The City Council hearing for the rezoning of the property at the southwest corner of Lowry Blvd. and Yosemite Way was held on January 10, 2022. Machebeuf High School wants to sell this property which is currently their baseball field as the field is seldom used and they need the revenue for educational programs. After two hours of discussion, public comments (54 entities opposed, 16 in support and 4 neutral) and questions by several council members, the rezoning was approved by 12 council members.
Libby Kaiser, Senior Planner with Community Planning and Development, explained how changing the zoning classification from R-4 with waivers to S-MX-5 aligns with existing plans and guidelines for this area. The Lowry Reuse Plan overrides Blueprint Denver and also made the large development review framework unnecessary. This project is consistent with the Lowry Reuse Plan. Also, the project must meet LDRC (Lowry Design Review Committee) 2020 guidelines. These guidelines look at such things as site circulation and parking; architectural character, signing, lighting, landscaping and limit building height to 4 stories in the commercial context (w/ few exceptions for 5 stories) for new construction in Lowry. Matt Oermann of United Properties, the developer, explained the project which will develop the property to be a senior living facility including active living, assisted living and memory care and will include a parking structure. They determined there is a need for this type of housing in Lowry.
Because of community outreach by the developer to LUN, the project team has agreed to include 10% low income units, create a public easement to include the existing trail on the east side of Westerly Creek (current trail is on private property), trail improvements, and a possible public recreation opportunity on site. As development moves forward the developer will work with the City planners and also DOTI (Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure) during the site plan process once the applicant submits plans of their proposed development. This will include a thorough traffic review by DOTI. In addition, there will be a community commitment agreement between the developer and Machebeuf to: obligate United Properties to sign the agreement for 10% affordable housing; obligate developer to work with the neighborhood and DOTI to help with traffic conditions; create the easement for the trail, provide amenities, maintain the trail; and create recreational programing on the site. Those supportive of the plan mentioned concern that if the senior living project were not built, the land could be redeveloped into other uses, such as another large apartment complex. Also, LUN and United Properties were complemented for promoting the idea of offering affordable units within this project. Those opposed to the project mentioned concern about traffic, safety, loss of open space and views.
Lowry residents are able to attend the monthly LDRC meetings (typically held the first Thursday of the month at 8:30 a.m.). Please see the LCMA (Lowry Community Master Association) website https://low.msihoa.co/ for more details about these meetings. The Lowry design guidelines are also on the LCMA site. The site design is an ongoing process and plans shown at previous meetings were still in the preliminary design phase.