Paved With Good Intentions

Golden residents battle over a developer's gift to the city -- and the city's efforts to put a road through it.

Peery's new subdivision will add open space to the west end of the park and link up to city bike paths, completing a loop on the north end; his family has contributed considerable land to public use over the years, from Norman D. Memorial Park to the climbing cliffs on North Table Mountain. "You would be hard-pressed to look some place in Golden and not find some contribution that has come from myself, my father or my family," he says.

He feels whipsawed by the approval process on his latest subdivision and another project that he's trying to launch at the city's north edge over objections of well-heeled rural neighbors. He notes that at a planning meeting in February, a faction turned out in force to demand that the Mesa Drive extension be built; now, at the eleventh hour, the opponents have become just as vociferous, delaying the decision yet again.

"The city blows whichever way five people in the audience can stand up and wave their arms," he says. "It's shocking, as a developer, to be in this position. Either way, you're a pariah."

Road to nowhere: Tim Ramsey and his wife, Deborah 
Bettin, want to save a green belt.
Mark Manger
Road to nowhere: Tim Ramsey and his wife, Deborah Bettin, want to save a green belt.

Peery and other proponents of the road contend that it will have little impact on neighbors and that the undeveloped area north of the gulch is rarely used anyway. "We're not talking about a freeway," says Bob Nelson, the city councilman for the north-side ward. "It's a city street, with trees muffling the noise. I think it's needed."

But at this month's council meeting, neighbors turned out in force to protest the possible loss of a greenbelt rich in local wildlife, in an area that's rapidly being filled in with homes. "We see kids in there all the time," says Ramsey. "They chase the wild rabbits and go looking for snakes. We see deer, foxes, coyotes, occasionally an elk. We've seen a mountain lion out there. We've had a bear in our back yard."

Lynne Timpeiro, the only member of the city council to vote against Peery's development, thinks the opponents have legitimate concerns. "For the handful of people this road will assist, we're asking all the taxpayers to pay for this," she says. "We need to look at all the alternatives. I can't fathom putting a road that close to a park."

Ramsey is skeptical of claims that the proposed road next to his back door will relieve traffic. To him, the Mesa Drive extension is just one more step to a much bigger road that most of Golden is fighting: the C-470 beltway that threatens to split the town.

"Call me crazy, but any time you build a new road, guess what? Traffic comes, and traffic increases," he says. "If they put this in, it's going to be an exit ramp for 93. It would be easy to attach it to the beltway when it does come. Then I guess I'll put in a service station."

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