Pending Decision

Union Neighborhood Vision Plan

Case: PL-19-001
Case: PL-19-001 To adopt the Union Neighborhood Vision Plan and recommend approval by City Council.

Videos

Live Public Hearing

Staff Presentation

Files

Frequently Asked Questions about the Union Neighborhood Vision Plan ( 0.11 MB )
Union Neighborhood Vision Plan_Proposed Redline Edits_July2020_V2 ( 66.91 MB )

Comments & Feedback

Comments
 
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One key to traffic on Union Blvd is to understand that neigborhoods (primarily south} must use Union Blvd as a "funnel" through that area...whether using Union or Van Gordon. WIll the traffic studies include alternative ways to divert traffic away from the funnel that is Union Blvd Corridor?

07/15/2020 8:01 pm
T Vriesman
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

Dear Planning Commission & Union Square neighbors,

Last year, I had the pleasure and the privilege of traveling for a few weeks in Italy, before coming back home to Colorado to purchase a condo in the Union Square area to be closer to my partner's place of work at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. While I love my home in Lakewood, what a contrast to my experiences walking and loving every bit of Rome and Florence!

After living in the area for the past 13 months, I can say with certainty that I would like to see a more vibrant Union Square, that takes inspiration from Europe in terms of urban design and land use. I don't want to be a Debbie Downer, but currently I find walking through the Union Square area to be boring and alienating. It is not an inviting, interesting, must-linger place for me - it is a car place, that feels much more friendly to me when I'm behind the wheel than when I'm on foot or on bike. Union Square feels like passing-through place (I will say perhaps one upshot of that is I have had minimal negative vehicular traffic experiences, even in rush hour, along Union).

For my birthday last year, my partner took me to 240 Union, and though it was filled with people, I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd just eaten in a boardroom. When I walk along Union or through the parking lots that mark the character of the place, my body feels towered over by distant buildings, and threatened by fast, uncaring vehicles. There are relatively few areas (such as Union Square Park) that offer intrigue and respite.

I learned during the presentation that "vibrant" was one of the top words that people use to describe their vision for the area. Perhaps vibrant means different things to different people. For me, a vibrant neighborhood adjacent to a major highway and along major transit corridors would look like:

-European-inspired design and land use - much smaller lots, lots of mix of buildings, walkable, bikeable, and transitable, much less car-centric

-Dense, 3 and 4 story wall-to-wall mixed-use in MCT area (near Federal Center Transit Station) that offer condo and apartment living, and some commercial along the ground floor (think Belmar, for a local example).

-Smaller (not larger) setbacks! The buildings are already a mile away from the roadways, embedded in a foreboding sea of empty parking lots. I want to wander through a series of cozy smaller side-streets, lined with cafes and restaurants and trees. We currently have a lot of big boxes that feel like dead space.

-Not being a slave to "the current context". If we develop solely based on what will "fit" within the area, we'll just get more large, car-centric, uninteresting spaces and buildings. I think that we can push the context forward while not contrasting with it or being overly-constrained by it.

I would caution my neighbors and the Planning Commission from refusing to address residential demand in this area by zoning it out or intentionally under-zoning. This is because: a) the Metro area and front range are already in a housing crisis, with low supply leading to sky-high housing prices (do we want to be San Francisco, in terms of affordability?), b) Union Square is in very close proximity to a huge number of jobs - at Federal Center, along Union Square corridor, National Renewable Energy Lab, Colfax business corridor, as well as downtown Golden and downtown Denver, and c) locating housing near jobs is inherently sustainable and convenient and desirable for workers and employers alike.

When I go for a walk these days, I almost always head towards Green Mountain and open space, and away from the din and oddness of Union Square, which bums me out. I envision a Union Square that is dense, human-scaled, and takes inspiration from successful urbanities of pre-car Europe.

Thank you for your time, service, and attention.

Best,
Neil DiMuccio

07/15/2020 7:55 pm
Neil DiMuccio
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

Three questions:
1) How many people that have provided input into design of the Union Blvd. corridor own property other than a primary residence?

2) How many people that have provided input into design of the Union Blvd. corridor own or have experience owning investment property?

3) How many people that have provided input into design of the Union Blvd. corridor actually own property in the corridor?

just curious...

07/15/2020 7:30 pm
Chris Bruhl
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 6 years. I love the new restaurants that have come in, but Union is so unpleasant to walk down that we always drive, taking up valuable, limited parking. I’d like to see Union neighborhood be more foot and bike traffic friendly. I’d also like to see less luxury high rise apartment buildings and more perfectly nice, quiet affordable housing. Please also find a way to preserve lots of parks and open space.

07/15/2020 7:27 pm
Sarah Koontz
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

Thank you for this opportunity to comment.

What I am for-
*The inclusion of a bike/pedestrian path. I see it useful for commuting, recreation and access to local business.
*The choices of building looks.
*The breakdown of areas into 8 areas.
*Big changes on West Cedar. It's pretty ugly and not well used right now.
*The green spaces and water filtration/flood risk reduction. Try to keep connections/corridors to the views.
*The walking paths are excellent-reduce stress, keep people who walk healthy, connect people to other paths.
*The vision.We need to prepare for population growth and work now to form how it looks.

What I would add. Perhaps this would be addressed in the next phase.
*Green buildings. LEED certified? Consider green roofs.
*Deep look at how people who live there can move around and have their needs met without getting into a car. This is what young people want. It's good for seniors too.
*Include new ideas to move the traffic through Union, while slowing people down on the side roads. Ideas here. https://www.livablestreets.info/slowing_traffic_to_a_target_speed#:~:text=The%20most%20effective%20speed%2Dreducing,uses%20diets%20and%20other%20techniques

I support keeping the process moving forward. It provides clarity to what is next and stops what the community does not what to happen.

07/15/2020 7:23 pm
Rebecca Smith
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

This may be a bit off topic, but in my opinion a lot of the new construction is quite hideous (much of it seems rather brutalist and generic). I think if I found the development more attractive I might not be so opposed to it. Is there any way to encourage a more attractive style? For example, perhaps more in a western theme with brick facades? To me, Lakewood is losing its character, and perhaps having a "Lakewood" building style would help retain the feeling of the city and enhance the community.

07/15/2020 6:29 pm
Lisa Binder
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

Speaking to Commission concerns about lack of public involvement. The Union Blvd. Corridor issue arose from Lakewood residents' concerns the overdevelopment of Rooney Valley was creating crowding problems along Union Blvd. The citizens asked City Council to do something to slow the population growth by restricting residential density in west Lakewood. Instead of addressing the overcrowding/ overdevelopment problem Council chose instead to do a "study" of Union Blvd.
Most active citizens recognized this "Neighborhood Vision Plan" was just another way to avoid dealing with the real core problems of high residential density. Many concluded the whole effort was a sham and a wasted effort. When people did participate in the open houses and raised the systemic problems they were told their concerns were "outside the scope" of the study. These people passed on the message the whole study was meaningless and just a ploy to allow the City to claim they "listened to the people" while continuing to facilitate and enable overdevelopment.
Most citizens concluded this study was NOT worth their time and effort.

07/15/2020 2:20 pm
David Wiechman
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

I did attend the public meetings on this plan and the consensus from the citizens there seemed to favor limiting density. Why is that not reflected in the plan? Step back and listen to what the people that frequent Union Boulevard would like to see. What's the hurry? It is not crucial that this move forward in it's present state. Take the time to get it right.

07/14/2020 7:34 pm
Diane Duffey
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

Regarding the Union Corridor, redevelopment planning should focus on building housing there that fits in with the rest of the 80228 area. Would hope Lakewood would move away from allowing more random, large, and out of neighborhood character apartments like the ones that were constructed in the Union corridor area prior to the growth limitation initiative. Wish the City of Lakewood would encourage more building of higher density homes that fit into the neighborhood AND are somewhat affordable. Townhomes on W. Alameda Dr W. and West Nevada Place are examples. When rents are $2000-$3000 monthly, that expense is like buying, without the benefit of home ownership. Additionally, future development should fit in and complement existing housing in the area, unlimited density does not align with that type of development.

The Union Street project should be developed with a clear and specific acknowledgement that changes there will impact the quality of life of current nearby residents. Citizens in the surrounding areas should be deliberately included in the process - not just people living right there; which is actually not that many people.

07/14/2020 7:03 pm
Jennifer Shay
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

I was told in a previous planning meeting that the sidewalks along union would be widened to accommodate and encourage more pedestrians and bicycles. This is a BAD idea. The traffic on Union is intense with plenty of speeding, cut in front of cars, and quick right turns across the sidewalk. Increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic will endanger pedestrians and bicyclists. We need better access from south Lakewood to 6th. As Rooney valley grows this will be a huge problem.

07/14/2020 3:16 pm
Roger Ball
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

This plan needs to be returned to draft and revised in a post-pandemic world where less density in commercial and residential buildings and lessened expectations for reliance on mass transportation, particularly withn Lakewood's suburban setting will be the expectation and the rule.

I have studied the public records associated with the City's "public input" process that supported the "fake news" in 2012 that City residents were in favor of the zoning changes that were pushed through. There was no scientific data collection plan and zero analysis or supportable documentation by the City. Absolutely the same charade for "public input" on the Union Corridor seems to have been repeated. Any data collected or random "conclusions" put forward or inferred by City staff are meaningless because data was not collected utilizing any scientific data collection method or plan or subjected to an analytical study. How about taking the time to perform a scientific study to determine what Lakewood Citizens really want in the Union Corridor.

07/14/2020 12:59 pm
Jim Kinney
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

My business has operated in a building on Union Blvd for 33 yrs and I live within one mile of my office. Over the last few years my less than 5 min commute can now be 20 min. I attended all of the Union Transportation Study and Union Vision Plan meetings. Many of the presenters are contracted by Lakewood and don't have a grasp of what is already here and where things are. The driveway to my building was described as a road. The gentleman presenting the initial Vision Plan put up an aerial view slide and remarked about all the open space that could be developed and put to other uses. He was pointing to parking for the existing buildings. At the Vision meetings the input asked for was multiple choice and it seemed to have an agenda that had already been decided-residential and dense or mixed use but we've seen that mixed use isn't mixed. It also appeared to ignore the businesses that are all ready present- deciding that what they do doesn't fit. Area 3 is home to many businesses that could be considered light industrial and not fit with the plan but they provide jobs and services w/in Lakewood and have been in place a long time.

Many people come to the businesses on Union from within Lakewood, and they drive to get there because public transportation w/in Lakewood esp the Green Mtn area is problematic and not a lot of people walk or ride their bike.Parking is essential for many businesses on Union-clients/customers go elsewhere if parking is problematic. Union had been an employment corridor but there is now too much residential development. Just west of Union is virtually all residential. There seems of be an abundance of lodging. There are 5 hotels between Sere Lane and 6th Ave and 4 more north of 6th.

St Anthony's hospital campus absolutely needs to be included in the plan as it has a huge impact on the corridor in many ways,especially traffic, parking, and the fact that one entity owns three buildings on the campus and they also own 4 more buildings between Sere Ln and 4th Ave. What will that do for rents on Union?

Union Blvd used to be pretty. There were trees and plants in the median and the buildings didn't hang out over the road which gives a closed in feel. The suburban context needs to be retained. Please take in to account the citizens of Lakewood who are already here and chose to live here because of what it offers instead of changing it for potential residents.

I watched the entire last ZOOM planning commission meeting and there were a lot of important and good points brought up, especially traffic and flooding. Zoning is also key.

07/14/2020 12:55 pm
Cindy Gough
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

Why is the height maximum in the Union area so much higher (sometimes double) than the rest of Lakewood? I see there's a recommendation to review and limit this but that should be a priority.
In zone 2, how does the recommendation to prohibit gas stations, etc take into account the gas stations and other businesses currently in that zone that fall into that criteria?
Any recommendation to make the Union Blvd area a "destination" is a mistake. Traffic and congestion are bad enough. I don't want live in Belmar 2.0.
I attended the Traffic Study meetings and I still don't understand the purpose of the Routt-Quail bridge over 6th - there's nothing on either side so what's being connected?I strongly agree with limiting any new residential along the Union corridor. The damage has already been done (the Beacon monstrosity) - don't make it worse. I agree with previous comments about being a bedroom for Denver employees.

07/14/2020 10:58 am
Chris Gulbransen
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

I remember when Union Blvd. did not even exist. At its humble beginnings, it was home to the Police Department, a few Government agencies, Jose O'Sheas, and a few other restaurants. Then the Sheraton. Then more restaurants. Then more and more. There was plenty of room for restaurants and especially helpful for everyone who worked at the DFC. Then, suddenly, some decided to start adding residential. Okay, you did it and if you are honest, you can see what a failure that was and still is. No more residential. No more apartments, condos or single family dwellings. The traffic (don't forget the emergency equipment headed to St Anthony's) is too much. Union is not equipped for residential. Don't be greedy. Stop while you are ahead. Thank you.

07/13/2020 3:07 pm
Lynne Kinney
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

Please limit the growth of residential units along the Union Corridor. What in years past was a 10 minute commute from 6th and Union, to Alameda and Union has at times become a 15 minute commute due to increased residential growth. STOP. STOP. STOP with the multi unit residential growth in the Union Corridor.

07/12/2020 5:02 pm
Laura Boggs
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

I was surprised to receive a postcard from the Planning Commission announcing an advisory Union Neighborhood Vision Plan public hearing on July 15. Surprised because although residing less than 2 miles from the Vision Plan's boundary and therefore subject to future development impacts,the Vision Plan is based on input from only those within the Plan's boundary.

The future development concerns listed on the postcard does not include "density" which is of utmost importance to Ward 4 citizens, a foundational concern. I would much appreciate being advised why "density" has been deemed off the table for citizens' input if this is the case. I look forward to your response.

07/11/2020 9:25 am
Lary Harrison
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

Green Mountain Summit HOA did not receive any notifications and does not receive any notifications from the City Planning Dept. This has been an ongoing issue over many years. This corridor is a critical transportation artery for the residents there. Please ensure that this HOA is kept abreast with all planning activities relating to this corridor.
Please contact the HOA management company at:

Coffey & Associates (Green Mt. Summit HOA, Inc.)
Jacquie Schwindt
PO Box 260633
Lakewood, CO 80226-0633
(303) 798-2814
[email protected]

My only comment is on this plan, to ensure adequate car transportation traffic flow to get onto US 6.
If traffic lanes are constrained, it will create a bottle neck of traffic on Union Blvd.

Thank you.

Rob Eadie

07/09/2020 3:52 pm
Rob Eadie
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

As a resident of the apartments at the top of the hill on Cedar Avenue, right before it turns to into alkire. I am offended that you're trying to take the land these apartments that are built on just so the rich people up behind us have a better view of Denver. That's how it seemed us who live in the neighborhood, not that you all really care. All these apartment's provide homes for families who can't afford the $400,000 houses on the hill. But we're also the people that you call Essential when everything else fails. It'd be nice if Lookout for us instead of the rich of Lakewood. Thanks for your time

07/09/2020 2:30 pm
Shawn Curtin
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

The sidewalks on both sides of Union Ave are in bad shape and need replacing. I suspect the city considers the sidewalks private property, but I wish the city somehow would force replacement of the sidewalks.

07/06/2020 6:04 pm
Jerry Sherard
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

I attended all but one of the Union Corridor Vision meetings. When City staff was asked about traffic impacts, an employee leading the group motioned to a thick document in a corner on the floor and told us the traffic study had been done a few years previously and we could read it if we desired. Therefore, the entire thrust of neighbor concerns about traffic and congestion was ignored, unless someone could dive in the corner, read that document, and ask an appropriate question before the end of what turned out to be extremely limited question-and-answer time.

The apparent point of the Vision meetings, according to City staff, appeared to be a "check the box" requirement for public input, and we were asked about brick color and window type, despite our frequent comments that tall apartment buildings were the *last* things needed in our neighborhood.

Lakewood needs jobs, not more dense "luxury" apartment housing, which is all that's being built. By encouraging the construction of high, dense housing, Lakewood merely supplies yet more housing for professionals who will more than likely be commuting into Denver for work. Yet those new residents will expect full City services. As even Mayor Paul has stated, the impact of residences is a net loss to the City versus the impact of businesses (net gain in tax monies). If that isn't bad enough (1) Lakewood serves Denver's obligations and (2) Lakewood loses money doing it, there's (3) Lakewood's current citizens are totally disregarded and City staff don't give a rip about the impact on our lives through congestion and gridlock! Union Boulevard is one of the very rare north-south travel corridors in west Lakewood, and the City is quite pleased to turn it into a traffic nightmare. If I'd had time to read the traffic study, I'm sure it states the end result of City zoning would be a D- or F grade for the corridor.

Please downzone plans. We need businesses, not more apartments.

07/06/2020 9:45 am
Denise Luepschen
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

As a resident of Lakewood for 18 years, I've seen the Union Blvd corridor grow exponentially with primarily residential building rather than commercial building that would generate more revenue for Lakewood and enable more residents to commute locally rather than to Denver, Boulder and Englewood. This residential growth has created exponentially more traffic as well as accidents. In addition, new housing has taken away views from certain neighborhoods, thus devaluing the homes in those areas. And new housing has not taken the form of condos, which would potentially give residents the opportunity for more access to reasonably priced (theoretically) home ownership.

I strongly urge the planning commission to limit the residential/apartment growth in the Union Blvd corridor to mitigate the negative effects of this type of housing. In addition, I encourage the planning commission to actively court businesses into the corridor to increase job opportunities in the area.

07/02/2020 5:01 pm
Leigh Gallo
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

As a resident of Lakewood for 23 years, I have witnessed increased building of single family homes, apartments and condos to the extent that the increased traffic on our roads has brought unmitigated congestion. I fervently request the density of the Union corridor between Alameda and 6th Avenue be curtailed as much as possible.
For 10 years I worked in office spaces on Union while living in Lakewood. My commute time to work more than doubled from 5 minutes to 12 minutes over that time period.
Whenever we have a heavy snow storm or a fire on Green Mountain, the traffic to either get home or get away from home on the east side of Green Mountain west of Union and Alameda may come to a standstill. There is just not enough access to get off or on the mountain. Any increased density in the Union corridor will only exacerbate this situation.

06/30/2020 11:36 am
Donna L Svendsen
7 / 7 Planning Commissioners have viewed this comment

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