Highlands Ranch Metro District > Frequently Asked Questions – AAPS

Highlands Ranch Senior Center Planning

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How will the Senior Center be funded?
  2. When will the board make a decision on the Highlands Ranch Parkway site?
  3. Will the board consider the next preferred site, located at the west end of Plaza Drive adjacent to the Wind Crest Retirement Community, for the construction of the Senior Center?
  4. Will construction of the Senior Center on the Highlands Ranch Parkway site impact the drainage, riparian area and wildlife in the area?
  5. Will construction of the Senior Center on the Highlands Ranch Parkway site cause excessive runoff, flooding and erosion to the drainage area or my property?
  6. I was told this parcel of open space could never be developed. What is the process for re-zoning this parcel for construction of the Senior Center?
  7. We frequently use the trail in this area. Would the existing trail be blocked or eliminated by the development of the Senior Center?
  8. Wouldn’t the Senior Center cause more traffic congestion and dangerous driving conditions at this already busy intersection of Broadway and Highlands Ranch Parkway?
  9. Why were neighbors adjacent to the proposed site at Highlands Ranch Parkway not notified and asked sooner for their input about this proposal?

1 . How will the Senior Center be funded?

Based on concept plans, the estimated construction cost for the Senior Center is $12,000,000. Funding for this project is identified in the Capital Improvement Plan.

The annual operating costs are estimated to be $602,000. With anticipated annual revenue from program fees and charges of approximately $187,900 the net annual operating cost would be $414,100. The operating expenses would be funded from property tax. If the residential assessment rate does not drop, it would not require an increase in property taxes to fund the capital or the operating costs of the proposed facility.

2. When will the board make a decision on the Highlands Ranch Parkway site?

Discussions about construction of the future Senior Center will resume after the Metro District knows the results of the 2020 property tax reassessment and the new residential assessment rate, which are expected in early 2021.

Please see the Next Steps section for more information.

3. Will the board consider the next preferred site, located at the west end of Plaza Drive adjacent to the Wind Crest Retirement Community,  for the construction of the Senior Center?

At this time the board has postponed discussions surrounding the construction of the Senior Center. The Site Evaluation Report, September 2019, identified three sites that were identified as most feasible. The three most feasible sites for the Senior Center include the Highlands Ranch Parkway site, the Plaza Drive/Erickson Boulevard site and Toepfer Park. The Plaza Drive site may be a good alternative site however the land is not owned by the Metro District and acquisition of the site would have to be negotiated. The land that is identified adjacent to Toepfer Park is owned by the Douglas County School District and acquisition of the site would have to be negotiated.

All eligible sites were thoroughly evaluated and recommendations were made based on a wide range of criteria. The Highlands Ranch Parkway site is the preferred and currently under review.

4. Will construction of the Senior Center on Highlands Ranch Parkway site impact the drainage, riparian area and wildlife in the area?

Highlands Ranch is a planned development and master plans for all aspects of land development were created and updated as the community has grown.  Development was anticipated throughout the entire community and infrastructure and drainage corridors were sized to accommodate both historic and developed flows. This property was included in these planning efforts.

Wildlife in the open spaces in Highlands Ranch are typically species that are able to adapt to living in close proximity to humans in urban areas. The proposed Senior Center site is adjacent to a narrow corridor of open space in an area that is bordered by existing residential, commercial development and heavily trafficked roads. We don’t anticipate development of the Senior Center will have an adverse impact on the animals that use this open space corridor. The decision by the Metro District to create natural drainage ways throughout the community has resulted in a much higher diversity of wildlife and habitat for our community. The riparian corridor will remain with the development of the Senior Center.

5. Will construction of the Senior Center on the Highlands Ranch Parkway site cause excessive runoff, flooding and erosion to the drainage area or my property?

As noted above, master drainage plans were developed for Highlands Ranch that took into account the buildout of the community and are updated regularly. All improvements in Douglas County are reviewed for compliance with local and state requirements, including drainage and approval is required prior to construction.

6. I was told this parcel of open space could never be developed. What is the process for re-zoning this parcel for construction of the senior center?

Tract A, Filing 103-B was identified as Non-urban in the Highlands Ranch Planned Development. A Non-urban designation allows uses such as schools, churches, public facilities, daycare centers and utility structures. These are allowed uses and rezoning is not required.

7. We frequently use the trail in this area. Would the existing trail be blocked or eliminated by the development of the Senior Center?

Site planning would include plans to maintain the trail in this area. The trail might have to be re-aligned somewhat depending on the final design of the project.

8. Wouldn’t the senior center cause more traffic congestion and dangerous driving conditions at this already busy intersection of Broadway and Highlands Ranch Parkway?

All development within Highlands Ranch requires submittal of a report addressing traffic generated by the improvement to Douglas County for review and approval. Any traffic generated by a Senior Center will be inconsequential to the design capacity and operation of the adjacent arterial roads.

9. Why were neighbors adjacent to the proposed site the Highlands Ranch Parkway not notified and asked sooner for their input about this proposal?

There have been several opportunities for public involvement since the start of the planning process for the Senior Center as outlined in the project background. The board wanted to complete the community survey in 2019 before taking the next steps to plan the Senior Center. In January 2020 the Metro District began the next level of site analysis of the Parkway site which included a site survey. Plans were to then engage the services of a civil engineering firm to conduct further analysis of the Highlands Ranch Parkway site. The intent of this phase of planning was to prepare up to three different alternatives for locating the proposed 30,000-square-foot facility with the associated improvements. Site planning would consider grading, utilities, access to Highlands Ranch Parkway, building footprint and elevations, site circulation, parking, outdoor activity space, pedestrian access, landscaping and drainage requirements.

Once this step of site analysis was completed plans were to share the information and preliminary site plans with the community and neighborhoods adjacent to the proposed site and gather additional public input. Because of the COVID 19 pandemic our work was interrupted and delayed.

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