Written by Kaija Swisher and reprinted by permission of the Black Hills Pioneer
SPEARFISH | The north entrance to Spearfish Canyon may have a slightly different look in the next few years, as the newest multi-phase, mixed use development in Spearfish is proposed for the former Spearfish Canyon Golf Club driving range between East Colorado Boulevard and U.S. Highway 14A.
Architect Jason Roberdeau of Williams and Associates Architecture, Inc., on behalf of applicant Darcy Harbott, presented to the Spearfish Planning Commission Tuesday, and the commission set a public hearing for Feb. 19 to consider the change of zoning from agricultural to development review district (DRD) and the concept plan for the Spearfish Canyon Village project.
“This is a unique and exciting project, we feel,” Roberdeau said. “It’s also got some challenges associated with it. There’s a few things that we’re trying to do that are maybe a little bit out of the norm, but again, feel that it’s a very exciting project.”
He acknowledged the topography issues associated with the area in question and described the project as an urban infill project.
“The city’s kind of built around it … so it represents a great piece of property for urban infill (contiguous city),” he said.
The request is for a mixed-use development including retail, restaurant, office space, multi-family residential, or other uses permitted in DRD zoning, and there would be multiple phases of development.
No specific uses are shown for the buildings currently, besides the first phase of development, a building fronting Spearfish Canyon Road/U.S. Highway 14A. It would be an approximately 16,000-square-foot, three-story building. The first- and third-floor spaces would be built as shell building space, with the second floor occupied by a business, unnamed at this time. Phase 1 would also include required parking, utilities, and access off of Highway 14A.
The request would be evaluated according to the two-step DRD approval process, meaning that final plan – a separate, more detailed zoning submittal and approval process – approval would follow for each phases of development, as there is more than one land use; potentially more than one developer; potential for change in the land uses/reconfiguration of the concept plan before buildout; the buildout taking place over many years; and exact locations of site improvements unknown at the time the DRD is requested, the staff report states.
“This approval is for the Concept Plan, where overall project compatibility is considered and includes review of building locations, parking, and key project features,” it adds.
Approval criteria for the DRD concept plan include: conformance with the goals and policies of the city’s comprehensive plan; compatibility with and relationship to the existing/potential uses adjacent to the proposed project; public safety issues related to projected traffic/the transportation system of adjoining properties; community benefit; aesthetic considerations; adequacy of public services; and testimony received from the public at the public hearing.
The zoning surrounding the parcel includes highway service commercial to the north, the adjacent strip mall; the golf course across Highway 14A is highway service commercial and parks, recreation, and open space zoning; the Spearfish Emergency Ambulance Service property to the west is zoned parks, recreation, and open space, and the city-owned properties to the south and west along Highway 14A are zoned agricultural. Two portions of city-owned parcels are requested as part of the development, which would have to be purchased and replatted should the request be approved.
The proposal shows one access along East Colorado Boulevard and one access on Highway 14A, with an additional egress-only exit onto Highway 14A. Setbacks are proposed at 25 feet along Colorado Boulevard and 15 feet along Highway 14A. Side yard setbacks between lots are proposed at 10 feet, as well as rear, and the building height limit is 60 feet. Parking is “inverted,” or planned for the interior of the development, preventing front-of-building parking.
“We feel strongly that this project will both beautify Spearfish as a gateway to our city as well as provide a better market as a gateway to Spearfish Canyon,” the application states. “A part of that beautification process involves finding an appropriate mix between building, parking, open space, landscaping and overall development design. Being able to create a more integrated community with shared components and a more human scale feel is more difficult, more involved, more costly and ultimately more appropriate and responsible for this key location in our community.”
“In quick summary, the DRD zoning allows us some flexibility with a few of these things. … Because this will be developed over time, it gives us the ability to adjust as we go,” Roberdeau said.
Commissioners asked questions regarding grading, drainage, traffic, and the DRD process for the remaining phases of the development, and many of the specific details would not come forward until each final plan application comes through. The city does have a drainage study of the parcel, City Planner Jayna Watson said, and the staff would be compiling a more in-depth staff report for the Feb. 19 meeting regarding the application’s compliance with DRD criteria.
Commissioner Toby Bordewyk asked what would happen should the city choose not to sell the portions of city-owned property included in the application.
The Spearfish City Council Monday authorized Mayor Dana Boke to sign the rezoning application, which authorizes city land to be included in the application, and Watson explained that following the planning commission’s public hearing and recommendation for the rezoning, the city council would consider the request, including holding a public hearing. Should the council approve the change of zoning, the legal process for the sale of municipal property would commence.
f the city chose not to include those portions of property in the rezoning, the applicant would need to change the concept plan to reflect the development accordingly.
Commissioner Meghan Byrum asked whether one developer would be completing the development, or if parcels would be available to purchase, and Roberdeau said that there could be multiple property owners. “Spearfish Canyon Village Design Guidelines” were created to “guide the overall design aesthetic for this development by assisting designers, city staff, planning and zoning members and Spearfish City council members in evaluating future proposed building projects,” the guidelines state. They include guidelines for roofs, exterior finished, lighting, signage, etc.
Bordewyk asked about the proposed uses for the buildings, as uses are not clarified on the concept plan, and Roberdeau said that besides the Phase 1 building, none of the other buildings have a specific use at this point in time. He made parking estimates based on assumed uses of the buildings that he could provide at the next meeting. Watson added that the allowed uses of DRD zoning - retail, restaurant, office space, multi-family residential, or other uses permitted in DRD zoning – were possible.
Commissioners then asked on what they should base the concept plan, if uses were not identified, and Watson explained that at the concept plan level of review, layout/locations of buildings and parking and key project features are used to consider compliance with DRD zoning. Staff would enumerate a form of findings that would be used to compare final plan applications against the concept plan, should the rezoning occur.