Approved - 7 to 1

Item No.2 - Lutheran Legacy Campus Master Plan

Case: WPA-21-01
The Lutheran Medical Campus is located at 8300 W. 38th Avenue in the heart of Wheat Ridge, and it has operated as a medical use since 1905. A new Lutheran hospital is currently being constructed at the Clear Creek Crossing development, and the hospital’s move presents a rare opportunity to reimagine the future of the Lutheran Legacy Campus. The Lutheran Legacy Campus Master Plan outlines a 20-year vision for the property and is based on six months of input from Wheat Ridge community members. Because the City’s 2009 Comprehensive Plan did not contemplate a potential change of use on the property, adoption of this master plan is a critical next in starting a new chapter for the property.
This is a recording of the October 25, 2021, City Council meeting.


Item No. 2 - Council Action Form and Resolution ( 1.25 MB )
Lutheran Legacy Campus Master Plan ( 83.98 MB )
Master Plan Appendices ( 37.59 MB )
Summary of Public Outreach ( 0.72 MB )
Planning Commission Oct 7 Minutes ( 0.24 MB )
Wheat Ridge Speaks Public Comment from Oct 7 Planning Commission Hearing ( 13.94 MB )

Comments & Feedback

I hope that City Council does their due diligence and takes a deep dive into the comments, for and against this plan, by Wheat Ridge citizens who live close to Lutheran Hospital. I participated in the initial tour and submitted comments at that time, I took the survey and submitted my comments, I spoke at the Planning Commission meeting urging them not to vote to approve the plan. We really got 3 versions of the same plan, without a lot of variations, none of which were completely desirable in my opinion. There was a lot of information regarding the public outreach regarding this plan, and it sounded like they spent a lot of time engaging neighbors, but what do people think? We had to take the survey online, there must be some statistics. Bottom line, because we had to choose between 3 very similar plans, it feels like it was predetermined by the powers that be. I am very concerned about the increase in traffic to my neighborhood. We moved to Wheat Ridge to have space and air. Plunking a high rise, high density development in the middle of long established neighborhoods is not smart development. We have plenty of condos and apartment buildings going up in Wheat Ridge on main arteries where that makes sense. I would also like more restaurants and retail in Wheat Ridge, but perhaps we should try to fill the empty storefronts in Wheat Ridge Corners and 38th Avenue first before building more. I urge the Wheat Ridge City Council to vote against adopting this plan.
October 25, 2021, 11:57 AM
Tamara Phalen
After reading the other comments and the master plan pdf it sounds like the city needs to pause and take a breath and listen to the neighbors instead of the usual "Ready Fire Aim" that is done frequently. The city and people of Wheat Ridge have no obligation to appease the developer who of course wants to hurry this through. We seem to have a lot of building of new residences in the area but no discussion of how our roads are going to handle all the new traffic. The city really missed the mark when the intersection at 38th and Kipling was reworked TWICE! Once for Starbucks and again for Circle K. Did the city anticipate more traffic adding hundreds of new apartments by the new SCL campus? This intersection is already very dangerous and pretty much the same as it was before reworking it. Now we are going to add more traffic from the redoing of the old SCL campus and dump traffic heading west on the old outdated 38th. We are also building a new neighborhood on the NW corner of Kipling and 32nd which will have right turns only on Kipling and 32nd which will impact my street (Nelson) with hundreds of more cars per day. Many heading to 38th to the already outdated intersection of Kipling and 38th. There isn't even enough room to turn north without blocking the Sprouts entrance. City Council please broaden your vision to include the WHOLE AREA being impacted. I am not sure why most every city forgets about surrounding infrastructure. Seem pretty important!! We have time on our side so lets not rush this wonderful opportunity to reshape our Wheat Ridge community!
October 25, 2021, 10:02 AM
Kris Srnka
I first want to thank the planning team and everybody involved in this project to this point. You should be applauded for your effort and attention to detail in pushing this out to the public and gathering public input. I support the proposed development as presented. I can nitpick here and there, but I think this master plan does a good job of checking all of the boxes as far as incorporating high-density housing, office space and retail, while maintaining green space and tapering off to low-density housing along the periphery. Change is going to happen to the campus whether residents want it or not. I think this master plan, so far, is striking that balance of maintaining the character of the surrounding neighborhood and bringing the type of financial return a developer is seeking. It is a conscientious development that will be a nexus for the neighborhood for years to come if done correctly. I agree a lot with Nancy Johnson's above comments. I think it is imperative that there is some identity to this new civic campus, some aesthetic that stands out. My biggest fear is this development will become a generic cookie cutter template, where all the housing is a carbon copy -- i.e. Stapleton, Lowry, Highlands Ranch, etc. I'm also concerned retail space will be skimped on. The area could easily house a cafe, brewhouse, high end restaurant, specialty stores, etc., without cannibalizing business from the Wadsworth & 38th business district. Finally, I would like to see making this a walkable space is maintained. One of the great things about the Bel Aire neighborhood is the amount of foot traffic around here. People should be able to walk or bike to, and around, the area and be able to keep their cars in the their garage.
October 25, 2021, 9:40 AM
Ryan Budnick
After participating virtually in the October 7, 2021 Planning Commission meeting on acceptance of the Lutheran Legacy Campus Master Plan, I was as frustrated after as before. While the process may have been lengthy and involved, MIG, Inc, the agency conducting the survey to present a plan representing the residents of Wheat Ridge failed to adequately voice the opinions of those who are opposed in part to the development such as myself. Commissioners who voted to accept the plan because of the amount of work involved reason poorly. Submitting a product that fails to meet the requirements of an assigned project is generally given a low or failing grade. The Planning Commission accepted a plan that looked good but contained flawed information. MIG submitted a report that represented part of our population but neglected to include the thoughts and ideas of others in the community such as those who spoke at the Planning Commission’s meeting or will be speaking tonight. Commissioner Kerns who voted to accept the plan because of the housing shortage in the US fails to understand that a small community of 30,000 is not responsible for the nation's lack of housing. Commission Kerns also stated how a person graduating from college today cannot afford to buy a house. Well, please raise your hand if at the age of 21 or 22 you were able to buy a house. I wasn't. If Kerns were arguing for the inclusion of affordable housing on the Lutheran Legacy Campus, perhaps his reasoning would be more palatable. Commissioner Disney stated that change is inevitable and high-density a given so we just have to grin and bear it. The rationale is also flawed. As a resident, home owner and taxpayer in the city as well as citizen of the US, I have the right to speak up and effect a change that is done with intelligence. The beauty of living in the US is that we don’t just have to accept decisions that adversely affect our lives. Disney also claimed that empty storefronts in the city are due to the pandemic. Interesting. Many of the same storefronts were empty prior to the pandemic. Additionally, Clear Creek Corners is slated for planned retail. Adding more on the Lutheran Legacy Campus is redundant. There’s smart development and then there’s shortsighted development. The plan as presented is not truly representative of the entire Wheat Ridge community nor is it smart. How could the Master Plan be truly representative if when asked who were the members of and how were members chosen for the focus groups, MIG failed to answer the question. A lack of transparency and deception to tilt the results toward a preordained result? I expect that tonight the City Council will throw its residents under the bus and accept the plan as presented just as the Planning Commissioners did except for one. It is the same old process we see repeated in Wheat Ridge year after year. I expect that as Council is petitioned down the road for zoning changes on the Lutheran Legacy Campus based on the plan being presented today, most likely Council will again ignore citizen input. As Council approves zoning changes regardless of citizen dissent, they may also see city residents organizing a referendum process to place the issue on the ballot and a consequent rejection of the changes. Consider the 4 properties on Upham and the corner lot on 38th and Johnson as two recent past attempts to make zone changes despite residents’ dissent. I advised the MIG, Inc. and Wheat Ridge Case Managers at the open house on the Lutheran Legacy Campus back in May that if they failed to listen closely to and represent clearly the residents’ opinions, their proposal and Council’s subsequent actions based on the proposal as it stands will be opposed. I do not relish the years of struggle ahead but for maintaining at least a semblance of my quality of life, the reason I moved to Wheat Ridge several years ago, I am willing to fight.
October 24, 2021, 10:13 PM
Mariann Storck
I support the mixed use development of the Lutheran master plan. I want to make sure that the planners and developers are aware of the Rocky Mountain ditch Lateral 188. Which currently runs north, underground, through the parking lot to 38th ave. The hospital has the responsibility of jetting that pipe every year in order to maintain flow for all the users downstream. Please consider opening the lateral (making it easier to maintain) and make a water feature that enhances the new community. Thank you
October 24, 2021, 9:05 PM
Travis Orme
I appreciate the thoroughness and ease of citizen input to the masterplan process. I’m disappointed that the masterplan only provided a passing nod to sustainability, a mere two paragraphs on page 89. The Wheat Ridge Sustainable Committee has done a great deal of work and the legacy Lutheran Hospital campus creates an opportunity to showcase sustainable efforts as it is repurposed. This opportunity should not be lost but instead should be embraced and displayed for the entire community about what the future of Wheat Ridge can be. It should be noted that the median household income stated on page 24 appears considerably low at $49,340, while in Appendix A2, Table 2 on page 7 the median household income is listed as $61,291. This item should be corrected as this is an import demographic consideration.
October 24, 2021, 8:41 PM
Betsy Coppock
Boy, do I have mixed feelings about this. While I believe the proposed master plan accurately represents the thoughts of those citizens who participated in the process, I still worry about the final outcome. It’s all well and good that low-density residential development/open space is prescribed for the campus’ borders, thus denting (somewhat) the effect new housing will have on adjacent neighborhoods. But what exactly does low-density residential development mean in the ‘20s? Just drive to Candelas or to Midtown or one of the dozens of other new developments that have sprouted up. New homes are not going to complement existing neighborhoods. The days of 14-foot-tall ranch houses on quarter-acre lots are over. Instead, new homes today are frequently 30 feet tall (and above) and are plunked on ever-shrinking parcels of land. SCL and Intermountain Health are going to want top dollar for each of the 70 acres (according to the consultant’s report) that can be developed on the property. And the developer(s) that purchase the property are going to want to maximize their investment every way they know how. It’s impossible to know what the housing market will be like in 2025, when the bulldozers begin to reshape the land. But it’s doubtful that a smaller house, on a larger lot, will be the prevailing trend. I realize the final outcome—determining exactly what will be built and where—won’t be known until developer(s) are identified and rezoning requests filed. There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of unknowns. I would love to see a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood built on this site. I would very much like to be able to walk to get a cup of coffee, or to grab a meal (and do that without having to cross Wadsworth). I understand—and support--the need for new housing opportunities and what these new residents will mean for the future of Wheat Ridge. What I fear, however, is that Lutheran Acres (or whatever this will be called) will be a fortress of faux farm houses and stucco-clad alien life-form boxes (see Tennyson Street for reference). The master plan is a good starting point. But when the rezoning hearings come around, that’s when the city has to step up and make sure the existing neighborhoods are protected. Too many times developers have promised the moon and instead delivered a pile of rocks. Wheat Ridge can’t afford rocks at the Lutheran legacy campus.
October 24, 2021, 1:33 PM
Chuck Moozakis
I largely support the Masterplan as proposed, however I think a one page executive summary may be needed to present the high level vision for site design, including: 1. The intention that the site be an integrated approach to programming and usage, to create a coherent WR destination. 2. The architecture for all usages should resource the wide range of architecture represented in WR, as well as the history of WR. 3. Connectivity between this site and nearby WR public resources and special districts is to be provided. 4. Public spaces are to be diverse, interactive, celebrate nature, be sufficiently and aesthetically illuminated. 5. The entire site is to have some type of cohesive design element, such as lighting elements, signage, dedicated public art features, public seating, etc. 6. Iconic structures, such as the church and blue house, are to be repurposed in the overall development plan. Thank you for the entire process of presenting, listening, testing ideas, and including a wide reach of stakeholders in the process.
October 22, 2021, 8:00 PM
Nancy Johnson
We need to increase our population as well as other Denver metro communities. Wheat Ridge has the opportunity to become a desirable hotspot for the Denver metro area if it pursues activity venues, green spaces that capture the appeal of the water and views potentially, businesses, buildings and homes/neighborhoods that portray a cozy walkable destination personality. This type of area would appeal to people based on beauty and character rather than cement structures devoid of heart and soul. I’m supportive of office or high density if it’s done with attractive community spaces also. Catering to a younger demographic would improve the future potential to attract families who would provide a more sustainable long term base to the city that will interact with local businesses and add to the tax base. Developing a soulful character of the space will help our city move into the future with a more healthy economy. Please avoid rigid ugly apartment buildings or an office park that no one wants to mingle amongst. Please build something of beauty and use for the community. We have enough hard structure chain retail on Wadsworth and Youngfield. The St. Anthony’s redevelopment model is not what I would like to see. The little communities in Park Hill on 23rd and another one on Oneida are examples of places that draw in all ages and build community health and desirability. On a more grand scale, think how San Antonio Texas pulls people in with its character. The businesses are doing well in both those locations also.
October 20, 2021, 2:25 PM
Kim Linton
We bought our home here in Wheat Ridge 25 years ago and one big reason was the closeness of Lutheran Medical Center. We have all our health care at Lutheran. No, we are not for the move out to Clear Creek.
October 19, 2021, 6:55 PM
M/M Sean Tomlin
Hello Council Members. I am writing to express my strong support for Lutheran Master Plan. I was a member of the Business Community Focus Group for this Plan. I was also a redevelopment partner along with Susan Ely, the City and many other partners for the Fruitdale School Lofts on 44th Ave. Our company, Hartman Ely Investments, has also been involved for the past three years in a very similar redevelopment, the 70 acre revitalization of the Loretto Heights campus in southwest Denver. I believe that this Plan incorporates a good balance of flexibility, density, open space, different potential uses, historic preservation and other key redevelopment parameters. I encourage Council to approve this Plan. After that, I believe that the most important step to realize this Plan is to select a strong master developer that has good experience with this type of large scale, complex site redevelopment that attempts to reuse some existing buildings. A key aspect of that experience will be the master developer's willingness to maximize the Plan's key redevelopment parameters with good continued input from the City and the surrounding community. A key issue for the City and Community going forward will be to anticipate that this Plan will never be a completely static or fixed thing, even after rezoning and a future Plat(s) is recorded for this site. The Plan should continue to evolve and improve through the years, as market demand, community priorities and other things change. Sincerely, Jim Hartman
October 19, 2021, 5:57 PM
Jim Hartman
I really appreciate the due diligence and time taken to put this together. For context of this comment, my fiance and I are in our early 30's, both employed, just moved from Platte Park in 2020, and own a house with a dog and two cats. I would just like to state that I am very excited for the opportunity for some more local restaurants/retailers to occupy this space. I feel like Wads has plenty of chains, but getting some higher quality businesses in would be great. I know the Master Plan talks about recreation areas and I would love it if an off-leash dog area were part of that. No doubt that if there is more dense housing, humans and their pets will be moving into those new properties.
October 18, 2021, 3:05 PM
Carlo Ritschl
What is City Council actually voting on? This isn't a plan -- it's a concept. Three concepts actually -- with some important differences between them, especially for those of us living on bordering streets. What zoning changes are going to be needed and where? Shouldn't the public at least know that before we can form opinions on whether we are in favor or against?
October 18, 2021, 2:08 PM
Daniel Findlay
It would be great to have supportive housing and affordable/workforce housing as a major part of this redevelopment! We need more diverse neighborhoods with a range of housing types, including density, to prepare Wheat Ridge for growth.
October 18, 2021, 11:31 AM
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