Arvadans have a new online option to keep track of developments in the city after the introduction of an interactive story map on the city web page this summer.

The map at breaks developments into four categories: Upcoming Public Hearings, Applications Under Review, Projects Under Construction and Variances. For every project, the map provides information such as floor plans or maps provided by the developer and the date and time of any upcoming hearings.

The idea comes just months after the city council approved a new Land Development Code, through which more projects will be on a quicker approval path that includes administrative approval instead of a public hearing.

This was one reason the team wanted to provide this extra medium for citizens to learn more about ongoing developments, said Ryan Stachelski, Arvada’s community and economic development director.

“We thought people would not hear about cases as often as they did in the past,” he said. “This really helps with transparency and getting the word out.”

Cindi Kreutzer with grassroots group Arvada for ALL the People agreed.

“This is definitely a step in the right direction toward achieving the goals of Arvada for ALL the People,” she said, specifically referring to the group’s main goal of heightening transparency in Arvada. 

Further, the city wanted to provide better signage on the properties being considered for development, Stachelski said. The city team is required to post signage on such properties.

“The signs we used had too much information on it that was very hard to read. We wanted to change to metal signs and make the letters bigger so you could see it as you were driving by,” Stachelski said.

Now, instead of including the information previously shown, the signs will include some information and point to the story map, where residents can find other details. Developers, who are required to notify nearby neighbors of upcoming projects, will also have a requirement to include a link to the story map in that notification.

The website will be updated weekly.

“I’m really proud of the folks that thought of this and how the city’s embracing it,” Stachelski said. “I don’t think there are many cities that are doing this, to this level, and I’m really proud of where Arvada is at.”