Littleton Looks to Liven Local Land

Littleton Looks to Liven Local Land

Emily Langenberg, Managing Editor

If you live, work, commute, or go to school near South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton wants to hear from you.

Littleton City Council identified Belleview Corridor (west of Santa Fe to Bow Mar) as an area needing improvement for future development and preservation. The city has enlisted the help of Littleton Listens, a community involvement program that hears ideas from locals as well as business and property owners.

On February 5, a meeting was held to determine a draft plan for the area in terms of the existing conditions, visions for the corridor, and to discuss opportunity areas.

Current existing conditions will limit what developers can achieve to improve the community.

There is little to no vacant land in the area to expand upon, only businesses needing upgrades. The zoning in the area would make this process unattractive to the community at this time. 

Another issue that is being surveyed is how to navigate the current infrastructure containing many vital sewer and pipelines. In order to reconstruct and update the area a great deal of reorganization of these lines would be required, lengthening the process even further. 

The council is also taking safety conditions into consideration. Pedestrians and bicyclists have to cross seven lanes of traffic with no refuge island in between, as the corridor stands. This poses a threat to both pedestrians and motorists alike. 

Traffic in the area is presently stop controlled and development could create conflict for traffic flow along Belleview Avenue. With the inevitable increase in traffic volume to this growing area, development must take precautions towards preserving this.  

Environmentally, the current usage of the land is unsightly and erosive to vegetation. Aesthetically, many of the businesses do not take advantage of the views of the South Platte River. With proper reconstruction, this area can take advantage of what is already in place.

Ultimately it is the goal of the city council to determine the identity that is the Belleview Corridor. This is why they have curated the following principles for the project. 

Principle #1: Create a distinctive identity for Belleview Avenue

Principle #2: Improve mobility and safety

Principle #3: Protect and reinvest in corridor neighborhoods

Principle #4: Support existing retail and revitalize underutilized properties

Principle#5:  Create more places for people

To combat the aforementioned issues, the community explored opportunities in the area on February 5.

For example, the area has a great demand for multi-family housing and the retail demand is expected to grow over the next ten years. There are opportunities to revitalize the corridor based on the local success of the several major retailers already thriving including King Soopers, Home Depot, Lowes and Walgreens.

Transportation in and around the corridor has room for improvement in that bicycle and pedestrian routes can be formalized to work with traffic. This plan would also be more inclusive of multimodal transportation and contribute to the overall master plan for the city.

Belleview Corridor would also bring with it more unique destinations and gathering places in Littleton to draw people from outside the study area to local businesses.

Response to the proposed redevelopments was fairly one-sided from the small number that attended the meeting.

One woman who prioritizes the environmental aspect above all said, “I don’t agree with this plan at all. Why not preserve the land along the Platte river instead of building new developments where abandoned buildings are?”

The project is currently in its second phase and is set to begin study sessions for adoption by the city’s planning commission in May 2018. There is still time to voice your thoughts and concerns through April.