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After objections from neighbors, council moves cautiously on Southgate plans

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — Brighton City Council moved ahead with plan approval for the Village at Southgate development during its Feb. 4 meeting, but not without some stipulations. 

In approving the overall development plan and first reading of the planned unit of development, council asked developers to take a closer look at residents’ concerns before the final plat and development agreement was brought back to council. Residents were most concerned with the proposed lot sizes, home density, drainage and buffers for the 300-plus-home project. 

Residents also expressed their dismay that the company brought the same proposal before council after hearing their complaints during last weeks planning commission meeting.

Lorax Construction representative Fred Cooke said they heard the residents concerns and are now working on some solutions to address those concerns. 

“We don’t have a firm solution right now because these issues were raised at last weeks meeting and it’s our intent to have a neighborhood meeting prior to our final plat which is really where we’re going to layout the individual lots and continue that section of development to address the neighbors concerns,” he said. 

The 80-acre parcel of property is located on South 120th Avenue between Peoria Street and Potomac Street and is currently zoned for mixed use, with the initial ODP proposing a blend of commercial or multi-family residential development and 150 single family residential developments.

Three points of entry and exits would be located along 120th Avenue, with a signal installed at the entry across from Prairie View Middle School. The initial plan also allows for a  neighborhood park, pedestrian trails and a small area of open space. 

In addition to concerns about traffic flows and drainage, Councilwoman Cynthia Martinez was amazed at how much would fit into that 80 acre piece of property and voiced her concerns over putting that many homes in that area. Councilman Ken Kreutzer also expressed concern over the amount of people the development could hold and asked what kind of a population would fit in there. 

Cooke said there are other places in the Commerce City and Brighton areas with similar density’s and lot sizes of 6,500 to 9,000 square feet. Associate Planner Hazel Leem said Brighton Crossing and Brighton East Farms have similar-sized lots and are comparable to the project. 

Leem said planning department perceives each unit would account for 2.9 persons, and with the potential for 300 units as part of the development, that the property could hold a population of 885 people. 

Councilman Rex Bell sympathized with the developer, saying developers have to go through an extensive hearing and development plan process with the city.

“I hear the developer say three times tonight, say he is anxious to meet with Fuller Estates — the neighbors — and endeavor to work out some of these problems,” he said, adding that the residents and the developer would have to listen to each other and work together. 

Councilwoman Joan Kniss said she appreciated the rational discussion — as opposed to an emotional one — brought forward by residents in regards to the development.