Effective March 4, 2013, Arvada’s City Council unanimously approved an ordinance vacating Teller Street, clearing the way for construction of a proposed five-story, 153 unit apartment bordering McElvoy City Park. The City, in conjunction with RTD, the Federal Transportation Department, and U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development are prepared to push their Transportation Oriented Development ‘master plan’ on Olde Town Arvada, “to redevelop an 8.79-acre site that is directly across the tracks from the future Olde Town Arvada commuter rail station.” http://oldetowntod.org/
The City published a photo of its vision for Historic Olde Town Arvada in its transit station development plan. Many well-known local buildings have been replaced, and Olde Town looks like a modern office park. The charming, visually appealing streetscape is gone.
This attack on Historic Olde Town Arvada first surfaced last November, when a developer held a public meeting to propose a 5-story, 152-unit rental apartment building bordering historic McIlvoy Park. At the time of this meeting, the City-wide height limit for buildings was just 2-stories. Shortly afterward, on February 4, 2013, the City Council voted unanimously to allow 5-story buildings in the historic district. Planning Council has approved, and the City Council has already heard the first reading of an ordinance that will grant this developer substantial financial benefits. Council will vote on this ordinance soon.
The City has held many public meetings regarding the design of the transit station and the area around Olde Town, but key features of their plans were not part of these meetings. Quietly, with limited public comment, Arvada has made seemingly small changes to zoning and other ordinances that enable the wholesale reconstruction of the Historic District.
Despite a public outcry against these changes, Council has ignored citizens. Our local newspaper, The Arvada Press, gives us glowing reports of the benefits of Council actions, and almost never highlights or discusses grave concerns of residents. Concerned citizens are organizing to stop this madness and are seeking assistance from resources throughout the state. Anyone who treasures Colorado’s western heritage needs to get involved now.