The Adams County Board of Commissioners sealed the fate of a building that many neighbors consider iconic when the board approved a PUD amendment at a March 2 public hearing. Commissioners voted 4-1 …
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The Adams County Board of Commissioners sealed the fate of a building that many neighbors consider iconic when the board approved a PUD amendment at a March 2 public hearing.
Commissioners voted 4-1 for a 47-unit addition to the Sherrelwood Village subdivision just south of Federal Heights, where an old dome shaped building resides. The board's decision follows a fervent community push to preserve the building and prevent the development of higher-priced homes in the area.
Community organizing began four months prior when resident Sarah Garner started a Change.org petition to “Save the `Spaceship House' from Demolition!” along 79th Avenue and Pecos Street. The building, marked by rounded rooftops and colorful windowpanes, once belonged to Children's Outreach Project, a preschool in Westminster Public Schools. A few years ago, Delwest Development Corp. acquired the property to ultimately build on it alongside another lot it developed directly to the south.
“Many members of our community have a nostalgic connection with this location, and it brings back memories of times and places in North Denver that are now lost to the sands of time,” said a description in the Change.org petition that gathered 2,140 signatures by March 2.
Yet, representative Craig Fitchett said at the public hearing, “This property was always intended to be demolished.” Fitchett said the plumbing is ripped out, windows are broken, and that plaster and concrete are in disrepair.
“Not to be confrontational. But this monolithic dome building form has been around for a while … They (dome buildings) are significant in the sense that they are tornado proof. But they are not significant in their rarity.”
Commissioner Chaz Tedesco didn't welcome Fitchett's comments and said community members appreciate the building within its Adams County context, not the wide world of architecture. “It is an object of the community. It is an iconic building in this area because it is the only building in this area.” Tedesco also said that Delwest shouldn't demolish the building for cosmetic deficiencies.
Petitioners wanted the building to stay put and become a community center integrated with the prospective development, an idea that Tedesco and Commissioner Lynn Baca endorsed. Ultimately, Tedesco was the only dissenting vote. Baca approved the PUD amendment alongside Board Chairperson Eva Henry and Commissioners Steve O'Dorisio and Emma Pinter.
Tedesco also took issue with the anticipated $400,000 sticker price on homes that Delwest will build in the area. “That area has a high rate of low income and retired people … When we raise those costs in that area, that has a negative affect overall, which is part of gentrification,” he said.
Other commissioners didn't disagree and even refuted Fitchett's claim that the units will be “affordable housing.” “It's middle market, but not affordable,” said O'Dorisio. Yet, O'Dorisio said the PUD amendment wouldn't have as drastic of an effect as some people fear it will. To really address these issues, he said, “Our comprehensive plan really needs to step up.”
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