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Falcon Marketplace and King Soopers

On Dec. 13, 2016, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners voted 3-2 against construction of an ingress point off westbound Woodmen Road in Falcon, Colorado, for the Falcon Marketplace shopping center. Steve Meier, director of development for Hummel Investments LLC, said without that access point, King Soopers, the proposed main anchor for the marketplace, could opt to build in another location.ìWhen King Soopers goes to their real estate meeting at their home office, they are presented with 50 sites around the county; and we want to put our best foot forward for this site,î Meier said. However, King Soopers made it clear that obtaining that access point is paramount to their plans to build at the Falcon Marketplace site, he said.Ben Hummel, owner of the marketplace property, said he received a phone call from King Soopers’ representatives asking if there was space in the marketplace for a buildout. Hummel said a 10.5-acre parcel was set aside for the store, and the representatives did their due diligence and sales projections to determine the viability of the location. ìReally, the only thing they see that is problematic is the access to the site,î Hummel said. ìThey did not think access off Meridian (Road) was adequate so they asked for an access point off Woodmen.îHummel said the county determined there were no safety concerns about creating the access point but denied it anyway, citing sufficient access from Meridian Road to the east and the frontage road parallel to Woodmen Road to the south.Trent Harwig, Falcon Fire Protection District fire chief, said no one asked his department for input about the ingress off Woodmen Road. Although input from the FFPD is not required, it might have swayed the BOCC vote. ìI do not blame the county for not notifying us (about the proposed access point),î he said. ìThey did not really talk about emergency access, though, or what the fire department has to say about it.îHarwig said he does not need the Woodmen access point to get his emergency vehicles into the marketplace site because the department can access it just as easily from Meridian Road; however, Harwig said his concern is about access to the homes in the Village at Falcon subdivision, which is adjacent to the site.ìWhen the Village was built, the frontage road is how to get there, and it creates an additional 2 miles of response mileage for us,î Harwig said. ìWe have to go down Woodmen to Golden Sage Road, do a complete 180-degree turn and come back down the frontage road. That adds about three minutes to our response time.îHarwig said when the Village was first proposed, the FFPD initially required a right-in off Woodmen Road or another way to get into that subdivision. ìThe county was not really excited about doing that,î he said. ìThey talked about doing a break-away emergency access gate as a temporary solution but ultimately that never happened. The proposed right-in access point seems to allow us an emergency access to go right onto the frontage road and have access to the Village, and take off that three minutes of response time. That is why we would be interested in seeing that ingress built.îMeier said the Woodmen access point solved another foreseeable problem, which is the traffic jams around the site: one will occur once the traffic signal at Meridian Road and Eastonville Road is constructed and Eastonville is extended west; and another when the Falcon School District 49 buses are lined up along the frontage road twice a day to run their routes. ìWith the D 49 school bus barn right there, there is a line of 50-something school buses waiting to get out of the frontage road onto Woodmen,î he said.ìAny time it is inconvenient for you to get into or out of a place as a constituent, it is probably not convenient for emergency vehicles,î Harwig said.Hummel said there is support from the community and Mark Waller, District 2 commissioner, for King Soopers as the anchor in the marketplace. Regardless, Hummel said his company is respectful of the planning process and will try to figure out how to get back on the BOCCís agenda.ìI think the project will go forward in some form if King Soopers does not come, but it will not be what it could be,î Meier said. ìIn the event that King Soopers does pass on this site because of the access situation, no, we do not have another big business to go in there. We just do not have a definitive answer.”

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