The Arvada City Council turned down a controversial plan by Amazon to build a delivery hub on the city’s west side, voting 5-2 early Tuesday to reject an annexation request by the online behemoth.
The council’s vote came after a nearly eight-hour meeting that focused exclusively on the proposed project, which would have placed a 112,000-square-foot delivery warehouse and more than 1,000 adjoining parking spaces on a 36-acre site at the corner of Indiana Street and West 66th Place.
For several council members, it came down to the traffic — hundreds of delivery vans moving on and off the property every day — that would end up on on already heavily traveled roads.
“We have a lot of problems on our streets,” Councilwoman Nancy Ford said. “I think that’s going to become a real burden.”
Mayor Marc Williams said he would have preferred the council refer the issue to the ballot so residents could vote on it. He was one of two council members to vote against rejecting Amazon’s annexation request, which would have brought land from unincorporated Jefferson County into Arvada’s jurisdiction and placed it under the city’s light industrial zoning.
Residents against the Amazon distribution center had for months aired concerns not just about the traffic, but also how much noise and light pollution it would create and the possible effect on wildlife and quality of life for people who live nearby.
They characterized the project as a heavy industrial use that did not fit with the light industrial zoning the company sought. Opponents collected nearly 10,000 signatures from residents against the project and organized protests at major intersections.
The public comment that started Monday night and wrapped up Tuesday morning was almost entirely against the project. Councilwoman Lauren Simpson acknowledged that while the land Amazon had been eyeing was never intended to remain open space or undeveloped — according to Arvada’s comprehensive plan — it wasn’t necessarily destined to become an Amazon delivery hub either.
Amazon representatives said the new facility would produce hundreds of new jobs and was in line with the city’s comprehensive plan, which calls for industrial development at the site. They noted the surrounding area already has warehouses and industrial operations, complete with truck traffic.
Amazon also argued it had agreed to eliminate nearly 200 parking spaces from its original proposal and include an eight-acre green space buffer between the facility and Maple Valley Park to the north. Amazon’s lighting study showed that very little light would escape from the site because of the down-facing lamps it planned to use in its parking lot.
To alleviate traffic problems, Amazon had planned to stagger delivery runs to avoid the rush hour. An Amazon representative, who attended the meeting virtually, said he expected that all delivery vehicles at the Arvada facility would be electric by 2025.