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Share Your Voice 1
Dear Planning and Zoning Committee and Commissioners:
I just learned this evening about the proposed rezoning of the Dinosaur Ridge area. I could simply copy the letters of opposition provided by Dinosaur Ridge Neighbors, which were very well written and stated the points that should be stated. However, let’s just cut to the heart of this for just a moment: the fact is, we have an area designated as a National Landmark that has a history of literally millions of years. Millions of years of history and we now have a proposal for…get this…construction of motorcycle and auto dealerships directly adjacent to Dinosaur Ridge.
Please ask yourselves: do we really need to do this? Are these dealerships, which will surely contribute nothing but a tacky and commercial aura to an area that deserves only to be left alone, something that can be built elsewhere? There are plenty of vacant lots in the Lakewood vicinity that could accommodate the urgently needed motorcycle dealership. Does this proposal indicate progress, or are we actually regressing when we chip away at the deep character of an area that is so rich in history and continually yields fantastic contributions to science?
I urge you to reject this insulting proposal.
Share Your Voice 2
I would like to voice my objection to the plan to rezone and allow commercial development in Rooney Valley, particularly at the Northwest and Southeast corners of W. Alameda Parkway and C-470.
When I worked in Littleton and lived in Lakewood, I would stop every evening on my commute home and hike Dinosaur Ridge, as the sun was setting. It took me an hour, back and forth. It was incredibly beautiful and relaxing. I felt a great sense of communion with nature, and I was aware that this land had seen dinosaurs walking right where I was, seventy million years ago. It gave me a feeling of perspective, and helped me to understand my own life in a larger context.
Cities come and go. Ugly businesses come and go. Nature is forever, if we safeguard it now and for future generations.
Please go up there and take a hike before making your decision. Thank you.
Share Your Voice 3
Dear Ms. Gutherless and Honorable Board of County Commissioners:
I am writing to oppose rezoning of the parcels located near C-470 and West Alameda Parkway (Case Numbers 16-108148RZ and 16-108156RZ). I am a lifelong resident of Lakewood, Colorado and have lived for approximately forty years within miles of the parcels at issue. I attended elementary, junior high, and high school near these parcels. I have bicycled and hiked in the vicinity many, many times. All that said, I have a deep personal connection to the area, and I strongly urge Jefferson County to deny the request to rezone these parcels.
My opposition to rezoning stems, of course, from my emotional attachment to the natural beauty of these parcels. There are many reasons to deny the request for rezoning, but I would like to highlight the two that I feel are most important.
First, keeping these parcels wild is simply the right thing to do. Leaders from all segments of society—scientific leaders, religious leaders, and politicians—agree that stewardship of the land is one of the most crucial responsibilities facing humanity. Over fifty years ago, ecologist Aldo Leopold discussed a question faced by all Americans: "whether a . . . higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free" like "winds and sunsets." He explained that, for him, it was not, that "the opportunity to see geese" was "more important [to him] than [to see] television." More recently, Pope Francis observed that "[t]he Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish." And President George W. Bush, quoting President Roosevelt, asserted that "[o]f all the questions which can come before the nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us."
The parcels at issue are the very types of landscapes these leaders had in mind when they made these comments. The foothills around Dinosaur Ridge have the "wind" and "sunsets" Mr. Leopold so cherished—not to mention the "things natural, wild and free," like deer and birds and coyotes, which he rightly deemed more important than modern amusements like television. And, although Pope Francis' mention of "pile[s] of filth" and "rubbish" might be a little strident when applied to the Dinosaur Ridge proposal, I would certainly lament the loss of a once beautiful landscape to the buildings, parking lots, artificial lighting, congested roadways, and, indeed, litter that the proposed development would undoubtedly produce. Finally, one must be moved by President Bush's comments: there is nothing more important, save the preservation of the United States of America itself, than leaving our land in good condition for our descendants. If Jefferson County approves this rezoning proposal, our descendants will never be able to appreciate a serene bicycle ride or hike near Dinosaur Ridge, surrounded by wild things and open space, in the same way I did as a child.
Second, keeping these parcels wild is the rational thing to do. The Jefferson County Master Plan (the "Plan") wisely recognizes that there must be a balance between low-density, non-invasive land uses on the one hand and high-density, intensive land uses on the other. In particular, the Plan envisions using open space to protect the County's unique features, requires that zoning decisions in one area take into consideration zoning in the surrounding areas, and mandates that parcels adjacent to open space be zoned for only low-intensity activities.
The proposed rezoning does not comport with the Plan. The parcels at issue are located in an indisputably "unique" location. They are in an area that contains the fossilized remains of animals that lived millions of years ago—an area that has been named a National Natural Landmark. They are also in an area that comprises an important geological transitional zone where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains. Distinctive red sandstones, like those at the world-famous (and nearby) Red Rocks Amphitheatre, dot the area. Permitting the construction of automobile dealerships, gas stations, car washes, hotels, and parking lots would fly in the face of the Plan's mandate to protect these unique natural features.
As an additional matter, the parcels in question are located in the midst of Green Mountain Open Space, Dinosaur Ridge, and Dakota Ridge Open Space. Changing the zoning of these parcels, embedded as they are inside of open space, does not make for good land-use planning. The proposed uses would interfere with recreational activities in the area. They would cause light, noise, and air pollution. They would increase the demands on an already overextended water supply. And they would cause excess traffic on roads that were simply never designed to accommodate such demands. Put simply, the proposed uses are totally out of keeping with the area. Permitting them would disregard the Plan's mandates to zone with an eye toward consistency with zoning in surrounding areas and to zone parcels adjacent to open space for only low-intensity uses.
In closing, I want to return to Mr. Leopold's comment that geese are better than television sets. I believe that Coloradoans, and especially those who live near the parcels in question, take this sentiment to heart. A grassy field is better than a gas station. Fresh air is better than a parking lot. Open space is better than congested roads. The hogbacks winding to the horizon are better than an automobile dealership. Leave the hotels and car washes for other parts of the metro area. In an era of road rage, mass shootings, and a suicide epidemic, the imperative would seem to be for more, not less, open space. Granting the proposal at issue would not only contradict the parameters of Jefferson County's Master Plan, it would undermine residents' mental health and destroy part of the very landscape that draws people to Colorado and the west side of Denver in the first place.