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Westminster clears controversial Uplands development proposal for “the Farm”

Three nights of fraught testimony ended early Tuesday with boos as the city council OK'd the Uplands development, which will bring 2,350 homes to an undeveloped corner of town.

A bicyclist travels down Bradburn Drive in Westminster through part of the 235-acre Westminster farm tract owned by the Pillar of Fire Church between Federal and Lowell boulevards and West 84th and West 88th avenues on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Andy Colwell, Special to The Colorado Sun)

This story first appeared in a Colorado Community Media newspaper. The Colorado Sun is an owner of CCM.

By Luke Zarzecki, The Westminster Window

After three long nights of debate and testimony, the Westminster City Council voted 5-2 to approve the controversial plan to convert a large swath of farmland into the 2,350-home Uplands development.

Councilors voted at the end of their Monday meeting, which ran until almost 1 a.m. Tuesday and was met by boos from some of the residents and members of Save the Farm, the group opposed to the development.

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Councilors did impose conditions on the approval, however. Those included: requiring the developer to pay 100% of the costs of all required on-site and off-site water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer and other public infrastructure; the inclusion of signs at the development’s parks making it clear they are meant for general public use; a requirement that at least 300 low-income rental units will be built; and the creation of a special fund dedicated to building parks within the development using money from the developer’s cash-in-lieu payments from the public land dedication. 

Those voting in favor included Councilors David DeMott, Sarah Nurmela, Lindsey Smith, Rich Seymour and Mayor Nancy McNally.

Councilors Obi Ezeadi and Bruce Baker were opposed. 

Developer Oread Capital wanted the city council to let them continue work on the project, designed to convert the large open space surrounding the church into Uplands, a massive mixed-use development, with housing options ranging from single-family homes to apartments and townhomes as well as parks and commercial areas. The project would take several years to complete, ultimately having room for 2,350 dwelling units in a mix of housing types.

MORE: Who are parks for? Proposed housing development has Westminster neighbors fighting for space.

Neighbors in the Shaw Heights neighborhood, many opposed to the plan, wanted the city to say no and keep the lot, known by them as the Farm, undeveloped.

“It’s all I’ve ever known,” said John Palmer, who said he has lived in Westminster his entire life, most of it within sight of the farm.

To read more of this story go to westminsterwindow.com