Frequently Asked questions
No, the developers haven’t even filed to make this a project yet. The next steps will be for them to file for a special-use permit with Jefferson County and then the Planning Commission and the County Commissioners would have to approve the permit. You can learn more about the process and how we can stop the approval here.
We don’t know their timeline for sure, but they’ve said they plan on filing this fall. We have recently, as of August 2022, started seeing signs that they are doing the work required of them before they file as we expect to see something this winter. You can learn more about the approval process they will have to go through here.
In the Jeffco Zoning Resolution, section 9, page 2 it states what will and can be required. We won’t know 100% what the County is requiring of the developers until after they have filed, but we have been told by Dylan Monke, the planner assigned to this project, that they will be required to file:
Application and referral fees
Proof of ownership
Vegetation Preparation plan
Market analysis – NOT REQUIRED
Water supply information
Wastewater collection information
Fire protection proof
Forest management plan
Deeds/ Easements/ Agreements
Phase 1 Drainage Report
Geologic and Geotechnical Report
Sensory Impact Assessment – NOT REQUIRED
Environmental questionnaire/ assessment
Mylar – Mylar submittal only required if approved by Jeffco County Commissioners post Public Hearing
Mineral estate notification form
Statement of authority
You can learn more about what each of these is in the Jeffco Zoning Resolution Section 9 Page 3.
The Bike Park is proposing to lease land from the State Land Board. The property being proposed is zoned A-2 or Agricultural-2 and is surrounded by well-established rural residential land uses including privately conserved land.
Agricultural -2 zoning permits buildings up to 35 feet in height on 10 acre lots. The types of uses include: general farming, barns, bee keeping, energy conservation systems, water supply reservoirs, etc. you can see all of the uses on page 232 of the Jeffco zoning code.
In a technical sense, yes, a few single-family homes or farms could be built on that property with the current Agricultural 2 zoning (Section 33) and the slope of the land but not hundreds of homes and not condos. The A-2 zoning allows homes with a minimum lot size of 10 acres, but the slope of the land would reduce the amount of land that would be available.
The reality is that the State Land Board owns the land and isn’t planning on selling it (and we don’t know of anyone who builds single-family homes on land they don’t own).
But, we think a few single-family homes would be much preferable to the bike park bringing in hundreds or people and cars daily.
No similar commercial and intensive recreational land uses are located in the upper North Turkey Creek watershed.
At the community meeting back in 2021 the developers said they would have food and a bar on sight. At the community meeting in 2022 they said they would only be having food trucks. We won’t know for sure what their proposal is until they file but we are also concerned that they could change the plan on this at any time. They could file for only food trucks with their special-use permit and then down the road go back for a permit for a restaurant or an alcohol license.
The developers have stated they expect to be open April - October but those of us who live up here know there is still snow on the ground in April and often before the end of October so we expect they wouldn’t be able to be open as many months as they are projecting.
The developers have stated they are limiting the number of parking spaces to 300. We do not know if that includes the parking for employees or not. This means 300 cars driving to the Bike Park and 300 cars driving home for 600 vehicle trips along Shadow Mountain Road. This also assumes no one is dropped off and no one parks along the road outside of the parking lot. With the addition of staff, drop-offs and roadside parkers we are assuming an average daily vehicle trips of 700 cars traveling on Shadow Mountain Drive.
The developers made this claim during their community meeting and several listeners were quick to call out that this is a different type of riding and will cost a significant amount of money to access – so it won’t really reduce the number of riders on JeffCo’s trail system.
The Bike Park will cater to freestyle and downhill riders, similar to Trestle at Winter Park. Most of the riders on JeffCo’s trail system are cross country riders – they ride up the hill to earn their turns whereas downhill riders ride a ski lift up the mountain and then go down a run.
While the developers said they are still working on pricing, in the past they have said they expect a ticket to be around $60 – it costs $69-$84 at Trestle in 2022. Riding the JeffCo trail system is free because it is maintained with your tax dollars and thanks to many generous volunteers.
Until the developers file their special-use permit application we won’t know for sure, but what we have learned from their website and from the community meeting is that they will have first-aid personnel onsite. The planned onsite first-aid personnel will only be able to provide first-aid services like band-aids, minor wound care and keeping someone safe until EMS services arrive. What they won’t have is EMS personnel onsite which would require Elk Creek Fire to respond to any serious accidents and provide any transports down to metro area emergency rooms.
Elk Creek Fire provides emergency services to the residents in the Shadow Mountain area. Elk Creek Fire is funded by property taxes, of which the Bike Park will pay $0 because they will be located on government land. The developers have stated that they will put together an Emergency Response Plan with Elk Creek Fire but that has not yet been discussed or brought to the Elk Creek Fire board. Regardless of what the plan says, any time Elk Creek Fire is called out to the Bike Park will mean they are unavailable to the residents that pay for the services with their property taxes. If Elk Creek Fire has to transport someone to a metro area emergency room the ambulance will be unavailable to residents for around two hours while they make the drive – there and back.
With the addition of several hundred more drivers daily along Shadow Mountain Road, which is already a dangerous road because of how many accidents and fatalities have occurred, we expect a significant uptick in vehicle accidents that will require a response from Elk Creek Fire. While the developers talk about trying to improve the road to decrease these accidents there isn’t much they can do about the winding road, blind driveways and mostly non-existent shoulders.
The Bike Park will be a significant drain on Elk Creek Fire’s resources without adding any additional funding to Elk Creek Fire and our local residents are who will pay the price.
While the developer’s lease is for 273 acres of this parcel, they have stated they are willing to mitigate the entire 483-acre parcel owned by the Colorado State Land Board. Thus far they have not produced any plans to do so. It is a fact 84% of all wildfires are human caused (Study Shows 84% of Wildfires Caused by Humans | Smart News| Smithsonian Magazine). Adding 5,000 plus patrons weekly to the proposed site will only make the probability of a wildfire almost certain. Even though the developer claims to have a no smoking policy, it will be almost impossible to enforce. One careless flick of a smoke, or a spark caused by a bicycle part striking a rock could be enough to ignite the landscape. Also, the mitigation efforts of all the surrounding properties must be taken into account as well.
Experts agree it is critical for the long-term protection of the forest to mitigate responsibly. Preserving the natural state of the forest as closely as possible is essential. Any mitigation needs to be done in accordance with a professional environmental study as well as a review and recommendation by Elk Creek Fire’s mitigation team. Per Dan Gibbs, Executive Director of Colorado Natural Resources: “County Commissioners should be required to think about the potential wildfire activity that could happen before they approve a development”.
1. John Fielder regarding wildfires 10/11/22: Logging, forest thinning are not solutions to stopping wildfires like the Marshall Fire (Denver Post.com)
2. Colorado Sun Article: 9/25/22: Should Jeffco's forests be thinned? 25,000 acres of trees would like to know (ColoradoSun.com)
3. The JEFFCO foothills is one of the most dangerous wildfire areas in Colorado: (Link to Wildfire Map)
This is a very good question and as of now we haven’t seen any plans from the developers. Instead, all we have seen is talk about coming up with a solution and that where they are building isn’t accessible to wildlife now. The fences they think are to “keep large game out” are simply cow fences and many animals travel through that corridor daily and others call it home. This property is being used for grazing which is compatible with the wildlife. However, building a large commercial enterprise with hundreds of people daily and putting in a parking lot, lift and lodge would not be.
The property has habitat for mule deer, elk, mountain lion and wild turkey. There are also summer and fall concentration habitat for black bear, habitat for lynx (an endangered species) and the northern goshawk (a species of greatest conservation need).
During the 2022 community meeting the developers projected that they will have no impact on the water table and their use would only be equivalent to two households. With 700 people onsite daily and 1,000 people on a peak day, we don’t believe the developers are being accurate. We are working with some water experts to put together some better numbers as this is a serious concern since all of the residents in this area are on wells.
The land that the Bike Park wants to build on is owned by the State Land Trust and governed by the State Land Board. When the Bike Park pays rent to the State Land Trust it is used for the BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) Grant program. These funds go to help repair or build schools. This money is not used to better fund our local schools or to pay teachers more as was stated on the call. To date, Jeffco Schools has received very limited funds from the BEST program, in 2022-2023 they received $0 but are one of the “back-up” projects if other projects don’t come to fruition and in 2021-2022 they received $0.
Yes, the top of the property that is being considered for the bike park intersects with Christopher Park Drive (see the map) and the developers say there will only be access for employees from up there. But, we think you are right to be worried about people parking up there on the road and riding into the park.
The first opportunity for the community to stop the project will be at the Jefferson County Planning Commission. They will have a public hearing around 85 days after the developers file their application. If you want to testify in front of the planning commission we can help you prepare your testimony around the five criteria the planning commission can deny a project based on.
Additionally, we will provide the information to all of our volunteers on how to write letters in opposition to the Bike Park to the Planning Commission, the County Commissioners and the State Land Board once the project has been filed.
Most importantly, we can use your help reaching out to your neighbors and friends to educate them about this project and ask them to sign on opposing the bike park.
Once the developers file their application and we know exactly what their proposal is, we will put instructions up on the website about how to write letters of opposition to the JeffCo Planning Commission, the JeffCo County Commissioners and the State Land Board.
Jefferson County and Elk Creek Fire have no evacuation plans. Because of the extreme wildfire situation in Jefferson County, JEFFCO Planning and Zoning needs to require The Bike Park Developer to provide a professionally performed evacuation plan prior to the Active Application Stage. Shadow Mountain Drive is already inadequate if an emergency evacuation becomes necessary. Adding 300 plus vehicles to an evacuation would likely create a disastrous scenario. 'Non-survivable evacuation routes threaten some of Colorado's most wild-fire prone areas