Council exploring ‘Ridge at 38’ business district concept

Hugh Johnson
Posted

Wheat Ridge City Council heard a proposal from Wheat Ridge 2020 for the creation of a business improvement district for 38th Avenue at the March 17 study session.

Last year Wheat Ridge 2020 studied the plausibility of having a business district for the 38th Avenue corridor, aka “Ridge at 38.” The district would be owned and run by the merchants and property owners of the businesses along 38th Avenue, with the goal of making physical and marketing improvements to the corridor using private funds.

Wheat Ridge 2020 hired Progressive Urban Management Associates, or PUMA, to lead the study. PUMA’s President, Brad Segal, and Vice President, Anna Jones, were on hand to explain the business district. According to Segal, the district would range from Marshall to Wadsworth and would be comprised of 44 commercial parcels and 37 property owners. District members would pay an annual assessment fee equal to $.05 per square foot of land plus $.05 per square foot of building. The district would pull an estimated $62,500 annually, a number Segal said council should consider matching.

Segal outlined three steps that the city must take to the form the district. First, property owners must start a petition in favor of the district’s creation. The petition must represent a majority of owners in acreage and value. During the petition process, Wheat Ridge 2020 and PUMA will ask property and business owners to nominate people for the improvement district’s board.

Second, city council must approve the district’s creation at a formal public hearing where proponents and opponents can voice their opinion. Finally, those in the district’s immediate vicinity must vote to allow its formation due to guidelines set in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights commonly known as TABOR.

District Two Councilman Zach Urban had reservations about matching the funds. He wanted to make sure that council had a say in what the district can and cannot do. Jones told him that the district would have to make an annual report to council.

Council consented to move forward with the formation of the business improvement district.

There was also a general agreement that the city would match the $62,500 of the district’s annual assessment fees.