Among the last Stapleton land to be developed is a 24-acre tract that has long been referred to as “the toe of the boot” due to the shape of the far southeastern Stapleton boundary. Development of that area, located in Aurora, has had to wait for the land to be remediated and for the extension of Martin Luther King Blvd. to get underway—the new road will provide access to this tract of land.
DIA did get the environmental remediation done and expected to sell the land to Forest City in the spring, but it turns out additional remediation still needs to be done (see sidebar, Fill Costly to Remove). And MLK construction, originally set to start in 2016, has been delayed due to additional environmental studies and a vote by affected property owners on whether to construct noise walls (see article: Neighbors Vote NO on Noise Wall). Now, however, Forest City has submitted plans for “Stapleton Aurora Filing No. 3,” and Aurora’s approval of those plans brings a glimpse of what’s to come.
The Plans for the “Toe of the Boot”
The plans, as shown above, indicate four phases of development. Phases 1 and 2, furthest to the west, are 52 single family attached and detached units with .43 acres identified for commercial use.
Phase 3 is shown as 264 apartments and Phase 4 is multi-use single family attached and commercial uses to be determined for the eastern portion of the land that borders Peoria.
The plan, approved by the Aurora Planning Commission on June 28, also includes the extension of Oswego Street from 25th Ave. to MLK. Oswego is the fifth in a series of new roads connecting Stapleton to northwest Aurora as part of the bigger effort to integrate the former Stapleton airport site into surrounding neighborhoods. Previous connections were established at Dayton/Emporia, Fulton, Iola and Kingston streets.
Creative Learning Preschool
Forest City has not set a schedule for beginning of development in this “Stapleton Aurora Filing No. 3” however one prospective business, the Creative Learning Preschool, has publicly stated its intention to begin construction of a 4,800 square foot building later this year with opening scheduled for fall 2018. The school would front Moline Street on a .43 acre parcel located at the southeast corner of 26th Ave. and Moline St. The school would accommodate up to 65 children (ages 1-4) and 12 staff. The school, owned by Dan Mitzner and Rachel Baumel, is currently located in Quebec Square at 7505 E. 35th Ave.
The school is going through site plan review with the City of Aurora. It has received the support of the Stapleton Design Review Committee, however the citizen-based Zoning and Planning Committee (ZAP) has voiced strong concerns over a perceived lack of on-site parking. The site plan shows 12 on-site parking spaces, an amount falling three spaces short of Aurora’s minimum requirement. In addition to concerns over the supply of parking, ZAP questions the absence of a dedicated drop-off area for parents bringing their children to the site.
Those concerns are echoed in comments by the Northwest Aurora Neighborhood Association (NANO): “There really is not adequate space for 10 to 12 extra cars on the street…on-street parking for the staff will not work in that area at all…We know that Creative Learning Preschool thinks many of their clients will just walk in from the neighborhood or bike to their facility. We find this hard to believe as their clients can come from anywhere…The waiver on the on-site parking, asking to eliminate 2 spaces, is not a good idea and we are opposed to that also.”
The applicants, Mitzner and Baumel, LLC, have until August 4 to respond. A public hearing is scheduled for the September 13 Aurora Planning Commission meeting.
The preschool is one of many possible commercial uses at the site. Permitted uses include banks, hotels, clinics and retail. A series of “conditional uses,” requiring a higher level of city scrutiny, allow uses such as vehicle sales, mortuaries and kennels.