Petition to stop $30 land deal suspended

ARVADA, Colo. -- A group in Arvada is suspending its petition drive to stop the city from selling a piece of land for just $30.

The nine acres of land at the corner of West 56th Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard is worth $6 million. Right now, it’s an RTD parking lot that sits next to a rail station.

A private developer plans to build a six-story apartment complex there.

“Over the last few years, we’ve had $50 million worth of tax and land giveaways … coming out of urban renewal and other agencies of the city," Arvada For All People member David Chandler said.

The group had hoped to get a measure on the ballot that would prevent Arvada from selling land so cheap.

But it canceled a signature drive after a judge ruled against a similar provision in Wheat Ridge.

"I'm a little bit angry," said Caitlin Reusch, who helped collect signatures. "I grew up in Arvada and lots has changed in the last 10 to 15 years. I saw this as an opportunity to do something about it.”

The city’s Urban Renewal Authority approved the deal, saying a high-density development is needed next to the light rail station.

"Taxpayers are in partnership with the developer from my perspective to be able to bring a great project to our community," Arvada Mayor Marc Williams said in June.

But Cindy Kreutzer said the city has "no way to prove that. There’s none. I don’t know how you predict that.”

As part of the deal, the developer would get to keep tax revenue in the zone to help offset costs of building a parking garage on a piece of land with serious constraints.

Developers had hoped to break ground by the end of summer, but there are no signs of construction yet.

Arvada For All People plans to attempt to unseat any council member who supports cheap land deals.