Monuments Planning Commission Approves Revised Conexus Development Plan | The gallery
MONUMENT • After months of meetings between developers and citizens to revise the initial plan, the second and third phases of the Conexus development in Monument have been approved by the planning commission.
At the planning commission meeting on February 9, Conexus LLC requested approval of its preliminary development plan for these phases. The approval authorizes the construction of a mixed-use development with light industrial, commercial, civic, office, residential, parks and open space uses on a 146-acre property east of Old Denver Road.
Conexus submitted a new plan for phases two and three in November after citizens protested plans for the Alpine distribution center originally intended for this development. During what the community dubbed the city board’s “fork meeting” in August, trustees voted down a resolution that would have allowed for the development’s Metropolitan Ward.
Planning director Meggan Herington said the review process since the new application was submitted included a developer meeting with a group of 15 to 20 citizens representing neighborhoods west of the Conexus development. The focus groups, as the claimants called them who presented PUD’s new draft plan to commissioners, have met three times since November.
While the initial sketch plan called for a maximum of 465 residential units and a maximum of one million non-residential square feet of development, the newly submitted plan involved an increase to 631 residential units and a decrease in non-residential area to 830,000.
Mike DeGrant, vice president of development at Schuck Communities, a managing member of Conexus LLC, said the developer believes the latest plan is the best plan for all stakeholders and showcased the variety of uses for the development.
“The neighbors had very valid points,” DeGrant said. “In cooperation with everyone we have worked with so far, we have a good plan that I think we can all be proud of.”
DeGrant said the plan includes reduced truck traffic, reconfigurations of Old Denver Road and ways to eliminate through traffic. Maximum building heights have been reduced from 90 feet to 50 feet for medium-density residences and retail, 75 feet for high-density residences and communities and offices, and 60 feet for light industries, he said.
Additionally, the development’s light industrial area, which now has a maximum of 38.8 acres, will have a maximum size of 175,000 square feet for any individual building.
“Truck traffic has been reduced in size and scope, and there are now limitations for use on light industrial flex office buildings,” DeGrant said. “The realignment of Old Denver Road is intended to direct traffic, including tractor-trailer traffic, away from existing residential neighborhoods.”
DeGrant also noted that with the realignment of Old Denver Road to pass through the actual Conexus development, it would become part of the TriView Metropolitan District, allowing the district to potentially be involved in the design and financing of the route reconfiguration. Also, it would make this part of Old Denver Road’s maintenance responsibility TriView.
The new plan also reduces the number of crossings of the Sante Fe Trail through the development from three to two.
During public comment, former Planning Commissioner and Chairman of the Monument Home Rule Charter Commission, Steve King, described the public awareness and expectations of the project after months of meetings and reviews as ” fair and as it should”.
“I believe this project is now largely in line with the criteria set out in the 2020 sketch plan approval,” King said. “It took seven months to bring this project from the distribution center juggernaut to what it is today and the plaintiff made a good faith effort with a group of citizens to get to this point.”
Commissioners voted to approve the preliminary development plan with the recommended condition that final details of the Sante Fe Regional Trail alignment and proposed Old Denver Road crossings be addressed with the final design for the Old Denver Road realignment and will be subject to approval by the El Paso County Department of Community Services.
The new plan will be considered by the board at its February 22 meeting, which will be held at the Lutheran Family of Christ Church on Baptist Road. The council will also consider the new application for approval of the Metropolitan Development District formation.