“Detailed answers to Trustee questions about Golden Run density and location...” (9/8/13)

From: Aaron Harber
Sent: Sunday, September 08, 2013 4:35 PM
To: Paul Ogg
Cc: Joe Wilson; Mark Gruber ; Janice Moore; Ronda Grassi; Joe Carnival; Paul Ogg; Jonathan Hager; A.J. Krieger ; Marty Ostholthoff; Gary Behlen
Subject: Detailed answers to Trustee questions about Golden Run density and location...



www.GoldenRun.com     Aaron@GoldenRun.com

2500 North 119th Street, Lafayette, CO 80026-9216

P:  (303) 666-6161    C:  303-718-3399


Dear Paul,


At the last meeting of the Board when the Board voted to confirm Golden Run’s substantial compliance, you said you wanted to hear more about the basis for the density recommendations we were making for this specific location.  Previously, there also was interest in our detailing the choice of the location --- which was made 24 years ago when the two parcels were assembled and Erie’s Comprehensive Plan at the time designated the properties as “Prime Urban Density.”  Because we were not allowed, under the rules of procedure to respond at the time of the August 13th meeting, I wanted to give you and the Trustees all that detailed information now.


  1. 1.For Economic Development, the numbers we have proposed will give Erie the critical mass to attract the retail, employment, and other commercial opportunities Erie wants.  We need your and the others Trustees help in explaining this to the community so they see the numbers we propose as an advantage for the Town.

  2. 2.We appreciate the fact traditional development applications seek a certain number of units and municipalities often “negotiate” these numbers downward.  For the reasons explained below, this is not the approach being used.  Rather, this is a collaborative approach which is using numbers which allow Golden Run to afford substantial amenities which will benefit the entire Town.  We want citizens to see it is the large numbers which bring them substantial benefits.

  3. 3.Erie’s residences remain widely dispersed and the result is everyone gets in their cars to shop --- and they shop in other municipalities such as Broomfield, Thornton, Westminster, Lafayette, Louisville, and Boulder (the latter because so many Erie residents work in Boulder).  Erie needs high density development to attract the commercial activities residents want and the Town needs.  Golden Run is singularly configured to address these needs. 

  4. 4.Golden Run can be Erie’s response to the latest round of development occurring in Broomfield at North Park.  The decision by the University of Colorado Health organization to locate a major facility in North Park and last week’s announcement by DigitalGlobe that it will create 1,300 jobs in North Park by moving its headquarters from Longmont to North Park in Broomfield will result in major retail and other commercial development in the I-25 & Highway 7 intersection, where Erie is not a player.  This means even more dollars from Erie will be drained from the Town.  Golden Run is part of the antidote to this.  We even think many of the North Park employees could end up residing in Golden Run and, therefore, will shop in Erie.

  5. 5.Golden Run is ideally located for a high density development because (a) it is on the Town’s only major interior commercial arterial, (b) it will spur commercial activities all along County Line Road, especially in the Four Corners area, (c) it is entirely in the Boulder Valley School District --- a huge attraction to prospective employers --- and, (d) it is the only property of its size in Boulder County readily available to Erie for such development (and is believed to be the last 320 acre parcel in the entire County suited for high density development).  The latter is important because, for a site to be considered, many major employers insist on a Boulder County location.  It is Boulder County’s reputation for high technology, skilled workers, athletic competition, and health & fitness along with a superb educational system and immediate access to the mountains which Erie can leverage.

  6. 6.Being located in Boulder County has become more important ever since the discussions regarding secession in Weld County have become public.  Businesses seek stable regulatory environments.  They want both rational and predictable behavior.  The effort and energy being spent on the secession movement are not seen in a positive light by the business community.  We have been able to avoid this issue because Golden Run is located entirely in Boulder County.

  7. 7.The fact the 320-acre property is not undermined also is a substantial advantage for this particular location.  This allows us to build substantially above and below ground --- unlike many properties in the area.

  8. 8.Another advantage to the Town is you are working with a property owner who is committed to a collaborative process.  This has created a unique opportunity for the Town --- and one which already has produced arrangements not achieved by any other municipality (e.g., the Property Purchase Contract and the Right of First Refusal Option which the Town received and recorded).

  9. 9.As part of that Economic Development initiative, the numbers we have proposed will provide the economies of scale necessary to fund the amenities we have proposed.  By having such an array of first class amenities, employers and other businesses will be attracted to Erie.  This combination of amenities could make Erie one of the most attractive destinations in the country (and beyond), especially if no other community in the country offered all of them.

  10. 10.All other Erie residents should be pleased Golden Run residents will be the ones subsidizing amenities which will be available to the entire Town.  For example, if on-site housing units are “assessed” by Golden Run an extra $10,000 per unit for the construction of certain amenities, that could generate a resource of over $250,000,000 for such amenities.  The economy of scale approach allows the individual cost per unit to be low enough to not affect demand while the sheer number of units provide the potential for an extraordinary resource total.  This is the power of economies of scale which is not being done anywhere else in town or in the State of Colorado.

  11. 11.Golden Run is being designed as an Employment Center for the Town so this will benefit residents throughout Erie. They will have more job opportunities locally and likely will see demand for housing in the entire area increase.  While Golden Run will meet most of its internal housing needs, it will not compete primarily with the existing housing stock so homeowners in the area should see a positive impact on their property values due to Golden Run, especially for the kind of housing some Golden Run employees will want but will not be able to easily find on site (i.e., the traditional existing housing stock already in town as well as that being built in the future on most other Erie sites).

  12. 12.The numbers we have proposed also will create substantial leverage for the entire Town to keep and expand mass transit service for Erie.  Golden Run’s numbers will help justify public transportation service from Erie to Highway 7 and the I-25 corridor with an ultimate connection to FasTracks service to Denver.

  13. 13.The numbers we have proposed are based on using economies of scale to minimize the per capita environmental footprint of each resident.  For example, the per person cost of infrastructure elements could be reduced 50 to 90%, simply due to Golden Run’s numbers.  This is an important environmental principal which is part of the example Erie can set for the rest of the nation.

  14. 14.Our design is intended to demonstrate you can have significant numbers of people without the same negative impacts you see elsewhere.  This is a critically important concept we need to make certain everyone understands because it truly is a differentiating factor for Golden Run.  That is, if people understand Golden Run residents will be consuming resources --- such as water --- at a rate 75% or more below typical per residence averages, the impact of each home in the new community will be minimal.

  15. 15.The same applies to traffic, especially with major sections of Golden Run banning vehicular use (except for delivery and emergency vehicles).  And by intentionally creating limited connections to the existing neighborhood to the north (i.e., Canyon Creek), some traffic impacts can be completely mitigated (for example., the connections could be limited to pedestrian traffic and emergency vehicle use only).

  16. 16.Similarly, with a primary emphasis on mature citizens and a secondary emphasis on a younger demographic, the impact on schools will be minimized.  The good news is the Boulder Valley School District has excess capacity in this area and, of course, Golden Run will help address any future needs as that excess is used.

  17. 17.With the numbers we have proposed, Golden Run will be able to offer the recreational & training, shopping, restaurant, arts & entertainment, fitness & wellness, health & medical, and employment opportunities that all Erie citizens desire.  It is important for everyone to understand these numbers are necessary to make all this happen.  Golden Run already has demonstrated its ability to bring key resources and national attention to Erie.  Our plan for 1 Gigabit service is in process, as has been documented.  Those familiar with what this has done elsewhere recognize what a tremendous Economic Development opportunity this will be.  And it is our sheer numbers which will make 1 Gigabit service so easily available at a reasonable cost which will allow Golden Run to put Erie on the high technology map. 

  18. 18.Similarly, the membership of our National Sustainability Council will bring Erie into focus with a number of individuals and entities coast-to-coast who will see the Town as creating a leading edge environmental solution for the future.  That is the kind of reputation we want Erie to have and we already have demonstrated how it is possible.

  19. 19.Timing-wise, we need to complete the annexation and preliminary zoning process as scheduled but can then take our time working with the Town staff, the Trustees, the Planning Commission, the Sustainability Council, and citizens to develop the specific plan (i.e., the Golden Run PD).  This is the major task at hand and easily could take two or three years starting next summer.  This schedule will give everyone sufficient time to make certain all the issues are addressed to everyone’s satisfaction.  At the same time, by meeting the initial timetable to which we agreed, we will have demonstrated to third parties the commitment the Town has to Golden Run.  We then will be able to work with the Town on a number of Economic Development opportunities.  These would include meeting with companies one-on-one as well as attending major events such as the next annual Global Retail Real Estate Convention in Las Vegas held by the International Council of Shopping Centers.   To do the latter, we need to complete the annexation and zoning process on schedule.

  20. 20.The specific details of how we achieve the benefits of the economies of scale described above will be the work we will have to do once the property is annexed and preliminarily zoned.  This will be an endeavor we will work on together in the next two years.  This also is why most of the major decisions will not be finalized until 2015.  And, if we are unable to find solutions which satisfy both the Town and Golden Run, the annexation can be cancelled.


Our hope is that, when people understand the benefits of our high density development and the advantages our numbers bring to the Town, as well as the fact we can mitigate the majority of what would be traditionally negative impacts, they will see high density as an advantage and will be supportive of it.  This will involve directly addressing long-held views and knee-jerk reactions but, in the end, for the long-term benefit and future of the entire Town, we are confident everyone will see how much sense this makes.


You are welcome to share this information with others.  As Trustee Grassi recommended, please encourage Erie citizens to go to our Website --- www.GoldenRun.com --- to get more information on our initiative.  Suggest they take a look at the Overview accessible on that Webpage as well as directly at www.bit.ly/OverviewGR.  We believe the vast majority of Erie citizens will benefit greatly from Golden Run.  We and they appreciate the fact each of the Trustees are considering the Town’s long-term future as they make decisions about it.


I hope you and all the other Board members will continue to ask any questions you have.  We have to rely on each of you to help disseminate this information to the community and to make certain everyone has all the information they need.  We expect we soon will be referring members of the Press to you because we believe you are better informed about Golden Run than anyone else in the community and can speak directly to the extraordinary opportunity it offers.  Thanks, again, for your support.


Sincerely yours,




Board and Community Correspondence

As part of the transparency of the project, Golden Run periodically posts correspondence it believes citizens might be interested in having the opportunity to read. Please contact us with any additional questions.