As a Neighborhood Group, part of MCGC Neighbors’ mission statement is to keep our community informed about events that could potentially impact our way of life, and to be an additional advocate for the community to the City of Aurora. To that end, we want to let you know about two proposed developments near enough to our community that the City is required to notify all HOAs and Neighborhood Groups within the designated area.
The Murphy Creek Master Association and Murphy Creek Metro Districts 1 – 4 were supposed to have been notified of these proposed developments. However, the community has not received any information from the Murphy Creek HOA, which reinforces our belief that MCGC Neighbors needs to remain in existence, in order to keep our community informed.
The proposed developments are for two oil and gas wells. Please click on the links below to be taken to the City’s Development Application Review website for all the details on these proposed well sites. We also have more information and maps on our website here.
892150 Cherry Creek Vista 4-65-28-1H Gas and Oil Well Permit; and
895208 Eastern Hills 17-18 2H Gas and Oil Well Permit.
Because of all the rules and regulations protecting the oil and gas industry, we’re not looking at these development projects as a fracking issue, as we believe that, legally, there is nothing we can do about fracking at this time. We are looking at these development projects from their potential impact to our community.
Even though the City passed an Ordinance amending Section 146-1207 of the City Code for oil and gas facilities in 2012, both of these development projects are still seeking 4 more variances from city zoning codes, which will bend the City’s own codes even further. We have summarized the variances below, but we strongly encourage you to read them, in total, for yourselves. They can be found on Pages 4 and 5 of the Eastern Hills Operations Plan and the Cherry Creek Vista Application Letter posted on the City’s website.
- Equipment Height – City limits equipment height to 20 feet – variance requests 31 feet, 6 inches.
- Private Access Roads – City requires that roads are 23 feet wide and conform to design standards – variance requests roads that are 16 feet wide and don’t conform to design standards.
- Fencing – City requires screening with “non-flammable material or chain link with slats” – variance requests the use of barbed wire.
- Landscaping – City requires screening with landscaping – variance requests no landscaping.
The rationale for these variances is that these development areas aren’t populated. While it is true that these areas aren’t currently populated, they are planned for future development. Specifically, Eastern Hills is supposed to be a very large residential development, just to the east of Murphy Creek.
The completion of Murphy Creek homes on the south side of Jewell and the Eastern Hills development just to the east of Murphy Creek were originally planned to provide enough rooftops to attract good quality commercial development to our area, and to improve our quality of life and the value of our homes. But, who is going to want to build or buy homes that have 31 foot structures, substandard roads, no screening, and barbed wire fences nearby?
Our City officials are very fond of saying that they provide transparency in government. However, when it comes to the oil and gas industry and well permits, our local government has decided to simply allow these development applications to be forwarded to the director of planning (a City-controlled employee) to be processed administratively, without going before the Planning Commission (a group of non-City-controlled residents), and a public hearing. Additionally, any future changes to the Site Plan after initial approval can be made administratively, again without going before the Planning Commission and a public hearing. There will only be a public hearing if an objection is raised.
The deadline for voicing our opinions about these development applications is Friday, July 18. Before MCGC Neighbors sends in a response to the City, we would like to hear from the neighborhood. Please let us know how you feel about these development applications by filling out the form on our website by Thursday, July 17. We want to hear from as many people as possible, so that we can respond to the City with the opinion of the majority of the community, not just our Board’s opinion.
Anyone is free to add their own comments directly to the Comments section of these Development Applications on the City's website at the links provided at the beginning of this article. You may also add your comments to the Development Applications section of MCGC Neighbors' Bulletin Board.
We will contact Murphy Creek's property manager on Monday to verify that the HOA and Metro Districts received notices of these developments. If so, we will ask how the HOA and Metro Districts will be responding to the City, and we will let you know what we learn.