LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – More than a year after Lakewood’s iconic White Fence Farm restaurant shut down, plans for development have been put on hold. Residents who neighbor the property are appealing a decision made by the Lakewood city planning director that green lights a developer’s proposal to build two four-story buildings with a total of more than 200 units.
Mike Beery’s home is feet from the White Fence Farm property and is among those involved in the appeal.
“My parents and I would come here and go to dinner,” he told CBS4. “It’s sad to see it gone, but we are also concerned about the quality of life in this neighborhood we bought in to.”
His concerns are echoed by many of his fellow neighbors. Debora Emert’s family has been in the neighborhood since it was started and she believes the size of the proposal is inappropriate for the area.
“It was a real surprise to find out that even though the restaurant had closed in December … the developer had been in communication with Lakewood since early 2018,” Emert said.
Together with dozens of others they have formed a neighborhood group known as “UNIFIED under the Wilson Property ODP” (with ODP standing for “original development plan”). That original plan put in place in 1982 sets height limits, a unit cap and requires architectural review. It’s at the basis of their appeal.
Among other violations, Beery says the plan from the Crescent Communities developer would far exceed the density limit.
“It violates the agreement because there are only 83 units left in the entire area,” he said.
At the appeal hearing on Wednesday night, the city argued that while the original development plan was upheld when the city made zoning changes in 2012, the intent was not to limit development.
“In most cases those rules were very unique to a 70s or 80s or 90s development, and when that development was bulldozed and recreated council specifically put in language that (said) ‘Let’s revert to the base zone,'” said Lakewood City Planning Director Travis Parker.
Attorneys led most of the discussion at the hearing, but residents were on hand to ensure their voices would be heard when it comes to development happening in their backyard.
“At some point as citizens we need to stand up for our rights, and that’s what we are doing,” Emert said.
At the end of the hearing at least two board of adjustment members expressed their desire to uphold the appeal but as a whole the board decided to make an official ruling at a later date. That will probably happen next week.