It has almost been a year since developer Crescent Communities held a community meeting to present a plan to turn White Fence Farm into a multifamily apartment complex, and nothing has happened to …
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It has almost been a year since developer Crescent Communities held a community meeting to present a plan to turn White Fence Farm into a multifamily apartment complex, and nothing has happened to the iconic restaurant property — yet.
The Unified Under the Wilson Property ODP (official development plan), a group of Lakewood residents near White Fence Farm, filed an appeal in May against Lakewood’s interpretation of the city’s zoning regulations regarding Crescent Communities’ plan to turn the former restaurant into the Novel at White Fence Farm apartment complex. The group is alleging that the apartment complex would violate an official development plan for the Wilson Property, an 80-acre piece of land located on Jewell Boulevard that includes White Fence Farm at 6263 W. Jewell Ave.
The official development plan, which was signed back in 1982, contains limitations for the number of residential units and the height of buildings in the area.
According to the official development plan, residential dwelling units within the Wilson Property can’t exceed 380 dwelling units. There are 229 dwelling units within the Wilson Property, according to James Silvestro, the Unified Under the Wilson Property ODP’s lawyer. Crescent Communities wants Novel at White Fence Farm to have 234 units — a number that would exceed the amount of units allowed under the official development plan.
Currently, White Fence Farm is zoned for mixed-use neighborhood suburban development. The zone district is intended to involve a mix of lower-intensity neighborhood scale-commercial and residential units, including multifamily units, according to the city.
“We’re not arguing that (White Fence Farm) can’t be multifamily (housing), but what we’re arguing is that the underlie zone governs where the (official development plan) is silent,” said Mike Beery, a member of the Unified Under the Wilson Property ODP group. Beery lives less than a mile from White Fence Farm.
“Our (official development plan) is not silent about density,” Beery added.
The Unified Under the Wilson Property ODP is also arguing that Novel at White Fence Farm would violate height restrictions under the official development plan. Buildings can’t exceed 42 feet, and Novel at White Fence Farm would include two buildings with a maximum height of 54 feet.
Other allegations by the Unified Under the Wilson Property ODP group involve a claim that Crescent Communities didn’t receive approval from an architectural review committee from the property owner’s association — the Wild Flower Patio Homes @ White Fence Homeowners Association.
“It’s one more example of the out-control growth that has been happening in Lakewood and why people passed ballot Question 200. There is something that has been going wrong with the interpretation with the zoning and (official development plans) at the planning department level,” said Debora Emert, a member of the Unified Under the Wilson Property ODP. Last July, Lakewood voters approved Question 200, a growth ordinance that halts new home construction to one percent and requires Lakewood City Council to hold a public hearing and vote to approve residential projects with 40 units or more.
The Novel at White Fence Farm project is in the concept phase of review meaning the project has been submitted for approval to the city.
Stacie Oulton, a spokesperson for Lakewood, said it isn’t appropriate for the city to comment on the case while it’s involved in the legal process of an appeal.
White Fence Farm specialized in fried chicken, and had been part of the Lakewood community since 1973. Toward the end of 2018, the restaurant closed, saying it had been operating at a net monthly loss.
Crescent Communities declined to comment on this story. Lakewood’s Board of Adjustment will hold a hearing for the appeal on Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. at 480 S. Allison Parkway.
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