The City of Castle Pines will soon consider an application that, if approved, could bring The Canyons development to twice the size it was originally planned to be 10 years ago.
Meanwhile, neighboring Castle Rock is weighing how the whopping project will impact the town as some residents fear traffic impacts.
The project owner, North Canyons, LLLP, is asking to build an additional 1,500 housing units on The Canyons property. The plan also dedicates 167.5 acres as parkland and 21.18 acres for future school sites.
The Canyons is a 3,343-acre planned development in Castle Pines first approved in 2009. The original plan permitted 2,500 dwelling units. In 2018, the city approved an additional 1,000 multi-family units for a total of 3,500 dwellings.
The site where the 1,500 homes are proposed stretches from Castle Pines in the north down to Castle Rock's Sapphire Pointe neighborhood in the south and is owned by the Alpert family.
If approved, the latest amendment to the land use plan would allow a total of 5,000 housing units in The Canyons, double that of the 2009 proposal.
The Castle Pines City Council will hold a public hearing to discuss the application on Dec. 10. Castle Pines staff members are recommending council approve the application with certain conditions, according to city documents. The planning commission recommended approval in a 5-3 vote on Oct. 24. Two planning commissioners were absent.
Castle Pines City Manager Michael Penny said two of the major community benefits would be the park space and a high school and middle school land dedication.
“The community has wanted a large regional park. It looks right over Rueter Hess,” Penny said.
The Castle Rock Town Council on Dec. 3 weighed traffic impacts on town neighborhoods against residents' desire for another way to access I-25. If approved, the newest portion of The Canyons would construct a roadway linking Crowfoot Valley Road with Interstate 25 at Castle Pines Parkway.
There's also a street planned on Cinnabar Drive in Sapphire Pointe that would connect Castle Rock with The Canyons.
Castle Rock's Director of Development Services Bill Detweiler told council they anticipate residents of Sapphire Pointe would use the connecting street to access The Canyons roads and travel north to I-25, but that it's less likely The Canyons residents would use the road to travel south into Castle Rock.
Councilmember James Townsend, who represents Sapphire Pointe, said he believes constituents want another route to I-25 in the area.
“I get far more questions asking when we are going to have that connection made,” Townsend said.
Council directed staff to discuss with Castle Pines where the connecting road on Cinnabar Drive should be located and the addition of buffer zones between The Canyons and Castle Rock.
They will also request that the density and lot size in portions of The Canyons near Sapphire Pointe match those in the Castle Rock neighborhood.
Castle Rock residents living where the connector street is planned said they worry the proposal will worsen traffic on their neighborhood streets, along Crowfoot Valley Road and in surrounding areas.
Jordan Trevino and her family moved from Parker in November to a home near the connector street's proposed location. Today they look out their windows to see open land, cattle grazing and the occasional coyote.
She's worried the new housing will drive out wildlife and deplete views, she said, and in general wishes the growth rate in Douglas County would slow down. She thinks new access points to I-25 in The Canyons could help relieve congestion not only in Castle Rock but in Parker too.
“We like the pluses, but not the minuses,” she said.
The development's project coordinator, Mary Hart, said she's spoken to Sapphire Pointe resident and homeowner association board member Lyn Jacobs about traffic concerns.
“We understand that, and we've hired a traffic consultant,” Hart said. “We have a lot of improvements to make for the project that is recommended by the traffic consultant and they would occur over time as the project is developed.”
Hart noted the city would assess traffic needs with each plat in the course of the development and could require new or more improvements in the future. When asked about their overall vision for the development and specific details about traffic improvements, Hart deferred to their application and traffic study.
She added that the street connecting Castle Rock to The Canyons is required by the town to provide Sapphire Pointe another route out of the neighborhood during emergencies. They're open to discussing whether the road should be public or for emergency vehicle use only, she said.
Jacobs lives within 300 feet of The Canyons property and also near the connecting street's proposed location. She has several concerns with the development, she said. She's against the additional housing and worries it will add too much density in the area. She also worries traffic will increase in her neighborhood and along Crowfoot Valley Road.
Jacobs would not mind if the street connecting Sapphire Pointe to The Canyons were an emergency vehicle road only, but fears a public street would lead to heavy traffic near her home. And unlike Trevino, Jacobs said she doesn't see any good elements to The Canyons proposal.
“Honestly, no. I don't see anything positive. I think growth in our entire region is out of hand,” she said. “We just don't want that traffic.”
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