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News: Features & Opinions Archive (2014)

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Date: April 8, 2014

Open Space Local Grants

On February 11, the Board of County Commissioners approved the 2014 Local Grants as recommended by the Open Space Advisory Committee. Funds for the grants come from the County share of Lottery proceeds and Open Space Sales Tax Funds. Non-profits, recreation districts, and cities are eligible to apply for grants. Grants from the lottery proceeds must be used on publicly owned lands. Approximately $1.2 million are available for these annual grants.

Grants to non-profits included:

Beaver Ranch Community, $10,125 for improvements to the caretaker residence at Conifer Community Park (Beaver Ranch.) The improvements include insulation, some mold remediation, kitchen renovation with new appliances, and a new water heater.

Evergreen Audubon Society, $5,475 for a sign at the entrance to Evergreen Lake Park, two mural panels, and two new exhibits.

Grants to Park & Recreation Districts and Cities included:

Apex Park & Rec. Dist., $225,000 to partially fund 8 pickle ball courts, restrooms, and shelters at the Simms Street Center ( at 82nd).

Columbine Knolls Rec Dist., $11,375 to partially fund improvements at Marker Park including new swing set, Freenote outdoor instruments, and a separate water line to the restrooms.

Evergreen Park & Rec Dist., $79,000 to partially fund replacement and expansion of the boardwalk along the lake and to hard surface the trail to the Nature Center.

Foothills Park & Rec Dist., $100,000 to partially fund replacement of the playground at the Ridge Recreation Center.

Ken-Caryl Ranch Metro Dist., $42,733 to partially fund replacement of the playground at the Community Park.

South Suburban Park & Rec Dist., $6,125 to partially fund a port-o-let enclosure at TrailMark Park.

City of Arvada, $55,000 to partially fund development of Griffith-Station Community Park, 52nd & Carr.

City of Golden, $223,788 to partially fund a trail along 44th Avenue between Golden and Salvia Street.

City of Lakewood, $100,000 to assist in remediation to Bear Creek Lake Park from the 2013 flood damage.

Five weeks after the Advisory Committee had recommended the Master Plan on January 9, a group from the "development community" expressed concerns to the Commissioners and testified at the February 11 Commissioner meeting where approval of the Master Plan was scheduled. The expressed concern was that they had not had time to review the maps. The Commissioners then delayed approval until they could convey specific concerns to Open Space. They were then invited by Tom Hoby to meet personally and that was declined. Tom then requested that they have comments to Open Space by February 24, prior to the March 6, OSAC meeting. The comments were received February 27.

One of the concerns was that some of the balloons surrounding areas containing rare plants and wildlife could be interpreted that all of the land within the balloon was potential for acquisition by Open Space. As such could impact property values and would be considered during rezoning. In actuality, the balloons were from the biodiversity study done by Natural Heritage Program at CSU and are used so that the exact location of the rare plant or wildlife is not shown. Also the Open Space Master Plan is never considered during a rezoning application.

A second concern was the ability of a land owner who did not want Open Space to consider their property, to have the Master Plan maps show exclusions. Open Space has had a policy since the 2008 Master Plan than any landowner could request that their property not be considered. Until this February, no land owner had requested exclusion. A statement to this effect is included in the 2014 Master Plan text. Since the maps are conceptual, staff and OSAC felt that showing these exclusions on a map would serve no purpose.

At the March 6, OSAC meeting language was added to the Master Plan explaining that the maps contained information relative to all of Jefferson County and that the Open Space Acquisition Criteria focus on land that usually is different than lands suitable for commercial and residential development.

At the Board of County Commissioners on March 18, one of the developers testified that there should be no policy of exclusion, and thanked Open Space for the language that they developed to meet his concerns. The person who asked to have his lands excluded thanked Open Space for agreeing to exclude his lands and to show this on the maps when they are finalized. The Commissioners then approved the Master Plan as presented by Open Space.

MORE: Open Space Documents

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