Copart, an online vehicle auction company, wants to buy the Bandimere Speedway property along C-470 in Jefferson County for a storage facility.
The company hosted a community meeting attended by more than 160 people on Nov. 9 to explain its plan to annex the 125-acre speedway property from unincorporated Jefferson County into the Town of Morrison. Then Copart would rezone the property to a planned development to allow the business.
Parking lots along Rooney Road on the south end of Bandimere Speedway, which are on 20 acres already within the Morrison town limits, would be rezoned to allow restaurants and retail uses.
Residents who spoke at the meeting — some from the Town of Morrison, some from Red Rocks Ranch and Solterra in the City of Lakewood, and others from unincorporated Jeffco — had questions about why Copart wanted to annex into the Town of Morrison and why the storage facility would be good for the area.
Copart has had a pre-application meeting with Morrison officials, but it has not yet filed an annexation application. When the annexation application is complete, the request will go before the Morrison Planning Commission for a recommendation and the Board of Trustees for a decision. Both the Planning Commission and the Board of Trustees conduct hearings to get community input before making decisions.
The annexation process could take about six months.
The iconic Bandimere Speedway closed in October. It accommodated 28,500 spectators at more than 130 events a year with nearly 30,000 competitors each season. The Bandimere family announced last April that it would close the race track and look for a new, larger location, one that had access to sewer and water, something Bandimere Speedway never had in its 65-year history.
Bandimere Speedway President John Bandimere Jr. spoke to the crowd, explaining that the changing environment around the race track made it difficult to expand, which is why it wanted to sell the property to Copart.
“Copart will be a respectful neighbor,” Bandimere said. “I speak for my family. We are sad to leave this place. … The address 3051 S. Rooney Road will always have a special place in our hearts.”
Bandimere said Copart’s proposal was good for the Town of Morrison.
“Morrison needs income, and that income will come from those 20 acres (on the south end of the speedway),” Bandimere said. “I really believe that.”
He said everyone wins with this plan.
“We need your support so we can (build a new speedway) somewhere else,” Bandimere told the crowd. “If we can’t get support, we sit and wait.”
Marcus Pachner with The Pachner Group, a consultant to Copart, said Amazon and other large companies had looked at the property but were concerned about the lack of sewer and water.
Kevin Bond, regional manager for Copart, said the company was not a stereotypical junkyard. Instead, it buys vehicles from insurance companies, financial institutions, charities and more and sells them in online auctions to used car buyers, dismantlers, dealers, body shops, salvage buyers and individuals.
Forty to 50 cars would be brought to the facility each day, and after being placed in outdoor storage, they would be sold, he said. A typical facility consists of an office building, customer parking, vehicle parking, and a shipping and receiving area.
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The business would operate from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays, so there would be no activity on weekends. Vehicles would not be dismantled on site. Bond said the business would be as unobtrusive as possible.
State-required environmental impact studies would be performed on the property, and even though the area sees a lot of hail, no structures would be constructed to keep hail from damaging vehicles.
Copart also has facilities in Littleton, Brighton, Denver and Colorado Springs.
In response to audience concerns about lighting, Bond said rather than using lighting to provide security, Copart uses infrared cameras to pick up thermal images.
He said Copart itself would not add much to sales-tax revenue for Morrison because Colorado law sends sales tax to the municipality where the buyer resides rather than where the seller resides.
Pachner said the developer thought annexing into Morrison would be the best route to go for the business. He noted that businesses usually look at options when considering new development, and Copart could stay in unincorporated Jeffco, or annex into Lakewood or Morrison.
He said since 20 acres of the Bandimere Speedway property already were in Morrison, the developer decided it made sense to annex all of the property into the town.
Benefits to Morrison and the area
Pachner said the benefits of Copart locating on the site included local employment plus less traffic, noise and lighting compared with Bandimere. He said screening would be installed to buffer the business from C-470.
While a site plan has not been developed, Pachner said walking and bicycling trails would be planned.
He hoped sewer and water could be provided to the south end of the property for retail development, something that would bring sales-tax revenue to the town, a positive addition to Morrison.
A Morrison resident suggested that Copart could help Morrison by creating a parking area and a shuttle service to bring more people into town. She said Morrison had a big parking shortage problem.
Pachner said it was important to Copart to contribute to the Town of Morrison’s motto to “Keep Morrison Morrison.”