial. See Westside Pioneer article.
       During the Planning Commission/City Council process on the 10.8-acre parcel, no opposition surfaced, Hare pointed out. Also, in being heard by each of those entities, the Camelrock application was approved as part of the “consent” portion of the agenda, which is reserved for non-controversial items.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 6/29/15; Land: Proposals)

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