Survey Questions From the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce | A Summary

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My View Reiterated: The 2030 Comprehensive Master Plan is our growth and development guide, governed by our Home Rule Charter. Growth and Development must always conform to this guidance. Smart Growth? Intelligent Growth? Responsible Growth? I say, “Common-Sense Growth”! All growth and development must be considered only with the property owner, local business owner, renter, and resident consumer in mind.

 

What Positive Business Aspects Do You See From Growth?

The manner of growth should be the question. Supporting current retail and locally owned small businesses should be the consideration. What this means to me is identifying the best development locations for multifamily units, increasing population densities in the right places, may lend to a better, localized shopping experience for residents and small businesses. Areas currently zoned for residential/retail/office is a good solution. This type of development will add retail on a smaller scale. This is good, if the retail shops located in such developments are unique, yet exciting for local and visiting shoppers. With the influx of residential growth, the service industry seems to do well. It is the retail shops that seem to need the most support. Smart growth takes consideration. Smart growth should always point towards the goal of doing business in Castle Rock. We want to maintain our “Small Town Feel”? Then let’s maintain our business activities to our community. Growth can and should support this view. The greatest positive impact that should come from growth is in support of property owners and business owners. For property owners, home values and apartment complex values should improve. For local business property owners, the same increase in values should always be the consideration. This increase in values may slightly increase property taxes to benefit the recreational aspects of our community and our public safety, but hopefully it will have a positive aspect on lease and rental costs for the leasee and the renter. We must always develop in accord with the 2030 Comprehensive Master Plan.

 

Other than increased stress on physical road infrastructure (which is paid for through development impact fees), what challenges do you see with growth?

Other than? From what I have seen and learned, road infrastructure and traffic are the key. Yes, impact fees are a primary support to Public Works (who does a great job), so this is the true topic. In response to the direct question, everyone talks about Water. As we all know, this year we are experiencing a drought, a cycle we incur on a regular basis. Yes, Castle Rock Water is ahead of the game, with solutions for unforeseen events and circumstance. Drinking water is not the cost. The cost is in the facilitation of infrastructure in storm waters, wastewater management, and renewable waters. Growth demands this infrastructure needed for developments. Developers should always be prepared to absorb these costs and impact upon our systems, so that any increase in costs to the consumers be minimal. Other challenges? Many feel that we are not immune to the adage, “With growth you get crime!” If development does not lend to sales in local business, keeping the monies here, our public safety departments cannot grow in support of the growth. Our Castle Rock Police Department and our Castle Rock Professional Firefighters are Class A – Top Notch. We cannot afford to lose that status in our community. Back to water. I am a strong advocate for Mark Marlowe, Director of Castle Rock Water. Myself, having been certified in the State of Colorado in Wastewater and Freshwater Management, I understand and have seen short, medium, and long range forecasts and solutions. Downtown parking is obviously a problem. Yes, plans are in the works for a solution, but this is becoming time-critical.

 

The Town of Castle Rock is heavily dependent on retail sales tax revenues to fund public safety, parks, and vital infrastructure.  Do you see this as a problem?  If so, what remedy would you suggest?

The problem is bi-directional. The cost of doing business in square footage leases and in some cases, the triple net property tax structures. In some cases, the special district property tax structures can lead to negative impact. The solution to this would simply be best oversight and considerations for future developments. Downtown local, small businesses need to be reminded of how they may reach out at any time to the Downtown Development Authority, or DDA. Urban development of downtown should always include existing businesses. I reasonable mix of retail vs professional services are needed to maintain balance in supporting the needs and wants of consumers. The Outlets at Castle Rock and The Promenade, are located in such a way that visiting consumers are necessary to support this localized marketplace. Finish The Promenade! Do not let the Outlets at Castle Rock become the town’s stepchild.

 

Primary employers are the drivers of the economy, they export 50% or more of their goods and services outside the region and bring income and wealth to the local economy.  Currently 80% of our resident’s commute to other communities for primary employment.  Do you believe it is important for Castle Rock residents to have primary employment opportunities in Castle Rock? Please explain.

We have an abundance of retail jobs. I know this, because I have managed three different retail shops. Obtaining loyal, steady help has been a struggle in the retail community for some time. We all have opinions as to why so many available to work do not want these jobs, whether wages vs cost of living, or personal status. More and more professionals move here, which helps with property tax volumes and ratios, but their work is outside the community. Developments like Miller’s Landing may have a solution to keeping professionals here. Then they will be buying their lunches, fuel, and doing the dry cleaning locally. As long as we have industrial zoning, we should capitalize on manufacturing companies. This will support an increase in use taxes. Again I say, “We want to maintain our ‘Small Town Feel’? Then let’s maintain our business activities to our community. Growth can and should support this view.”

 

What do you consider to be the two most critical business issues facing Castle Rock?

Family Recreation. Yes, we have Philip S. Miller Park, but we do not have any other business that could cater to an increasing demand for family recreation. The teen industry is lacking. Young people head out to other communities for recreational entertainment. We are living under a current, stressful, landlocked atmosphere with the Covid 19 pandemic. This will not last. It will change, and when it does improve, who will be in a position to build more in the industry of family recreation. People will say, ‘The community won’t support it.” I say, that if it is done right, it will also attract business from outlying communities. The second is the restaurant industry in town. We have plenty of fast-food carryout and an abundance of food trucks. Where are the upscale, not high-cost, but reputable restaurants many in town would cater?

 

Explain the different challenges between residential and business growth?

Residential developers proceed to build based upon projected occupancies. What attracts quality developers, is quality zoning, space, location, and an equitable residential need. Residential demand for housing is relevant to the availability of local supportive business. Why would I move somewhere else for the same or less business/work opportunities? Employment opportunities from businesses with a living wage pay scale are critical. Formulating a balance between the two seems to be relative to balanced zoning and, as necessary, annexation steps. The challenge for this would lie with the Planning and Development Commission.

 

Like many successful downtowns, it will be a balance of the new and old that keeps us vibrant, authentic, and successful.  As Castle Rock continues to grow, what steps do we need to take to preserve the historical charm of Downtown while also keeping the Downtown economy vibrant?

I like the future view of seeing an urban renewal of Downtown Castle Rock moving forward. With the potential for at least one more multifamily, office space, and retail development, the population density should support the economic development needs of downtown and support the costs of maintaining the historic integrity. I envision a “Downtown” within a “Downtown”. In other words, when you exit I-25 at Plum Creek or Wolfensberger you enter the first downtown. The heart of this would be the historic downtown, the primary attractive destination. In order to build Downtown as a primary destination, parking availability is critical. I will also say this again: Downtown parking is obviously a problem. Yes, plans are in the works for a solution, but this is becoming time-critical.

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