#City & Town Planning
Town of Castle Rock, Colorado
United States of America

A preliminary project application has been received by the Town of Castle Rock's Development Services Department to annex and subdivide the 113 acres of privately-owned land located just east of the protected and dedicated Memmen Ridge open space in Castle Rock, Colorado. If the application is successful, the entirety of the open space would be destroyed to install 431 single-family and townhomes on the land.

The open space as it exists now is natural and supports species indigenous to Colorado such as wild grasses, scrub oak, a variety of pine, coyotes, deer, birds of prey, bats, rabbits, snakes, frogs, a large prairie dog community, bears, and innumerable types of birds. The grasses are maintained by free-grazing cattle (owned by the Derek/Donald J. Memmen) who balance the thriving ecosystem, all of which would be annihilated by the proposed development.

Additional effects of the proposed development would include:

(1) The loss of the protection and security enjoyed by the Valley House retirement community and South Ridge Elementary School, as well as the opportunity for South Ridge's students to continue enjoy exploring the Memmen open spaces as part of each grade's annual field trips
(2) The inconvenience and noise pollution to be forced on existing surrounding neighborhoods (most notably, Memmen South and Glovers neighborhoods)
(3) The inevitable imbalance and destruction of the balanced ecosystem in the area, upon which the existing drainage systems and storm water easements rely
(4) The encroachment of too-dense development on some of the oldest, quietest streets in Castle Rock, resulting in the destruction of the "small town" culture that town representatives (including Mayor Jason Gray) have promised to uphold
(5) The forced relocation of the animals who live in the open space into existing neighborhoods, increasing the risk of danger to domestic animals by predators that currently thrive on natural prey in the wild land
(6) The loss of one of the last remaining wild spaces within the heart of Castle Rock

While development may be inevitable, the City of Castle Rock has committed to its residents the preservation of wild and open space lands WITHIN CITY LIMITS. It is not acceptable to relegate protected lands only to the outskirts of the town. Doing so minimizes access to such lands and their benefits (i.e. biodiversity, hiking trails, flora-provided oxygen) to the Town's residents. The Memmen lands are one of the last remaining opportunities for Castle Rock to take action against overdevelopment and preserve the pockets of peace and quiet that remain.

We ask that the application as written be rejected until such time that plans are amended to more responsibly consider the Town's responsibility to its current residents and wildlife. To ensure RESPONSIBLE development, the land southeast of the existing Memmen Ridge Open Space should be expanded to include the streambed traveling west from Valley House, limiting any future development from going any further than Valley Drive, once it is lengthened to connect to Plum Creek Parkway. In addition, new development must maintain a 150 feet border of open space between new homes and old neighborhoods to preserve the animal trails used by existing fauna.

We, the undersigned, call on the Town of Castle Rock to reject the preliminary project application submitted by Greg Saia on behalf of the Toll Brothers development company to annex and develop the vacant S. Memmen parcel along Valley Drive north of Plum Creek Parkway and Baldwin Park Estates in the Town of Castle Rock as written.

We petition Development Services Department of Castle Rock, Colorado to expand the existing and protected Memmen Ridge Open Space to include the natural and wild lands up to Valley Drive, as it would extend to connect to Plum Creek Parkway.

We demand that as the process of annexation of the land parcel in question proceeds, for a minimum of 150 feet of natural land remain undeveloped between the new development and existing neighborhoods (Memmen South and Glovers) as well as major roadways (Plum Creek Parkway).

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The STOP Memmen Trails Residential Development Project petition to Town of Castle Rock, Colorado was written by Jennifer McElroy Reed and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.