Appeal against White Fence Farm apartments denied

Residents had alleged violations against an official development plan

Joseph Rios
jrios@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 1/29/20

After two meetings, Lakewood’s Board of Adjustment made a decision regarding an appeal against Lakewood Planning Director Travis Parker’s interpretation of the city’s zoning code — kind of. …

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Appeal against White Fence Farm apartments denied

Residents had alleged violations against an official development plan

Posted

After two meetings, Lakewood’s Board of Adjustment made a decision regarding an appeal against Lakewood Planning Director Travis Parker’s interpretation of the city’s zoning code.

At a Jan. 22 Board of Adjustment meeting, the board split a vote over a group of Lakewood residents’ argument that Novel at White Fence Farm, a proposed 234-unit multifamily apartment complex at the former White Fence Farm restaurant site, would violate density and height restrictions from an official development plan for the Wilson Property, an 80 acre piece of land at Jewell Boulevard that includes White Fence Farm at 6263 W. Jewell Ave.

Board members Glenda Sinks, Alan Heald and Theresa Stone voted in favor of the Unified Under the Wilson Property ODP’s argument, the residents who filed the appeal against the apartment complex. Dale Miller, Johann Cohn and Alex Bartlett voted against the group’s argument — resulting in a tie. Since there weren’t enough votes in favor of the Unified Under the Wilson Property ODP’s appeal, Parker’s interpretation was upheld.

“It’s as strange to us as it is to you all, because we would much rather resolve this one way or another,” Miller, chairman of the board, said at the Jan. 22 meeting.

The official development plan, signed in 1982, says residential dwelling units within the Wilson Property can’t exceed 380 units. Currently, there are 229 dwelling units within the area, according to James Silvestro, the Unified Under the Wilson Property ODP’s attorney. Crescent Communities, the developer proposing the apartment complex, wants to build 234 new apartment units, exceeding the number of units allowed under the Wilson Property plan.

Additionally, the official development plan restricts buildings from exceeding 42 feet high. Crescent Communities’ plan includes two buildings with a maximum height of 54 feet at White Fence Farm. Under the official development plan, an architectural review committee from the property owner’s association, the Wild Flower Patio Homes @ White Fence Homeowners Association, needs to approve all architectural plans that fall under the Wilson Property.

The Board of Adjustment grappled with different provisions within Lakewood’s Zoning Ordinance. An argument made by the city and Crescent Communities against the Unified Under the Wilson Property ODP’s allegation revolved around language in the zoning ordinance that says redevelopment within a planned development district may apply to either the standards of the base zone districts or the standards of the official development plan.

White Fence Farm is zoned for mixed-use neighborhood suburban development. The area is intended to include a mix of lower-intensity neighborhood scale-commercial and residential units, including multifamily units, according to the city.

“We can talk height, we can talk about residential density, we can talk about the architectural control committee, but all of those become (irrelevant) the second the property owner says ‘I’m redeveloping, and I want to use that base zone’,” Parker said at a Jan. 15 meeting regarding the Unified Under the Wilson Property ODP’s appeal.

Another part of Lakewood’s Zoning Ordinance includes a section about conflicting provisions. When any regulation, requirement or condition in the zoning ordinance conflicts with any other regulation, requirement, or law, the provision that is more restrictive, or requires a higher standard or requirement, governs over the other, according to the ordinance.

“Much of this debate has centered around what some are perceiving as a discretionary between these two sections in the code. There is no discretionary for me,” said Stone. “The code is clear. To deny this appeal will weaken (the section about conflicting provisions).”

Another vote later into the Jan. 22 meeting went against the official development plan’s requirement for architectural review for the apartment complex. Stone and Heal voted in favor of that provision from the official development plan.

The Novel at White Fence Farm project plan has been submitted to the city and is currently in the concept phase of review. White Fence Farm was a popular restaurant that specialized in fried chicken since 1973. It went out of business in December of 2018.

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