The saga continues in downtown Golden as the city planning commission issued yet another continuance for the beleaguered CoorsTek 9th Street Redevelopment project.
This is the historic Colorado company’s fourth continuance since submitting its voluminous development plan to the city more than a year ago.
While questions surrounding parking, increased downtown traffic and affordable housing still linger, close to 20 individuals came forward at the five-hour April 18 meeting to support the Coors family and the proposed five-block mixed-use commercial district.
“I’m relatively new to the Golden community, but the Coors family is not,” said Virginia Ortiz, Golden-based Go Farm executive director. “This is a Golden family doing right by Golden. These are not folks that are wanting to seek a variance on any of these zoning codes, but rather they are going well beyond the requirements of the zoning code. They are providing affordable housing to folks who need affordable housing in order to maintain their employment in Golden. That’s not a requirement of the code, but they are doing it. They are dedicating 40% of the project to open space, and that is definitely not a requirement of the code.”
CoorsTek representative Dan Cohen reminded commissioners who seemed overly concerned with exact breakouts of site usage that the company’s proposed redevelopment plan is a master plan and broader in scope.
“It’s less about the use going inside a building more about the quality of a place and how it fits into its context.
The project’s first phase will be the new global headquarters for CoorsTek, which Cohen said is the whole foundation and premise of the project. Everything else — including workforce housing — is to be developed around that.
The residential housing issue has been a sticky wicket for both the city and the applicant. CoorTek has offered to deliver a specified number of deed-restricted workforce housing units tied to the number of market value units built, something the company is not required to do by code.
Some feel there is a greater need for affordable housing than workforce housing.
Dave Schuey, a long-time Golden resident, former city council member at large, who at one time served on the Golden Urban Renewal Authority, cautioned planning commissioners that they have a very important project on their hands, perhaps one of the most important in the history of the downtown area.
“In my opinion, you have a project in front of you that has been well-thought-out, and has the financial backing and commitment of the Coors family,” he said. “I prefer not to see this property developed on a piece-meal basis by other developers who may not have the financial means or commitment to the Golden community as the Coors family has. Remember, change is mandatory; progress is optional.”
But for City Planning Commissioner Patricia Evans, the support was nice but off track.
“When we look at a rezoning, the rezoning applies to the property, not the applicant, and not to the family,” she said. “There’s no guarantee that the Coors family or CoorsTek would be the ones to develop this property—ownership could change.”
Unable to complete their project discussion, the planning commission voted unanimously to continue the meeting at 6 p.m. on April 28.