Union Neighborhood Vision Plan Discussion

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I attended the Union Corridor meetings, filled out all the questionnaires, and analyzed the survey results. What was reported does not accurately convey the sentiments of area residents. What it DID show was how completely clueless the Planning Department is about the realities of our area. Our first hint was that they only sent notice of the meetings to a small number of people in the immediate area. They claimed to notify businesses, but most of those employees never heard about the meetings. The Council made them start their meetings over again, but they STILL only sent notices to the area right around Union, from 6th Ave. to Alameda. That proved that they don’t understand that the “Union Corridor” actually extends all the way south to Morrison Rd.

The planners must have applied boilerplate planning principles to this area. They see 6th Ave. and a light rail station, so therefore the housing density must be high in the surrounding area. They only see a “horse,” when this part of Lakewood is a “zebra.” They never did a proper traffic study that accounts for the actual flow of traffic in all of Green Mountain. Union Blvd. is blocked on three sides – to the north by 6th Ave., to the east by the Federal Center, and to the west by Green Mountain and neighborhood streets. There is only one north/south alternative for a brief distance, Van Gordon St./Alameda Dr, a 2-lane road. The number and size of arterials is severely limited for where people are coming from and where they are going. The only arterial that flows is the east/west Alameda/Alameda Pkwy. All the other streets are short or lead into neighborhoods. Even Union dead ends at Jewell.

Yet the Planning Dept. and the horrible rezoning from Dec. 2012 is jamming lots of tall, high-density multi-family apartment buildings into this small area. They are allowing them to be built right up to the street on Union and Van Gordon. This precludes widening of the streets. They are creating terrible traffic conditions. I assume they are trying to force us onto light rail, which is of limited use for the vast majority of people. People will still have and drive their cars. How many people in Beacon 85 walk to King Soopers vs. drive? When hauling groceries, you still need a car. The traffic is already unbearable!

People surveyed are opposed to more high-density, tall apartment buildings. But those comments were ignored.

The surveys dealt primarily with aesthetics. What do we want the architecture and park design to look like? I agreed with those survey results, because most of us don’t like the ugly modern, boxy apartments being built around Denver. When people label Beacon 85 as a monstrosity, it’s not primarily because of the boring architecture. It’s because it’s a hulking behemoth that is built right up to Union. The planned 7-story apartment building near Union West Apartments on Van Gordon is going to be devastating to the area and choke that tiny road. Having more hulking behemoths hovering over our limited roads is the issue and that needs to be STOPPED.

You guys like to use the word “sustainable.” Adding more tall, high-density housing in our small area with few streets is UNSUSTAINABLE. Since 200 passed, now is the time to undo the damage caused by the 2012 zoning change. If zoning can go higher density, then it can also be reversed to go lower density. THE UNION CORRIDOR REPORT IS PUTTING LIPSTICK ON A PIG.

Before approving the Union Corridor plan, I think your commission should communicate with the owners of the tall apartment buildings. You should ask what their vacancy rate is. I don’t think they would talk to me, but they may give you that information. Why allow more high-density apartment buildings to ruin the area if the existing ones are not full?

Also before approving the plan, your commission should take a field trip to the Union Corridor at 5PM and drive the streets. Go all the way to Morrison Rd. and see how many residents are funneled onto this one street that can no longer be widened.

Very importantly, COVID-19 has proven that high-density and public transportation quickly spread disease. Many of these tall buildings will require elevators and interior hallways, which force people into a confined space. It would be unethical for the City to continue pushing high-density projects knowing they're risking the public health.

A side note – normally I wouldn’t care where Lakewood employees live. But I think the planners should be required to live in Lakewood so they can hear their neighbors talk about how much it has gone downhill. Planners should be SUBURBAN in their orientation, NOT URBAN. I talked to one planner who lives in Denver and thinks people should walk everywhere!! Completely clueless about reality. That only works for young and/or able-bodied people, plus we live in a snowy climate. She needs to work for the Denver Planning Dept.

Thank you for listening. I really hope you will seriously consider my remarks.

06/02/2020 4:57 pm
Deborah Romero
4 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

Driving down Union is already time intensive, especially at peak times. Going these couple blocks from Alameda to 6th takes the same amount of time as downtown Denver. The current plan will only worsen the problem instead of solving anything. Especially after seeing how hard hit close-packed cities have been during this epidemic, we shouldn't be considering densification as a solution.

06/02/2020 4:38 pm
Karen Morgan
4 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

The above presentation assumes that this plan is fairly complete and talks about next steps. The Union Corridor Vision Plan as presented by staff was previously postponed by this commission due to lack of public input. The meetings to gather public support were NOT widely advertised and therefor not well attended. Nor were all suggestions documented by the meeting organizers.
This new "zoom" meeting format and required on-line comment is not the way to re-start this discussion. The vision plan is not a time sensitive matter and should not even be on this agenda. If anything, the discussion should be on how to really gather public input for this and future vision plans.

06/02/2020 11:03 am
Diane Duffey
4 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

We are strongly opposed to the city's plan to double the population in the Union corridor by tearing down existing buildings and constructing high density housing, similar to Beacon. Union corridor is not like Belmar which is located South and East of major thoroughfares in Lakewood. Union Blvd is a major artery that connects Alameda, Alameda Parkway with 6th Avenue and Colfax. Adding to the congestion on Union Blvd is unwise and will lead to increased accidents, crime, pollution, and strain on all our resources.

We already have new high density luxury apartments in that area that are not fully occupied. We do not need more! Residential properties cost the city more to service than commercial, leading to increased budget deficits. City of Lakewood needs to encourage commercial, retail, and restaurant properties in the Union corridor, so we don't lose what we already have, and we have more to support our city.

Parking is already an issue when we go to places like LePeep or other restaurants on Union Blvd. With the plans the city has proposed, parking will be so much worse. We will no longer be able to support these restaurants when there is no place to park.

Please listen to us. Please consider the current and future infrastructure! Please consider the impact this plan will have on the rest of Lakewood. Please consider the impact the proposed developments in Rooney Valley will have on Union Blvd. That has not been addressed. The city is creating a perfect storm with these piecemeal developments that will deteriorate the quality of our city, and the quality of our life in this city.

We don't know anyone who supports the city's current plans for the Union Corridor. There are many in our city who are opposed to these plans. Not everyone knows about the options we have for speaking up against these plans. So, please don't take their silence as approval. We do not approve!

06/02/2020 10:16 am
Connie Mar
4 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

Please reduce the density - there are too many apartments already

05/31/2020 2:02 pm
Laura Boggs
4 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

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