The Denver City Council land use committee advanced a proposal to rezone a baseball field Tuesday despite opposition from the surrounding community.
The private baseball field, located at 8890 E. Lowry Blvd., is currently zoned to be used as a park, playground, church, school or theatrical studio. If approved by the full council, the rezone would allow the land to be developed as housing or retail.
The 7-acre field is owned by Bishop Machebeuf High School but would be sold to United Properties, which intends to build two senior housing centers on the land.
“Having two buildings like this on one campus is a true age in place opportunity,” said Matt Oermann with United Properties.
Oermann said the buildings would have 156 and 120 units respectively, with one of the buildings for active seniors while the other would provide assisted living services.
During public outreach with surrounding neighborhoods, the city received 53 comments in opposition to the rezoning, compared to 16 comments in support and three undecided or neutral.
In the comments, most opponents lamented the prospect of losing open space and expressed concerns about traffic and parking capacity in the area, especially since the rezoning would include the baseball field’s parking lot.
“This community was built and sold with the idea that we give up backyards and instead utilize the many parks in the area,” one commenter wrote. "The proposed zoning changes would defeat the purpose of this originally well-designed community.”
“My family and I live along Yosemite Way and have experienced the increase of traffic, excessive speeds and overall carelessness over the last decade,” another commenter wrote. “The infrastructure simply cannot handle the current volume of cars, let alone more from two four-story buildings.”
Opponents also criticized that the new buildings would be four stories tall, while all other developments in the area are limited to three stories.
Despite this pushback, the committee unanimously approved the rezone Tuesday. During the meeting, council members asked several questions but did not acknowledge the community opposition.
Councilman Paul Kashmann criticized United Properties’ plan to only reserve 10% of the active senior units for low-income residents.
“You’ll build 276 units and we’ll get 16 affordable units,” Kashmann said. “It’s not really addressing what our needs are as a city. It helps those 16 families … but I would love to see a higher number.”
The rezoning is supported by the Lowry United Neighborhoods Board and by Bishop Machebeuf High School, which said it would use the proceeds from the sale to fund capital improvements, student scholarships and other learning resources.
The full council will hold two final votes on the rezoning in the coming weeks before it can be implemented.