A Timeline of Events that led to the C-470/Alameda Rezoning Issue
In other words, a look back at how the heck we got in this mess!!
(with a nod to the special history of the area)
1877 – First fossils found at Dinosaur Ridge – this was 60 years prior to the Alameda road cut in the hogback that revealed the well preserved Cretaceous dinosaur track site.
1973 – National Park Service designates this area as the Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark.
1975 – Rooney Ranch is added to the National Register of Historical Places.
1987 – Colorado State Fair presets the Rooney Family with the Centennial Farm citation and Historic Structures award.
1996-1999- Construction of an interchange at C-470/Alameda has been contemplated since the inception of C-470. The environmental work in support of the interchange is completed during this time frame but the interchange is not constructed due to lack of funding. The environmental documentation concludes that the preferred option is construction of the interchange in conjunction with closure of Alameda over Dinosaur Ridge (i.e the hogback) to vehicular traffic. Basically, Alameda over Dinosaur Ridge would be closed to vehicular traffic upon completion of the C-470/Alameda interchange.
September 1998 – February 1999 – Creation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Lakewood, Town of Morrison, Jefferson County and Friends of Dinosaur Ridge (FODR) for statutory protection of Dinosaur Ridge, especially in anticipation of the construction of the C-470 / Alameda interchange.
April 2007 – Jeffco Board of County Commissioners (BCC) approves rezoning of the NW and SE parcels of the interchange from Agriculture (A-2) to Corridor District Medium Retail (CD-RM) in spite of a recommendation of denial from the Planning & Zoning Department and admonishments against the rezoning from referral agencies.
October 2007 – Jeffco BCC approves a $6 million dollar loan to the newly formed Green Tree Metro District to fund construction of the C-470/Alameda Interchange. The board of Green Tree is made up of the Three Dinos partners. The boundary of the Green Tree Metro District appears to exclusively encompass the C-470/Alameda interchange property that is soon to be purchased by Three Dinos. The loan agreement between Jeffco and Green Tree Metro District to fund construction of the interchange is executed via an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA). Note the total cost to construct the interchange was roughly $22 million.
October 2007 – After funding is finally secured, construction begins on the C470 / Alameda interchange. Ramp intersections and multiple walls are designed and constructed to avoid impacts to the adjacent Rooney Ranch Historic District.
2008 – Now that the C-470/Alameda interchange in constructed, Alameda over Dinosaur Ridge (i.e. the hogback) is closed to vehicular traffic per the various commitments that have been in place since the 1990s.
January 2008 - Three Dinos buys land surrounding the C-470/Alameda interchange from the Rooney family for approximately $3.5M. The purchase includes the NW and SE parcels (based on the following Denver Post news article it appears that deal has been in the works for awhile).
2008 / 2009 - Three Dinos sues Jeffco for rights to reopen Alameda over Dinosaur Ridge. Although it is clearly outlined in the MOU from 1998 that the road is in Jeffco control for the statutory protection of the Ridge, the county settles out of court to ensure they maintain control of the road. Note the majority of the information about the lawsuit comes from several news articles and a newsletter that were published in 2010. This newsletter published in winter 2009 provides some background on the legal challenge, scroll to Page 5 and read the paragraph titled "Concerns."
June 2009- The IGA between Green Tree and Jeffco is amended for the first time. The amendment details the repayment obligations of the loan to construct the C-470/Alameda Interchange.
December 2009 – Jeffco settles with Three Dinos out of court, resulting in the Jefferson County Open Space Advisory Committee purchasing 19 acres of the NW parcel from Three Dinos for $1.4M (about 40% of the price Three Dinos paid for both parcels). One of the partners in Three Dinos, is a former long-time Open Space Advisory Committee Chairman. The 19 acres encompass a small percentage of the total area and appears to be undesirable to develop (i.e. the topography is steep and in a floodplain) but the price tag reflects that of “premium market” value property at the time.
2011 – Jeffco updates the Comprehensive Master Plan (CMP) adding the C-470 / Alameda Activity Center to the Central Plains Area Plan. Although this area, which includes the NW and SE parcels, is surrounded almost entirely by open space and numerous cultural, historical and archaeological resources, it is deemed “prime” for higher intensity uses.
January 2011- Jeffco BCC approves another amendment to the IGA between Jeffco and Green Tree Metro District. The amendment essentially postpones the first repayment of the 2007 loan until 2021 “due to the economic downturn and lack of development in the Rooney Valley.”
May 2012 – Jefferson County approves the Colorow Council Tree and Rooney Ranch Picnic Site for historic landmark status. These significant cultural and historic landmarks are located near the NW parcel.
April 2016 – After nearly a decade of struggling to attract development at the NW and SE parcels under the existing CD-RM zoning, Three Dinos submits two rezoning applications to allow additional uses including car and motorcycle dealerships on these parcels. The applicant states the following for both the NW and SE Parcels in the rezoning application cover letters, “The property has been marketed to no avail since it received commercial zoning roughly nine years ago.” (Please click on highlighted link and scroll to page 6, Conclusion)
This timeline was compiled by Dinosaur Ridge Neighbors following detailed research. The document is based on best available information that is publically accessible. We have included links to reference documents/sources to the best of our ability. Any clarifications or additions are welcome. Please send your comments to us at firstname.lastname@example.org