Town of Winter Park moves forward with Cooper Creek Village Development
Members of the Winter Park Town Council approved the annexation of 11 parcels of land into the town for the Cooper Creek Village development at its meeting on Sept. 20.
They also approved rezoning Cooper Creek North and Cooper Creek South, which includes Cooper Creek Square, into Destination Center District Zoning, allowing for mixed-use commercial and residential development. Cooper Creek Village, developed by JAC Colorado II, LLC, will encompass nearly 60 acres and include a mix of workforce housing, a full-service hotel and 115,000 square feet of commercial space.
Public hearing for the development had closed, but there was still room for public comment at the meeting. Winter Park residents Bob Wright and Chris Siewak both expressed concern about the location of the development’s workforce housing, which could potentially be located as far as Red Dirt Hill, per the final development plan. Last week, Wright and Siewack gathered signatures from community members who opposed the idea of workforce housing located outside of Winter Park and submitted the petition to the town council.
At the meeting, Wright expressed concerns over how more than 100 potential workers for the development’s hotel and commercial spaces would get into work each day from the Granby area without an adequate bus system. Siewak shared similar thoughts. He explained that the town has an opportunity to create a welcoming environment to attract a workforce that is already in short supply.
“You can’t tell people, ‘Hey, you can serve us our dinner but scurry along out there where we can’t see you to live,’” said Siewak. “We have to attract people to work here, so how nice would that be to attract someone by saying, ‘live where you work, lots of recreation time, almost zero commute.’ If people have to commute in, they may as well live in a big city … Let’s have them live here, let’s have them be the soul of this town.”
In discussion following Wright and Siewak, the council members agreed that in a perfect world, all of Cooper Creek Village’s workforce housing would be located in the boundaries of the development.
“Within the (Final Development Plan) boundaries, I feel the housing should be located … The 45 bedrooms as well as 30% of the hotel staff,” said council member Becca Kaufman. Kaufman has crusaded for downtown workforce housing since the development’s first stages.
Other council members stated it’s possible that all the housing will be built in Winter Park, and 45 bedrooms are already designated to Cooper Creek Square. As the development continues, the future town council will determine the location of housing, either in Winter Park or outside of town. Council members added that it was late in the game to change the agreement between the town and developer. Binding both parties to create housing within the development might set them up for failure, since there may not be space for housing in the future, they said.
Winter Park’s downtown sphere is constantly evolving; council members added that any future developments could have designated workforce housing within them. There may be another chance to help Winter Park’s employees live where they work.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.
Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.
If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.