Opposition to the Promenade at Castle Rock is in the process of seeking public support to further delay the now controversial project. This past Tuesday, the Town Clerk certified a petition that will begin circulating among residents, in hopes of reversing Alberta Development Partner’s plans to move forward.
It will require approximately 5 percent of Castle Rock voters, equating to 1,945 valid signatures, to go forth with the referendum process. Petitioners Linda Van Nostrand and Keith Lattimore-Walsh now plan to gather sufficient support, from registered electors on paper, before their deadline at 5 p.m., on April 13th. Once that goal is met, and the petition is submitted to the Town Clerk, the clerk has up to 30 days to determine the accuracy of the signatures.
So what does that mean for the future of the Promenade?
“If she (the Town Clerk) finds that the signatures are valid, we immediately go back to Town Council and ask them 2 questions: Do you want to reverse your previous decision or do you want to call for an election?” stated Bill Detweiler, Director of Development Services for the Town of Castle Rock.
And though taking the decision back to voters would serve to put everything on hold, for the time being, it would not change the legality of how the land was previously zoned. The existing zoning, approved by Town Council in 1987 is titled “Castle Pines Commercial” and allows for only commercial zoning on the property. Eventually, the land will still be developed.
“The original concept that was approved was known as a ‘bubble plan’- and because there was no consideration given to how the area should be handled by developers, it was more of a plan of developing as you go,” Detweiler continued, “basically you (developers) could put whatever you want, however you want to put it. The previous plan had no certainty.”
Instead, the specifications of Promenade renderings, submitted by Alberta Development Partners, have carefully planned design elements that will allow it to blend in with existing landscapes and structures. These ‘character areas’ will include things like reserving parcels of land for open space, limiting building height and creating a less dense footprint by reducing the number of family units called for under old zoning.
Likewise, there are additional drawbacks to delaying the inevitable construction of the privately owned land. The decision to call for a referendum will be costly to residents. Once the Town Clerk brings the verified petition signatures back to council, should they call a special election, it could leave taxpayers with a big bill to cover; playing to the tune of $50,000 dollars.