Thornton just grew by 357 acres, per a 7-1 vote by Thornton City Council at an April 13 meeting. After a public hearing, the council approved the annexation in northwest Thornton and two other …
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Thornton just grew by 357 acres, per a 7-1 vote by Thornton City Council at an April 13 meeting.
After a public hearing, the council approved the annexation in northwest Thornton and two other measures to move the Clear Creek mixed-use development ahead. Though the project will require many other approvals before it materializes, the plan is to build industrial warehouses, residential units and retail space.
“It’s a beautiful project, it’s going to help our city moving forward,” said Councilman Sam Nizam. “We need those kinds of builds. Also, it’s going to have retail, which is close to my heart. It’s important for our city to generate income.”
Located north of 144th Avenue and in between Washington Street and York Street, the property’s northern portion will have 75-foot-high warehouses. The bottom portion will include single-family detached homes, single-family attached homes and multi-family units. There will be three distinct commercial areas and 55 acres of parks and open space, including a central park with a sports field and tennis court.
In the future, the council will need to approve each distinct zoning designation. At the April 13 meeting, in addition to the annexation, the council only approved the zoning associated with the overall development plan and conceptual site plan.
Yet some council members already expressed concerns about the housing. Councilor Jacque Phillips, who represents Ward 1 in south Thornton, said, “I believe in balanced housing and so when we see something going up north that is low-density housing with some beautiful parks, and it looks really nice. But down in the south end, we have to look at high-density housing and very limited parks.”
Though Phillips seemed to be making a larger point about differences in how Thornton is developed, Diana Rael, a representative of Norris Design, sought to respond by highlighting the plans to build a diversity of housing types. “Our intent is to provide a very eclectic blend of housing,” Rael said.
After, Councilor Julia Marvin commented that diversity in housing type doesn’t necessarily equal variety in housing costs, a point that community members made during a public hearing for a different development two weeks prior. Rael said the developers don’t currently have housing cost estimates. Marvin was the only dissenting vote on the measures.
The only minor hiccup of the April 13 public hearing was a discussion about oil and gas wells currently operational in that area. Developers plan to plug up and abandon the oil wells when they build the development in future years. However, Extraction Oil & Gas, the company that currently manages the wells, doesn’t anticipate doing that as of right now, said attorney Julia Rhine during the public comments portion of the hearing, whose firm represents Extraction. Extraction must agree to plug up and abandon the wells, the city cannot force the company to do it, she said.
Rhine said that the council is voting on an overall conceptual site plan that anticipates abandoning and plugging up the wells, even that’s not presently guaranteed. Clarke Carlson, a developer with Carlson Associates, Inc., said his company began negotiating with Extraction years ago and will continue to do so until they reach an agreement.
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