|Coordinates||39°51′58″N 105°10′10″W / 39.866033°N 105.169393°W|
|Cimarron Metro District Candelas HOA and City of Arvada|
Candelas is the largest master-planned community in Arvada, Colorado. The residential portion of the community is developed by Terra Causa Capital and GF Properties Group (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe), with residences built by Century Communities, Richmond American, Ryland Homes, Standard Pacific Homes, Village Homes, and various custom builders. Plans exist for commercial development in the future, in the form of two mixed-use commercial spaces, and a town center, comprising some 7.1 million square feet of commerce in the community. The formal plat was filed with the Jefferson County Recorder on April 21, 2011.
The Candelas master planned community is within the most north-western quadrant of Arvada in Jefferson County Colorado. The development borders the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge all along its northern property line. Candelas is divided into six subsections from east to west: Parkview, Mountainview, Canyonview, Valleyview, Townview, and Skyview.
The Candelas community is located in the southwestern quadrant of land formerly known by the Department of Energy and EPA identifier "Rocky Flats Plant Operable Unit #3, Offsite Area" at the intersection of Candelas & Coal Creek Canyon Road (State Highway 72). Candelas is the only planned community to share property lines with the former Rocky Flats Plant. Previously, only the Villages of Five Parks and the Whisper Creek developments (located between 86th Parkway to the south, 96th Avenue to the north, Alkire Street to the east, and Indiana Street to the west) were located in such close proximity to the former plant. Residents within the Operable Unit #3 Off Site Area will use State Highway 93 to access Golden, Boulder, or the US-36 corridor.
The Candelas development is located where geography and topography foster and enhance severe weather, including winds in excess of 80/mph (135 km/h). Certain severe weather events have brought winds over 140 mph to the location, including devastating windstorms in January 1982 caused in part by the Chinook winds. In addition to high wind hazards, the area experiences extreme winter weather conditions, severe thunderstorms (including localized flash flooding), and wildfire. In September 2013, the area was under water for three days during the 2013 Colorado floods.
Proximity to Rocky Flats
The location is south of the former site of the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons production facility. Environmental groups have expressed concern that the radioactive and toxic contaminants from plant operations and accidental releases have not been sufficiently remediated.
An EPA Superfund Record of Decision dated June 3, 1997 stated that official radionuclide testing of the plant site following nearly a decade of plant inactivity showed topsoil sample levels safe enough to warrant discontinuation of further sampling. The report indicated that no remediation efforts would be required because building restrictions for lands in close proximity prevented new construction, and noted that "Continued suburban expansion is also anticipated in the area south and southeast of RFETS, primarily around Standley Lake, and in western Arvada along the 64th Street corridor."
W-470 and Jefferson Parkway
Critical to the final expansion and development of Candelas, notably the commercial sector of the community, is the development of the Jefferson Parkway. The proposed Parkway/toll road would require the transportation infrastructure be constructed north to south along the most eastern portion of the former plant site.
Surface Water Control Systems
Surface water control systems created in the final phases of plant remediation collect contaminated runoff from the creeks and streams around the plant into holding ponds. These systems reduce the chance of direct runoff entering Standley Lake and protect Great Western Reservoir (via Walnut Creek) and Woman Creek Reservoir (via Woman Creek). The systems present risk for future groundwater contamination or airborne contamination to Candelas and similar communities in close proximity to the plant.
Prior Examples Affecting Property Values of the Surrounding Community
The former Director for the Jefferson County Board of Health, Carl Johnson, recommended in 1981 that all buildings within 4 miles of the former plant be evacuated/abandoned. While this recommendation was not heeded by the County Commissioners (who were also real estate investors), it is not unlikely that similar recommendations will continue in the future.
From the late 1970s to the beginning of 1981, all buyers of real estate within a ten mile radius of the plant site who had Federal Mortgage Insurance were required to sign an acknowledgement of the risks and hazards associated with living in such close proximity to the plant, including the known soil contamination from the site. Known as the Rocky Flats Advisory Notice, it was eliminated shortly after President Ronald Reagan took Office.
In addition to the property value decline during the Rocky Flats Advisory Notice period, in 1989, when the FBI and Department of Justice raided the plant, nearby properties experienced a significant degradation of property values.
Opposition to development
In the fall of 2013, attorneys for the land developers sent cease and desist requests to one activist, Michelle Gabrieloff-Parish, and the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center after Gabrieloff-Parish criticized the Candelas development in interviews with local media outlets.
- "Master Planned Community, Candelas". www.candelaslife.com. Terra Causa Capital and GF Properties Group. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- "Operable Unit 3 Offsite Areas" (PDF). Rocky Flats Stewardship Council Board Meeting: 3. February 4, 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2014. Check date values in:
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- "History of Hazards in Boulder County". Boulder County Office of Emergency Management. Boulder County Government. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- "This Month in Climate History: January 1982 Damaging Chinook Winds". www.ncdc.noaa.gov/. National Climatical Data Center. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- Draper, Electa (February 9, 2014). "Former Rocky Flats site stirs concerns for some neighbors". Retrieved 7 March 2014.
- "EPA/ROD/R08-97/196 1997 EPA Superfund Record of Decision: ROCKY FLATS PLANT (USDOE) EPA ID: CO7890010526 OU 03 GOLDEN, CO 06/03/1997" (PDF). US EPA Field Office Record of Decision. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- "Rocky Flats Surface Water Monitoring Program" (PDF). Rocky Flats Stewardship Council. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
- Slovic, Paul (2001). Risk, Media and Stigma: Understanding Public Challenges to Modern Science and Technology. Routledge. pp. 163–71. ISBN 978-1853837005.
- "10/7/2013-Metro News-Interview with Michelle Gabriloff-Parish". KGNU. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
- Draper, Electa (9 Feb 2014). "Former Rocky Flats Site stirs concerns for some neighbors". The Denver Post. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
- Durham, Nicolene. "Toxic Suburbia: Fantastic Rocky Flats vistas, plutonium breezes". Colorado Independent. Retrieved 6 March 2014.