The 685 Peak View Rezoning Application

Coming Together

On Dec 1.2022 neighbors with property adjacent to 685 Peak View Dr. received a notice letter from a local developer outlining his request to rezone 685 Peak View Dr, Estes Park. Most had expected the property to be developed as per the existing zoning, but changed to something as drastic as 8 times the denisty. Read on.....

Good Neighbors in Action!

As with most neighborhoods, the word spread fast. Neighbors were upset. Most were concerned about the meeting date (12/15/2022) being over the holidays while many were gone spending time with family. Others felt this was by design, was a strategy by the developer(and possibly Town Staff), was improper, and began looking into citizen rights per the Town Code. The code review revealed the developer had not followed appropriate notification rules with signs and newspaper notices outside the rules of the code. The letter residents recieved even had the zoning references incorrect and the "Statement of Intent" filed with the Town was dated after the notice letter (12/3/2022). His application was considered a "pre-application" and he had not funded the application. Even with these deficiencies, the Town Planning Commission was already prepared to make a decision (was on the agenda) at the January 17,2023 meeting. A petition was prepared immediately, signed by 53 neighbors within a short period of time, and presented to the Town Planning Department requesting a change of the "official" meeting date to mid January. The Planning Department acknowleged the insufficiencies and said the developer would need to hold another meeting. As of January 22, 2023, no meeting has been rescheduled. The developer still held the "unoffical" meeting on December 15, 2022 with a large number of residents attending. That meeting revealed even more shocking realities and further developed the bond among the neighborhood, sowing seeds of distrust towards the Town Leaders and lowering the prospects of being able to work with the developer.

A Common Concern

The group of concerned citizens which began Preserve Estes Park was first galvanized in opposition to the requested rezoning for 7.62 relatively undeveloped acres at 685 Peak View Drive. However, in talking with others in Estes Park they discovered that the concern for overly hasty rezoning and apparently reckless development was an issue in almost every neighborhood in the Town. Preserve Estes Park enthusiastically supports workforce housing when wisely developed and it is not against all growth. However, the citizens forming Preserve Estes Park are opposed to destructive growth for the sake of growth and adding density just so more buildings can be built. Development without consideration of other important factors pertaining to each individual site undermines the assets that make the development attractive in the first place. People do not come to Estes Park because it is like other places. They come because of its natural beauty, wildlife, and unique mountain experience.

The Peak View Example

The rezoning request for 685 Peak View Drive is an example of the problem. That address is in an area zoned for one home per acre and is surrounded by neighborhoods with similar zoning. Thus, in keeping with the present zoning and “feel” of the area, 7 homes could be built on the property in question if it were all developed. That would be the owner’s decision and right, and no opposition would have occurred. However, the petition to rezone was (and still is) to build 39 homes in that space! From 7 to 39! What's even more disturbing, the proposed zoning would allow 1 home per 5000 square feet which could allow up to 66 homes on this site.

Such a development would radically change the complexion and beauty of the area. When questioned, the developer explained that he had been asked by the Town to add more density and affordability to the area. No one in the Town leadership has confirmed this, but neither will anyone deny it. In terms of affordability, the prices asked for these homes would be vastly higher than those needing workforce housing could afford. In addition, the higher density would not only betray all the homeowners in the area who purchased homes assuming the current zoning. It would also have devastating consequences on:

  •      the extensive wildlife in the area, by creating a barrier to their movement up and down Prospect Mountain, reducing food availability and breeding spaces, and subjecting them to dangerous levels of vehicle traffic.
  •      the natural processes of water absorption and drainage, with resultant damage to natural vegetation. Undisturbed, these processes aid in natural fire and erosion control. With the soil covered by a huge percentage of impermeable surfaces, this natural protection will be lost.
  •      the ability for the Town to control fires, due to the sheer density of the proposed development;
  •      pedestrian safety as the heavy traffic during popular seasons along Peak View Dr. is increased, endangering the many walkers and hikers;
  •      vehicle safety as traffic from the owners of the 39 new homes adds to the traffic of those already entering and exiting at the blind corner serving the neighborhood;
  •      the beauty and quality of life of the area, as an essentially big city style development is inserted into a mountain community.

In the process of opposing this development, the citizens involved discovered (as noted above) that many other areas of Town shared similar concerns and fears. Plus, when the group asked senior Town leadership about this rezoning proposal, they were told (1) that Town leaders could not discuss pending development petitions and (2) that Town leaders did not have to do impact studies before a decision was reached!

Informal Group Organization
Out of these multiple concerns, Preserve Estes Park was born. The members are working to stop the reckless rezoning of 685 Peak View Drive, but now also to network those concerned with these and other challenges to the Estes Park and Estes Valley area. They seek to insure that ordinary citizens are not left out of the decisions impacting them and that the character, wildlife, environment and quality of life of our area is preserved. If you share these concerns, we welcome your participation in Preserve Estes Park.


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