Residents trying to save historic homes in Olde Town Arvada

ARVADA, Colo. -- Design plans for 14 new for-sale condominiums and a retail space in Arvada’s Olde Town have been met with some backlash -- even sparking a petition.

The developer says this has been in the works for years, and he’s complying with the city.

The three pieces of property, which run along Grandview Avenue and 57th Street, are part of the Grandview Station project.

Two homes currently sit on the combined properties, both on the Grandview Avenue side.

Some people have called them an eyesore, but a group of citizens who are petitioning to keep them there say they’re a piece of Olde Town’s history.

"We really only have two main drags here in Olde Town: Grandview and Old Wadsworth, and we would really to keep those preserved,” Olde Town advocate Karen Miller said.

The city’s Design Review Advisory Committee has approved the project, which would mean destroying both of the homes.

Miller said she’d like to see one of those homes preserved.

"I got an opportunity to go in there many times and it’s absolutely beautiful," she said. "That changed my whole opinion because I thought from the outside appearance ‘get rid of them.’”

Real estate developer Keane Palmer said a forensic engineering firm was hired to evaluate both homes, inside and out.

"I understand they were contributing historic structures," he said. "But they’re in terrible, terrible condition.”

Lori Drienka, who owns a neighboring property, believes there should be more of a compromise.

"They’re pushing it and it’s uncharacteristic of the area, and it’s not fair,” she said. "I’ve been told this is really complicated.  But really it’s simple: Follow the rules, and we won’t have a problem," she said.

Buildings are not supposed to exceed two stories, or 32 feet.

This one will be three stories and 33 1/2 feet, adjustments that Palmer said was worked on with the city.

"Our building is one story at the sidewalk’s edge, where the retail is," he said. And then it steps back quite a bit over 10 feet to the next story. And then it steps back again to the third story.

"We’re not looking to go bigger, but just allow us to redistribute the allowable square footage into three stories instead of two."

Drienka said the process should have gone through city council instead of being handled administratively by the city.

"Administratively, it means it’s on paper and there would never be a voice from the public,” she said.

Though the project is supposed to get underway later this year, Drienka is moving forward with her petition to put a stop to it.

"I have put in $25,000-plus of my own money to land-use attorneys. But by the time this gets to the district court for them to rule on it, the houses could be done, so, yes, I want to affect a change," she said.

A benefit concert is planned for Sunday to pay for legal fees.

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