#Planning & Zoning, Transportation
Evergreen, Colorado, U.S.A.

The historic rural character and publicly-funded community resources of the El Rancho, Colorado, neighborhood are threatened by a large proposed commercial development. A private individual wants to demolish what we as a community have built and used for decades. Residents would bear the long-term costs and burden of the proposed changes forever, and thus far have had no voice in this process. This petition is an opportunity to support a community counterproposal: keep our existing Community Use, separate commercial and residential traffic, and mitigate impacts to our quality of life.

The El Rancho, Colorado, neighborhood is an historic crossroads at I-70 exit 252. Its rural character embodies a century of decision-making by people who have recognized and valued the historic and scenic qualities of this location.

A large commercial development has been proposed at El Rancho for land between Hwy 40 and I-70, west of Hwy 74. The rezoning application process began in the spring of 2021.

While the majority of the development footprint is on private land already zoned for commercial use, the developer also seeks to annex CDOT-owned right-of-way and A-2 land between Hwy 74 and I-70 through rezoning. Along with demolishing community assets built on that land, the proposed commercial development seeks to appropriate and relocate the public, residential Rainbow Hill Road to become its commercial main street.

The greatest potential impacts to the El Rancho community stem from the proposed annexation and appropriation of these public resources.

• The public transportation facilities (Park-n-Ride and Genesee Bike Path) and emergency services (Foothills Fire Department and Alpine Rescue Team) sited on CDOT-owned land reflect decades of community-oriented strategic planning and investment. Proposed substitutes for these facilities in the developer’s plan would be fragmented and inferior to the centrally located and convenient area dedicated to Community Use that exists today.

• In combination with vastly increased commercial traffic brought by the development, the proposed relocation of Rainbow Hill Road would dramatically multiply the number of interactions between disparate types of road users, while forcing residents to follow a permanent quarter-mile detour. The relocation of this road to serve this proposed commercial development represents an undue and entirely extraneous burden for the residents of this neighborhood.

Community Use is allowed and encouraged by the Jefferson County Comprehensive Master Plan. El Rancho already has and uses these resources that are now threatened by the proposed development. Ensuring that these built assets are preserved, impacts to resident safety and quality of life are minimized, and the publicly-owned land is excluded from the proposed development is the focus of this community counterproposal.

Read the full text (8 pages with illustrations) here: https://tinyurl.com/3n9wvfs6

Community counterproposal:

1. Any proposed commercial development should occur on the privately-owned C-1 parcels only and adhere to the guidelines of the Evergreen Area Plan.
2. Any proposed commercial development should create independent access from Hwy 40 regulated by a new traffic circle opposite the existing El Rancho Building business area.
3. Other transportation safety improvements should be implemented as discussed, including raised lane dividers, sidewalks and crosswalks, and emergency vehicle signaling.
4. Public transportation facilities and emergency services sited on CDOT-owned land should remain as Community Use.
5. Rainbow Hill Road should remain a residential road and bicycle route separate from the proposed commercial development.

Please join your neighbors to support keeping Community Use at El Rancho and opposing developer overreach.

This petition with its signatures and comments through 10/10/2022 has been submitted to the Colorado Department of Transportation. Thank you to all who have signed! The petition will remain active until the public comment period for the development proposal opens at the County level, and then will be submitted to Jefferson County Planning and Zoning and the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners.

UPDATE 5/7/2023: Facing obstacles from the community, the County rezoning process, water board, fire department, and CDOT, the developer withdrew his rezoning application in April 2023. This effectively limits potential development to the private land only ('1' on the map). Access and uses remain open questions that we will be following. Thank you again for your support of the petition to let the agencies know of the community's opposition to the original proposal!!

Thank you.

The Keep El Rancho Community Use petition to 100 was written by Save El Rancho Campaign and is in the category Planning & Zoning, Transportation at GoPetition.