At the end of December, President Obama signed the Defense Authorization Act that includes a provision allowing Commerce City to “test out of” a land use restriction prohibiting residential uses in its Victory Crossing project. The test amounts to an environmental risk assessment to determine whether the site is safe for human habitation. Commerce City spokesperson Julia Emko said the developer, Kroenke Sports Enterprises, will be responsible for undertaking the risk assessment. She said no timeline has been established for that study.
Victory Crossing is a 917-acre parcel transferred to Commerce City from the federal government in the early 1990s. It was formerly part of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, a chemical weapons manufacturing site. Most of the site has become the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. Existing development in Victory Crossing includes municipal facilities as well as the Dick’s Sporting Goods athletic complex. Commerce City believes the success of the Victory Crossing development “could be strengthened with multifamily housing (owner occupied and rental) and ground floor retail, particularly along the site’s Central Park Blvd. and 56th Ave. frontages,” just west of the Beeler Park neighborhood in Stapleton.
The arsenal became a Superfund site in the 1980’s, with the Victory Crossing parcel made subject to the restrictive covenant before any detailed assessment of environmental hazards. Prior environmental studies did not contemplate unrestricted uses, hence the need to complete the risk assessment.
The legislation was proposed by Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner and Rep. Ed Perlmutter.
If the land use restriction is lifted, the site would need to be zoned for residential uses. Emko said the rezoning, plan amendment and re-platting to allow residential uses will require approximately 12 months.