City of Arvada facing lawsuit over Park Place Olde Town

On March, 3, representatives of Save Arvada Now presented the Arvada City Council with a draft Complaint and Request for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief.  The complaint is based on three issues, explained by SAN member Nancy Young in her comments to the Council.

  1. First, you are violating the State law on eminent domain, which clearly states that land taken MUST be used for a PUBLIC purpose. Arvada intends to transfer land, taken under eminent domain, to the developer of the 5-story, non-conforming rental apartment building for the sole use of the renters as a parking lot – clearly a private purpose!

  2. Second, imagine the citizens’ surprise when a public meeting suddenly became a public hearing regarding destruction of the historic Arvada Masonic Lodge. The invitation to this meeting specifically stated that the meeting was NOT a public hearing. This subterfuge clearly violates the intent and rules governing public hearings.

  3. Third, a “revocable permit for encroachment” on McIlvoy Park is awaiting Council’s final action.  This encroachment would make a portion of our park unusable to the public by replacing grass with cement sidewalks for the private use of the renters. Such a permit violates a restrictive covenant contained in Mrs. McIlvoy’s deed: the land is for the use of the public as a park.

To see the complaint, click here.  To see Nancy Young’s full comments, click  here. Watch Save Arvada Now’s  video to see what this five story modern concrete apartment building will look like in Olde Town.  And while you are at it, please donate to assist us with our legal costs.



Save Arvada Now Publishes New Video

Take a look at what a difference Park Place Olde Town will make to the charm and ambience of charming, historic Olde Town Arvada!

Please Donate to help us fight to preserve Olde Town

It has become clear to us that we will not be able to make a difference in preserving our city without legal help. Help us to make the most effective case we can that a five story, contemporary building must not be build in the midst of Arvada’s wonderful historic districts.

Save Arvada Now is a 501 (c) (4) non-profit corporation.  501 (c)(4) organizations are formed to “promote the common good and general welfare of the community”.  While 501(c)(4) organizations are eligible for tax exempt status, Save Arvada Now has not yet received notification of that status, so we cannot guarantee that this donation will be tax deductible.

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Over $1.2 million worth of property to be sold to developer for $10

Follow this link to see the Disposition and Development Agreement between AURA and the developer of Park Place Olde Town (PPOT)  AURA Park Place Olde Town Disposition and Devt Agreement

Pay particular attention to page 6, which sets the purchase price at $10, and Exhibits K and L.

  • Exhibit K, dated Nov. 20, 2012, lays out the deal and shows that it was done well before any public knowledge of it, and well before the revision of Arvada’s Design Guidelines for Olde Town
  • Exhibit L lays out the schedule for tax rebates.

Lots of other interesting stuff as well for those who like digging into legal documents.

After you read this, be sure to sign our petition.

Let Goldberg Properties know what you think. 

 Historic preservation of the Masonic Lodge, an important part of Arvada's history and a unique building in Colorado, is out the window, while AURA runs roughshod over our town.

Historic preservation of the Masonic Lodge, an  important part of Arvada’s history and a unique building in Colorado, is out the window, while AURA runs roughshod over our town.


Come rally with us EVERY SATURDAY, 10 to noon.

Rally will be on the corner of Wadsworth Bypass and Ralston, right by the Masonic Temple.

Afterwards we will picnic together in McIlvoy Park!

Please bring a brown bag lunch or food to share to the picnic.

Please note that the parking lots of the Masonic Lodge and Lions Club  are posted as private property.  Park there at your own risk.

SaveArvadaNowHelp us to save the city we love!

Guest post from our friend Jayme

This is my opinion but it seems with the beautiful build of the bridge across Wadsworth and its lovely walkways that it would make more sense to build these larger buildings in the area just south of Grandview on the east side of Wadsworth ByPass. Just down the hill from the tracks and the old houses there is an industrial type area that would still provide the close proximity to the Gold Line and still be separate enough from Olde Town Arvada to not interfere with its heritage and small town feel. Also that area would provide better access to major streets for those residents with vehicles without creating a large impact on the traffic flow in Olde Town. A form of denser housing rentals could be accomplished by implementing builds along the northern section of Ralston Rd.(58th) between Wadsworth Blvd. and Wadsworth ByPass by allowing developers to build store front buildings similar in design to those recently added to Olde Town itself. There are 2-3 older homes that could be sandwiched between these builds to further enhance the entrance to our old town area. There is also the undeveloped area where the old Arvada High School once resided (just to the west of Wadsworth ByPass and north of Ralston) that similar structures could be developed that are more apartment like but still applying that old town feel. I have seen several apartment complexes that have the appearance of a more home like structure. Again this area would be more accessible to traffic flow while still a fairly short walk to the train.

It seems to me that with 153 units I have no doubt that at least 50% or more of the tenants would own at least 1 vehicle and at least 50% or more of those tenants would own 2 vehicles. That means that PPOT parking would need to accommodate a minimum of 113 renter owned vehicles not to mention parking for any guests. I somehow doubt that the property is going to accommodate that many vehicles which means the overflow will be at the closest available parking spaces. Since I have heard that the city is considering placing 2 hr. parking signs in Olde Town that leaves the library and St. Anne’s parking lots. If those have 2 hr. parking restrictions as well that would restrict a lot of functions in Olde Town such as the August movie nights, folks doing research at the library and leisurely shopping in general just to mention a few.

I also wonder if the city is not truly considering the traffic impact on Olde Town exiting from Teller to Ralston heading east would be somewhat challenging and heading west on Ralston would be virtually impossible. Consequently most of the tenants and/or guests would be inclined to head south on Teller and merge with the traffic through Olde Town. Working on a presumption that 1/3 of the tenants do not work at a location that is easily accommodated by the light rail they would be driving their vehicles. This would add about 50 vehicles during morning and evening rush hour through the main streets of Olde Town or across the bridge through the neigborhood to access Ralston, Wadsworth ByPass and I-70. This type of traffic flow would not be conducive to the wandering shopper in Olde Town or properties east of Wadsworth given the narrowness of those streets.

No matter how you approach this design and location it just doesn’t seem as though the city really gave it enough evaluation or thought in accommodating the current residents, businesses or the new builds for convenience, comfort and accessibility to Olde Town.

July 1, 2013 Press Release: SAN becomes Registered Neighborhood Organization

July 1, 2013
Arvada, CO: SaveArvadaNow announced today that is has completed its registration as a Registered Neighborhood Organization (RNO) in the City of Arvada. In its recently approved Strategic Plan through 2019, the City Council included an objective to register 50% of the neighborhoods in Arvada.
SaveArvadaNow is pleased to be the first neighborhood to register under this plan. Nancy Young, Chair of SaveArvadaNow’s Steering Committee stated: “It is appropriate that we be the first to file under this new strategic plan. It is even more appropriate because our neighborhood encompasses Arvada’s first commercial and residential center – the center of northern Jefferson County for nearly 100 years. Our well-preserved commercial and residential structures are the physical legacy of our founders.”

The new RNO will focus on three goals:
1. To work together to preserve, enhance and celebrate the historic legacy of our homes and the neighborhood, which encompasses the original 1870 settlement of Arvada.
2. To reduce crime, traffic congestion, parking issues, and noise pollution to create a healthier environment within the neighborhood.
3. To assist neighborhood organizations (fraternal, social, civic, etc.) to disseminate information about their events within the neighborhood.
Among the projects initially identified by SANe are to reduce crime, find solutions to neighborhood parking issues, and to reduce noise and air pollution, largely due to traffic congestion. Neighbors are especially concerned about the impact of the City’s plans to increase density in the neighborhood.
Columbine, near Columbine Park in SE Arvada, is the only other Registered Neighborhood Organization in Arvada. Minutes from some of their meetings have been posted on-line at the City of Arvada website.

SaveArvadaNow is a group of concerned citizens who support smart development that is integrated into Arvada’s neighborhoods, not imposed on our communities.

Palo Alto Listens to its Citizens

In a remarkably similar situation in Palo Alto, California, a developer wanted to construct a building twice the allowable height near the historic downtown. This was met with strong opposition by the local residents. Unlike in Arvada, the Palo Alto City Council listened to their constituents and did not approve the project.

Out With the Old and in With the Urbanist

If Arvada’s mayor and city council members have their way, Historic Olde Town Arvada is destined to lose much of its heritage and character to a new Urbanist-based development plan that prescribes adherence to the high-density (50-units per acre) residential standards espoused as part of the Regional Transportation District’s transportation oriented development (TOD) strategy.

To achieve this end goal, Arvada’s City Council has already sanctioned the following:

  • Officially delisted Olde Town Arvada from the Main Street Program, a unique preservation-based economic development tool sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation;
  • Failed to consult with the Colorado Historic Preservation Office, as specified by the National Historic Preservation Act guidelines, during revisions of the Historic Olde Town Arvada Design Guidelines, resulting in guidelines that will facilitate incongruous architecture within a designated historic conservation district;
  • Granted czar-like authority to Community Development Director Mike Elms, providing him with sole discretion in deciding when to grant zoning variances of all types to accommodate fast-tracking Olde Town Arvada to its new Urbanist future.

Park Place Olde Town is the first of many high-density apartment houses planned under the City’s TOD strategy. Especially egregious, this non-conforming five-story, 153 unit, glass-on-cement apartment house will sit ten feet off the revised boundaries for McIlvoy Park (configured to accommodate the developer’s design requirements) with front access facing the Park.  It won’t be long before the estimated 500+ residents of PPOT will take over McIlvoy Park; during the day using it as their front yard and playground, and at night their party haven.

According to a 2011 report by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, , “The long-term quality and character of a community is directly related to its willingness to identify, protect, and enhance those places that define and differentiate it.”

Abandoning a more cohesive, whole-block zoning strategy in favor of a lot-specific zoning strategy will allow developers to deconstruct Olde Town Arvada, one block at a time. Look to Blackhawk, Colorado for a good example of what is to come: high-rise structures that erode the unique qualities which have made Olde Town Arvada a regional draw.

As Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith wrote, “The preservation movement has one great curiosity. There is never retrospective controversy or regret. Preservationists are the only people in the world who are invariably confirmed in their wisdom after the fact.”

Arvada 2016

A friend gave us the following scrapbook page of her visit to Olde Town Arvada in April 2016.


New view of Doc Callender’s House

The Wilson House, which most of us know as Doc Callender’s, was built in 1889. For decades, it has been over-shadowed by the stately maple trees in the front yard. Now it will be dwarfed by a new facade. This rendering clearly shows how out of proportion the new development would be. The only building taller than this new building will be the bell tower of the Shrine of Saint Anne church.