Building a Healthy Community
The recent stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic has incited a new-found love and craving for the outdoors for many. The Westminster Castle Farm, surrounded by five different neighborhoods, has always been a magnet for those craving fresh air and open space.
While always private land, neighbors near and far, have come for generations to lookout and enjoy the views. Respecting and appreciating the value of having a working farm, children have learned where food comes from.
Community Speaks Out
Oread Capital/Uplands cynically calls their proposal “smart, sustainable, in-fill” project with some “attainably priced” homes.
The current City of Westminster Comprehensive Plan and Growth Management Plan do not include the Westminster Castle/ Pillar of Fire Farm as one of the five Focus Areas or one of the seven Urban Renewal areas. The Comprehensive Plan calls for 5,556-dwellings to be built between 2015-2035. The Oread proposal is 43% of that total number for the entire city!
In response to the Oread Capital / Uplands development proposal, area- residents have organized several public community-based meetings. Out of these meetings, a petition opposing the high-density development has circulated and over 6500 signatures collected. Letters written and large pubic turnouts to the City Council and Planning Commission meetings.
There are very few undeveloped acres left in Westminster, approximately 1066. The Westminster Farm is 235 acres. But there are under-utilized strip malls and office parks. We encourage re-using and re-purposing some of the current buildings in the city. Convert some unused-empty retail and business parks into houses-apartment-retail-commercial zoning and utilize the already-existing infrastructure.
This would be sustainable development.
Keep a Lasting Legacy
The city council should think outside the box and look for ways to create a lasting legacy for the next generation and the one after that. Preserve don’t destroy. Be creative and work with the current Pillar of Fire Church-owners of the farm on a perpetual conservation easement or an urban farm foundation. Without this farm, there are very few open green areas in old-Westminster. There are ways the city can help keep this as open fields and not another concrete hillside of apartments and townhouses.
The City Council and Planning Commission should listen to the opinions and voices of those who live in this area. They should vote to reject this build-out and instead work on ways to preserve—not pave-over— this jewel that is part of the city and entire Front Range.