Home Page

Industrial zoning reduced for property northeast of Fillmore & Centennial

       Reflecting the increasing urbanization north of Fillmore Street off Centennial Boulevard, 26 ½ acres in that area are no longer zoned for industry.
       City Council approved the changes this fall for a 51-acre parcel called Centennial East. Part of the huge Hill Properties/Garden of the Gods Club Master Plan, the property fronts roughly a third of a mile on the east side of Centennial Boulevard, north from the Fillmore intersection.
       On the opposite (west) side of Centennial is a business center that opened 11 years ago. It includes the Grand View Market Place and Grand View Commons projects, and a King Soopers serves as the anchor store.
       Council also approved requests for a master-plan amendment and a concept plan identifying the types of uses envisioned for the three zones on 42 3/4 acres of Centennial East. A commercial zone already exists for the other 8 1/4 acres.
       However, no development is planned in the near future. “We're just setting the stage for some interest we've had in the project area,” said
Part of the undeveloped, 51-acre Centennial East property northeast of Centennial Boulevard and Fillmore Street is seen in a view from an upper floor of the VA Clinic south of Fillmore. Photo looks northwest. Fillmore is in the foreground. The pile of sand at lower far right is associated with the asphalt batch operation that's just north of Fillmore and south of the easterly portion of Centennial East. Medical buildings along the west side of Centennial are in the background. At upper far right is an apartment complex, located just north of Centennial East. City Council recently approved a rezoning that changes 26 1/2 acres of industrial zoning on Centennial East to office or commercial zoning. However, no development plans are in the works.
Westside Pioneer photo
Tim Seibert, head of the NES planning company, which represents the property owner, Turtle Creek Grand View Office LLC. “There's been lots of talk, but nothing that we're ready to move forward with as far as construction is concerned.”
       The 26 ½ acres are now zoned for either commercial or office uses. The changes also affect more than 1,000 feet of frontage on the east side of Centennial, roughly between Grand Market Point on the west side and the place where (going north) the street starts down the hill toward Holland Park. The north half (approximately) of that frontage is now zoned office and the southern half commercial.
       As for the frontage from Grand Market Point south to Fillmore - more than 500 feet in length - it was previously zoned commercial and remains so.
       The main intent of rezoning the 26 1/2 acres of industrial was to ensure that development, when it does occur, will be “more compatible with the multifamily to the north,” reads the NES Project Description. Also, “The proximity of the site to other commercial uses to the west of Centennial Boulevard and its accessibility to residential areas will benefit the general welfare, safety and convenience of persons residing or working in the neighborhood.”
       Supporting the compatibility contention is a city-staff analysis led by Lonna Thelen of Land Use Review. It includes the statement: “Since the original [Hill Properties] master plan was created, the properties surrounding the site have developed as residential to the north, commercial and office to the west and an asphalt batch plant to the
Centennial East's full 51 acres, as seen in the parcel map on the El Paso County Assessor's website. The history of landslides (note "Landslide Open Space" just north of the property) must be taken into account in any future development plans, according to a stipulation in City Council's vote to approve a recent rezoning of part of the site.
Courtesy of El Paso County Assessor's Office
south. The east side of the property has developed along Fillmore Ridge Heights with multiple light-industrial and industrial users.”
       Because of the latter proximity, the east side of Centennial East retains its industrial zoning - 13 ½ of the 51 total acres.
       The rezoning also sets aside as open space 2 ¾ acres that are on steeply sloped terrain well away from the road.
       The concept plan limits the number of permitted uses within each zone as follows (quotes from the Project Description):
       Office - "Administrative, professional and personal services to include professional offices, financial services, retirement home, human service facilities, medical offices, communication services and day-care services."
        Commercial - "Neighborhood commercial uses to include retail sales and services, restaurants, financial services, personal services, liquor sales and pharmacy."
       Industrial - "Professional offices, administrative services, research and development, manufacturing, warehousing and light industry."
        Although the Centennial East requests went through Land Use Review, Planning Commission and City Council without major controversy, some concerns were raised by citizens about landslide problems in the area. The council approval requires that “a note be placed on the plan to ensure a geologic hazard report was required with each development plan within the concept plan area,” according to the city analysis.
       Formed 12 years ago, the Turtle Creek ownership documentation shows Don Hare as its “registered agent” on the Secretary of State website. His Hare Group company was previously involved in planning the shopping center on the west side of Fillmore. Interviewed by the Westside Pioneer in 2007, he said a goal in the planning of that center was to avoid “big box” development and minimize traffic problems.
       Dating back to when much of the Mesa was owned by a single family, the Hill Properties/Garden of the Gods Club master plan covers an area of about 2 by 3 miles, including developed and undeveloped properties, roughly bounded by Garden of the Gods Road, 30th Street, Centennial Boulevard and Fillmore Street.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 1/4/15; Land: Development Issues)

Would you like to respond to this article? The Westside Pioneer welcomes letters at editor@westsidepioneer.com. (Click here for letter-writing criteria.)