A developer wants to put a hotel, retail, restaurants and more in the El Rancho area, but doing so will take a lot of work to get approvals from a host of agencies.
Northstar Ventures, based in Evergreen, wants to put commercial development on the RTD Park-n-Ride, Foothills Fire, Alpine Rescue and former Observatory Café properties. It also wants to reconfigure Rainbow Hill Road, so it intersects with Highway 40 closer to the entrance to El Rancho Brewery.
According to documents filed with Jefferson County, Foothills Fire and Alpine Rescue would be relocated to the furthest west portion of the property.
Northstar has had its pre-application meeting with Jeffco Planning & Zoning to show its conceptual plans, and planner Brittany Gada indicated that what the developer wants to do won’t be easy.
“What they are proposing is one of the most complex requests we’ve seen,” Gada said, noting that the developer would need to work with the Colorado Department of Transportation, the county, RTD, Foothills Fire and the Evergreen Metropolitan District to get approvals.
When the Evergreen Metro District saw the proposal for a 100-plus room hotel, the board decided to impose a moratorium on new water taps in the El Rancho area until it updates its water master plan, which should take six to eight months.
“We don’t know if our systems are capable of handling (the development) without adversely impacting everybody else,” EMD General Manager Dave Lighthart said. “The EMD board felt it prudent to (stop) tap sales until they had information at their disposal to review and analyze.”
CDOT has provided initial comments on the proposal because it owns the RTD Park-n-Ride property and the fire station property, and according to a response from CDOT to the county, “The parcel on which the fire district occupies and maintains was originally offered with a caveat that it would return to CDOT if it was abandoned. To assume it can simply be moved and the parcel built upon is false. There are once again existing agreements to review, revisit and recraft.”
CDOT also would have jurisdiction on any changes made to the intersection of Rainbow Hill Road and Highway 40.
Some of the properties are zoned commercial, while others are zoned agricultural. Gada said the developer would need to request a rezoning to planned development.
The next step, should the developer decide to move forward with the proposal, is a community meeting. One has not been scheduled as of press time.