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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Westminster City Council conditionally approves Uplands development with additional requirements to prioritize affordable housing and public parks for the community

The Westminster City Council voted 5-2 to conditionally approve the Uplands development to move forward on Monday, December 20, 2021. A second reading for Councillor’s Bill No. 49 is tentatively scheduled for January 10, 2022, to provide final approval of the proposed rezoning. The preliminary development plan (PDP) and the master official development plan (MODP) were approved, subject to the additional conditions required for approval by City Council and agreed to by the applicant.  

City Council considered public testimony from 139 community members over three nights. Included below is the full text of the additional conditions, along with a brief explanation.  

 

The following are the additional conditions required for the approval of the rezoning, PDP, and MODP: 

  1. The applicant shall pay for one hundred percent (100%) of the costs of all required on-site and off-site water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, and other public infrastructure, without any contribution from the City, required to support the construction of Parcels A, B, C, D, and E. 
     
    The developer will pay for the entire cost of all infrastructure related to the development of Uplands.  
     

  1. The applicant shall enter into a PIA with the City that requires surety sufficient to guarantee the required on-site and off-site improvements identified in Condition 1 above for the development of Parcels A, B, C, D, and E in accordance with Section 11-6-4, W.M.C. 
     
    A public improvements agreement (PIA) ensures that the agreed upon infrastructure improvements, such as sewer lines, roadway improvements, and other utilities are completed by the developer by a certain time. If the developer doesn’t complete the improvements by the required time, the City will complete the work at the cost of the developer. The PIA provides financial security and assurance for the City and its residents that this critical infrastructure is completed in a timely manner at no-cost to residents. 
     

  1. Councillor’s Bill No. 49, the PDP, and the Parcel A MODP will become effective upon the recording of a deed in the real property records of Adams County from Pillar of Fire to Westminster OC or its assignee, such recorded deed to be provided by Westminster OC to the City. If a deed from Pillar of Fire to Westminster OC or its assignee is not recorded on or before two years from the date of approval of Councillor’s Bill No. 49, the PDP, and Parcel A MODP, they shall not become effective. For the purposes of Westminster Charter Section 8.10 only, if the rezoning is approved, second reading of the approving ordinance shall be considered to be its “effective date”. 
     
    The approval of Councillor’s Bill No. 49 related to the rezoning, the PDP, and MODP will become effective once the sale is completed and a deed of sale is recorded with Adams County. Should a deed not be recorded on or before two years following the date of approval, the items referenced will not become effective.  
     

  1. All initial future site specific ODPs for Parcels A, B, C, D, and E shall be brought to Planning Commission and City Council for review and approval.  
     
    Typically, ODPs are managed and approved by the planning division , unless it is greater than 10 acres for residential and 20 acres for commercial projects, which requires planning commission review. In this instance, City Council has directed City staff to bring forth all initial future site specific ODPs related to Uplands, regardless of size, for the Council’s review and approval to ensure the development aligns to the vision that was initially approved by Council.  
     

  1. All future site specific ODPS for Parcels A, B, C, D, and E that include a park shall contain a note that states: "Private parks shown on this ODP shall be available for use by the general public. A public access easement shall be recorded on the final plat for this ODP.” 
     
    The distinction between “public” and “private” park references ownership and management of the property. While it may be a privately owned and managed park, all parks in the City are accessible to the public. For example, while a park may be maintained by a homeowner’s association, they are not allowed to restrict access to of non-association members. This condition ensures that the privately owned and managed parks within the Uplands development will be accessible to the surrounding community. This condition also ensures that Historic Westminster will benefit from the additional 40.6 acres of park space. 
     

  1. No fewer than three hundred (300) for rent units shall be constructed within the PDP and made available to households earning no more than eighty percent (80%) of area median income, adjusted for household size. To ensure their long term affordability, such units shall be subject to deed restrictions consistent with the entity providing the tax credit or other assistance for the construction of such units, which deed restriction shall be the maximum required by Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Maiker Housing Partners, or other entity providing the tax credit or other assistance, but no less than thirty-five (35) years.  The applicant shall work with the City’s Office of Economic Development as appropriate to fulfill this condition. The permitting and commencement of construction of the affordable units shall be completed prior to the permitting of the 1,176th residential unit, subject to allocation of necessary tax credits. 
     
    While the Westminster Municipal Code currently does not require affordable housing, this condition requires the construction of at least 300 units of affordable housing within the Uplands development that will be made available to households earning no more than 80% of the area median income, which is currently $79,900 for a family of four. It also requires that construction of affordable housing units begin prior to the construction of the 1,176th residential unit in the development which represents the midway point of the proposed development. The affordable housing units will also have deed restrictions to ensure it remain affordable housing for at least 35 years. This condition will ensure that affordable housing will begin in the early phases of the development and make housing available to our most vulnerable residents sooner rather than later.   

 

  1. One hundred percent (100%) of the proposed PLD and view corridors as shown in the PDP shall be dedicated to the City concurrent with the approval of the first plat for Parcel A. A mutually acceptable maintenance agreement shall be entered into between the applicant and the City to address maintenance until the land is developed for its intended use. 
     
    The public land dedication (PLD) consisting of 40.6 acres will be transferred to the City at the first plat for Parcel A. Typically, PLDs are transferred in phases as the property is developed. The City and the developer will jointly manage and maintain the dedicated land to ensure residents will have access to trails and green space as soon as possible. The City and the developer will engage the community to learn more about their desired uses to design green spaces that suit the community’s needs. During public comment, the community voiced a desire for community gardens, walking trails, and other similar amenities. These are all suitable uses for the PLD while the City develops a long-term vision for the PLD along with the community.  

 

  1. If the City Council directs the formation of a special revenue fund for this project in order to direct all payments of fees in lieu of land dedication paid by the applicant to be used solely within the boundaries of this PDP for improvements within the PDP, then the applicant shall pay to the City one hundred percent (100%) of the estimated fee in lieu amount concurrent with the approval of the first plat for Parcel A. If additional dwelling units beyond 2,350 units are approved, the applicant shall provide the required additional fees in lieu at the time of ODP approval. 
     
    Along with the public land dedication, the fee-in-lieu for all parcels will be transferred to the City at the time of the approval of the first plat for Parcel A. Typically, the fee-in-lieu is transferred in phases as the property is developed. In this instance, the entire fee will be transferred at the beginning of the development and preserved in an account dedicated to park and open space improvements within the Uplands development.  

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