One hundred and six residents of The Pinery area near Parker are asking a judge to overrule county commissioners and put an immediate end to the development of an apartment complex near their homes.
Ulysses Development Group plans to build 220 “workforce housing” apartments on 35 acres at the intersection of State Highway 83 and Scott Avenue. Ulysses expects it to serve county workers, teachers, South Metro Fire employees and retail workers, among others.
On Dec. 19, the idea was soundly rejected by the Douglas County Planning Commission, which voted 8-0 to deny it. So, Ulysses took its case directly to the county commission.
During a four-hour hearing that stretched from the afternoon into the early evening of Jan. 10, nearby residents who oppose the project wore red clothes and homemade pins with the word Ulysses crossed out in a show of resistance.
More than 25 testified. They also provided a list of 200 neighbors who are opposed.
“We worked our entire lives to be able to live in a house that we bought,” said nearby resident Chesley Alexander, who moved to Parker from Arvada to avoid multifamily housing.
“We are nurses, we are teachers, we are firefighters, we are veterans, we are retail workers. We are the workforce in Douglas County!” resident Holly Green told the commission. “All of this talk about bringing in workers? That’s what we are! We are the taxpayers.”
The commission voted 2-1 to approve a rezoning and allow the project to move ahead.
“If a community is not growing, it is dying, and workforce housing is something we hear about every time we go to a business,” Commissioner Lora Thomas said before voting aye.
“I’m baffled by this struggle, in a way,” Commissioner George Teal said before voting in favor. “We’re talking about doing a moderate-density, multifamily development that’s going to have 1,000 feet of buffering. A forest can grow between other neighborhoods and here.”
On Tuesday, Green and 106 other residents of those neighborhoods sued the Board of County Commissioners, accusing it of ignoring the unanimous findings of the Planning Commission — which is appointed by county commissioners — and land use statutes.
“Defendant exceeded its jurisdiction and abused its discretion,” the lawsuit alleges.
“The development would stand in stark contrast to the character of The Pinery,” it adds. “Its character is defined as comprised entirely of low-density, single-family homes.”
The plaintiffs are asking Douglas County District Court Judge Jeffrey Holmes to reverse the commissioners’ decision and prohibit them from rezoning the area.
A spokeswoman for the board declined to comment on the pending litigation Thursday.