Gold Hill postpones requests to city
Residents complain about communication, townhome emphasis

       Taken aback by recent concerns from home owners in his development, Gold Hill Mesa leader Bob Willard apologized to them at a neighborhood meeting Aug. 16 for a lack of communication and, as part of that, announced a postponement of two sets of construction-related applications to the city.

Bob Willard (left) talks to property owners in his Gold Hill Mesa development after hearing critcism at a neighborhood meeting Aug. 17.
Westside Pioneer photo

       “It was totally my fault,” he told the group. “I'm going to take the heat for it.”
       He promised in the future to hold advance meetings with the neighborhood on any plans he expects to file with the city.
       About 75 people attended the gathering in the development's community center. Many of their issues involve the new concept plan proposal for the 210-acre development off South 21st Street. Neighbors argued that the plan shows more townhomes and fewer single-family homes than the previously approved concept plan in 2004.
       Residents were also upset at Gold Hill developers for not sharing their plans; the apparent townhome focus only became known when the city sent postcards to the surrounding neighborhood about the application to replat 7 single-family lots on a block of Favorite Street into 12 townhome lots. Ensuing neighborhood research revealed that the new concept plan additionally calls for townhomes instead of single-family on the other side of that street as well.
       “Where do the townhomes stop?” one resident asked.
       The main complaints were that increasing multifamily would devalue the development, increase density and generally alter the type of neighborhood that people had thought they were getting when they invested in homes there.
       Willard and planning consultant Tim Seibert of the NES company did not have answers as to a percentage increase of townhome lots from the '04 concept plan. Seibert said he would research that for a follow-up neighborhood meeting, to be scheduled in about three weeks; he also said that the new concept plan would be reconsidered in light of the neighborhood questions. However, he emphasized, the Gold Hill Mesa development team has no intent of overdoing townhome construction; the only caveats, he added, are that the project's Traditional Neighborhood Develop-ment zone encourages higher densities and in difficult economic times builders need some flexibility in responding to market demands.
       The Favorite Street application, which was submitted in July and could have been simply approved by a City Land Use Review official, is separate from an application including seven requests that was submitted in February, approved by Planning Commission in July and scheduled for the Aug. 23 City Council meeting. Both applications are on hold until the neighborhood concerns are dealt with, according to Willard.
       He explained that part of the communication issue stemmed from the many years the development team labored with few if any residents, so they got used to tweaking plans without internal review. “It was a small, cozy group for a long time,” he said. Even now slightly more than 100 households exist in Gold Hill Mesa, out of an eventual expectation of about 1,000.
       In addition to a revised concept plan, the application with seven requests seeks council approvals to let Gold Hill create a permanent entrance road to the subdivision from 21st Street at what is now Villa de Mesa Drive, start building homes on part of a revised Filing 3 near the existing Villa de Mesa subdivision and expand Gold Hill's commercial zone four acres farther east along the south side of Fountain Creek.
       Planning Commission's approvals of the concept plan and a Filing 3 development plan off 21st Street have already been appealed by Villa de Mesa homeowners. Their claim is that Gold Hill Mesa had promised about five years ago to build a wall around their enclave, and even though no time frame was ever agreed on, the wall should have been completed by now.

Westside Pioneer article