During the city council meeting on June 4, a rather controversial issue was raised–that of the DTC Apartments. While one does not usually imagine the construction of an apartment complex as being an extraordinarily contentious issue, the unique set of circumstances in which this case arose makes it particularly interesting.
The site in question for the complex is at 5455 S. Valentia Way, bordering that of The Georgetown–a group of townhouses built by the proposers of DTC Apartments, across a street from One Cherry Lane, and short walk from the Orchard Light Rail Station. When the property was first purchased by the applicant, a restriction was placed on the deed such that the land could only be used for multifamily housing. At the time, zoning in the area allowed this use; however, the Comprehensive Plan passed by the council in 2011 stated an intent to limit residential use of properties in this area, making a new multifamily residential area less viable.
The applicant first submitted a plan to the city of Greenwood Village last August. A concept review of the 368-unit proposal warned against high density, and, even after changes, the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended denial of the resolution in early May of this year. This recommendation was based on several issues, most of which were resolved in later revisions and the judgement of the commission that the current zoning restrictions mustn’t affect the site in this case. These included density–which was reduced to 272 units from 368–and the labeling of the development as “luxury,” which was removed. The new plan also addresses the commission’s earlier concerns that Building E was too long and that the main entrance too narrow by splitting the Building E in two and widening the entrance. Requests that views from neighboring properties not be blocked were met with the removal of one floor from all building plans. While a traffic study found that the complex would have an impact locally, it seemed minimal. Only two nearby intersections would be at or over capacity within twenty years, and they would overflow with or without the development’s completion. The singular facet of the plan for the development not in compliance with the technical requirements set by Greenwood Village was the absence of loading zones; however, loading zones are not present in most multifamily housing complexes, and, despite this fault, the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that the City Council approve the resolution and the plan.
While the only technical problem with the plan was the absence of loading zones, many concerns were raised by both the council and citizens living near the site. The majority of these concerns centered around the development’s impact on the area, including traffic and dropping neighboring property values. Some council members were dissatisfied with the green space in the plan, for while it met the technical requirements, it was largely on the perimeter or the site leaving many units with views of only the interior parking lots. In my opinion, however, this layout of the open areas is the best option, as it makes the exterior of the property and the view from neighboring properties more scenic. It would be a renter’s choice to live in an apartment with a view of pavement, but this view would not be imposed on others who were not given the choice. Another major concern was that property values in the area would decrease as a result of the development; however, I believe the opposite to be true. As a high end development with easy access to public transportation, it will be an uniquely attractive place for people to live, even when renting becomes less popular. The notion that it is not up to the standards of this neighborhood is absurd, seeing as the site borders that of the Pinnacle of DTC–a multifamily housing complex that is far more dense, less physically attractive, and has fewer high end services and amenities than the proposal.
The site in question may only be used for multifamily housing, and the inevitable construction of a complex there will be far better than an empty lot. While the council was split in their decision and ultimately decided to continue discussion at their next meeting, I am of the opinion that the resolution should pass. This is, to me, clearly the best option for all parties involved, and I am confident that, should the resolution pass, the development of the DTC Apartments will prove successful and beneficial to the area and the city of Greenwood Village.