The final public hearing for the Parker Place Hotel on Mainstreet is to be held December 12, 2016, at the Parker Town Hall and will attract a standing-room-only crowd.
Town Council Meeting 12/12/16
Parker Town Hall
20120 E. Mainstreet
Parker, CO 80138
Parker Place Hotel…
The last two meetings held at Parker Town Hall have had some fireworks with emotions high between the Parker Planning Commission, Parker Town Council, the mayor, and the downtown developers along with some business owners versus the residents of Parker. A large 4 story hotel that is to be built on the lot just east of Parker Station and across the street from Ruth Chapel on Mainstreet is at the center of the controversy. (Pictured above)
Many of the residents in the townhomes spoke through tears as they talked about their worry that this large building will add even more congestion, traffic, and parking problems to their already worrisome situation. Other residents dislike the plan because of the size of the building, lack of parking, the modern architecture going into the historic district of old town Parker, and the lack of transparency of the monetary dealings that have happened already.
Opponents of the hotel have created a Facebook page “Parker Watchdogs” to post information and to allow you to join the conversation.
Tom Skelley at the Parker Chronicle has written several articles on the topic.
Former Parker Mayor Gary Lasater voiced his opposition to the proposed Parker Place Hotel at Town Hall on Dec. 5. Lasater said it was never in the town’s vision to have a four-story building in downtown. This town council meeting was mostly focused on the close ties that members of the town council have with the developer Mike Mays and the Mars Hospitality LLC.
“It’s rare to find so many members of a governing board that have so many connections to the developer,” said Luis Toro of the nonpartisan, nonprofit group Colorado Ethics Watch.
Nineteen residents voiced their concerns about the project including Julie Allen, a 13-year resident who attended the meeting with her five children, who said she opposes the hotel plan because it will bring traffic into the Mainstreet corridor, an area she and her children have long enjoyed walking through.
“My children have danced at the PACE Center, they’ve checked out thousands of books from the library there,” she said. “You don’t put a hotel in the middle of that.”
Allen said she found the process of resolving the potential conflicts to be dubious.
“That they had the very people who were involved in the conflict of interest vote on the conflict of interest,” she said, “to me, that was a conflict in and of itself.”
One person who lives outside the town limits plans to open a shop inside the hotel and spoke in favor of it.
At the Parker Planning Commission Site Plan meeting over 100 residents came to voice their opinions. Supporters expressed hopes the hotel will bring more revenue and tourism to downtown from travelers visiting family members or touring companies performing at the PACE Center. Some expressed hope that decreased parking on Mainstreet would require visitors to walk through the downtown area instead of parking in front of a business, then leaving, creating what one called a “city atmosphere.”
“It’s a beautiful plan, it’s a beautiful building, but I feel the location is wrong,” said Lisa Monette, a 14-year resident of the townhomes on the eastern edge of the property.
Another townhome resident, Sherika Hagan, said it took 30 minutes to get out of her parking lot for last week’s tree-lighting ceremony. She fears traffic will get much worse with a 51-room hotel next door.
Opponents to the plan disagreed with the plan’s recommendation by planning department staff and said the building’s architecture is inconsistent with the historic center zoning. Others voiced concerns about increased traffic, decreased parking, and potential conflicts of interest between members of the town council and the developer, Mike May, a member of the applicant, Mainstreet Pier, LLC, and Mars Hospitality, LLC.
Joe Oltmann, the owner of Villa Parker and FuNuGyz pub, pointed out that Councilmember Amy Holland works for Mars Hospitality, and said May’s wife and companies contributed to the election and re-election campaigns of Councilmember Debbie Lewis and is concerned about conflicts of interest.
The owner of the Holiday Inn, Hampden Inn, and Super 8 in Parker came to speak against the hotels and shared that he had never been contacted about any feasibility study and that his hotels only stood at 50-75% occupancy rate and two other hotels are already in the works for the area by Costco and a La Quinta near the Holiday Inn.
A hotel study was brought up by several citizens who spoke within their 3-minute allotted time which compared three possible sites for a hotel and compared the 3. Citizens asked why the least favorable spot was chosen? Near the end of the meeting just before the planning commission was voting, one member asked about this study, he said he’d never seen it, other members of the commission said there wasn’t a study. At which point 3 members of the audience held up a copy of the study that they had obtained from the Town of Parker. Read the rest of Tom Skelley’s article here.
Parker Chronicle Chris Michlewicz April 2014
The Town of Parker announced on March 27 that the Parker Authority for Reinvestment, an entity created by the town council in 2006 to eliminate blight and revitalize the downtown area, approved a resolution to acquire the Parker Water and Sanitation District headquarters on the northeast corner of Mainstreet and Victorian Drive.
The water district is consolidating administrative operations into its facility near E-470 and South Parker Road. The headquarters building was once used as the Parker Library.
The resolution, which passed unanimously during a meeting on March 17, enables PAR to buy the building and the acre of land on which it sits for $865,000, plus closing costs. But a handful of Parker residents see a potential conflict of interest because the town council doubles as the Parker Authority for Reinvestment’s board of directors, and the majority of council members work in downtown Parker.
“If you look at these people, where they’re located and where they’re buying property, it doesn’t pass the smell test,” said John Sutherland, who lives in Canterberry Crossing. “It appears that the town is getting into the land speculation and development business.”
Sutherland pointed out that Mayor Mike Waid’s office is directly across the street from the site and Councilmember Joshua Rivero owns a coffee shop two blocks away. Because the town council appointed itself as the urban renewal board, it’s like the “fox watching the henhouse,” he said.
“A primary purpose in the creation of the Parker Central Area Urban renewal district was to facilitate redevelopment of underutilized sites,” it said. “PAR can facilitate private sector redevelopment of the property consistent with community vision and current East Mainstreet development trends.”
Purchase within the guidelines
Waid, who serves as chairman of the PAR board, said the acquisition does not violate any laws or deviate from the guidelines that govern authority actions. He dismissed assertions that members of the council stand to gain financially or otherwise from the deal.
Parker resident Dave Usechek, who served in public office for six years prior to moving to town, said he opposes having the town council serve in two capacities and said there is “enough talent in Parker” to avoid overlapping interests.
“I feel the council has tunnel vision on their goals and having a separate board may provide newer ideas to sustain the downtown concept,” Usechek said.
Waid said the purchase is viewed as an “opportunity to potentially add more value to the downtown district by helping to cultivate development.” When asked why government intervention in real estate is preferred to the whims of the free market, Waid said there is concern that the land could be developed in a manner inconsistent with the vision for downtown.
Aside from the legal requirement to post the PAR meeting agenda on the Town of Parker website and outside the front entrance of the town hall, there was no announcement about the purchase prior to approval. Waid said the town did not give more notice because “this wasn’t viewed by anyone as something that would potentially be controversial.”
But any large financial transaction should be open to public scrutiny, said Sutherland, who opposed Parker’s decision last year to add a $2 million expenditure to the 2013 budget to buy land across from town hall. It was later announced that a new Parker Library would be built on the land.
“If they’re going to start buying up property, they need to have a plan and tell everybody they’re going to do it,” he said. “It needs to be well-publicized.”
While he appreciates the mayor’s enthusiasm in building up the downtown district, Parker resident Steve Gruenler said “spending tax dollars on purchasing or building non-core essential projects is a waste of resources.”
In the past, South Metro Fire Rescue Authority Chief Dan Qualman has vehemently opposed the districts because he says taxpayer money is diverted away from emergency services and into the pockets of developers and business owners. He was not available for comment. Read More Here
Additional Parker Place Hotel Information Links
- Economic Development with RFQ Q&A Etc. (no longer on Town of Parker website)
- Upcoming and Past Town Council Agendas and Meetings
- Incentives Given to Mars Development (no longer on Town of Parker website)
- Hotel Study by HORWATH HTL HOTELS, TOURISM & LEISURE Lodging & Hospitality Consultants, Inc. (no longer on Town of Parker website)
- Comprehensive Development Agreement 11-7-16 (no longer on Town of Parker website)
Parker Authority for Reinvestment Advisory Meeting Minutes (Hotel and/or Mainstreet Projects are mentioned)
Parker Place Hotel Press Links
Parker Chronicle Article Hotel Plan Meets Opposition from Residents
Downtown Parker Hotel Clears First Hurdle – Parker Chronicle
Parker OK’s Higher Density for Condos – Parker Chronicle
The lawsuit against Mike May & Mars Development LLC – Denver Post
Town Council Meeting 12/12/16
Parker Town Hall
20120 E. Mainstreet
Parker, CO 80138
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