I-25 traffic and Castle Rock photographed ...

CASTLE ROCK — When the first houses go up in the Dawson Trails neighborhood in Castle Rock in a couple of years, it will mark the beginning of the end of metro Denver’s decades-long southward migration.

This fast-growing town in the heart of Douglas County has no plans to annex any land farther south for development, meaning that what lies between Monument and Castle Rock today — vast expanses of open space and natural landscape along with a few dispersed ranchettes — should remain that way for future generations.

In other words, there is a place where one can escape the clutches of Denver and the suburbs that encircle it. A place where the prospect of more homes and more shopping centers and more bumper-to-bumper traffic finally dies.

There is, in fact, an end to metro Denver.

“That’s as far south as the Douglas County master plan shows any urban development happening, outside the town of Larkspur,” said Steve Koster, assistant director of planning services for Douglas County.

With fewer than 300 residents, Larkspur has no expansion plans in the pipeline. And if it ever does, it will be largely hemmed in by large swaths of land protected by conservation easements and preservation designations — the result of the purchasing power of Douglas County’s nearly 30-year-old open space sales and use tax.

The county currently has more than 64,000 acres off-limits to development via open space and easements. Voters will decide this November whether to extend the tax for another 15 years.

“For at least the foreseeable future, that does limit the growth to the south,” said Phyllis Resnick, executive director and lead economist with the Colorado Futures Center at Colorado State University.

But the natural buffer between Castle Rock and Monument — and in a larger sense between Denver and Colorado Springs — in no way means that urban sprawl is a done deal in metro Denver. The state demographer’s office forecasts that Douglas County alone will have nearly 400,000 residents by 2025 and more than 450,000 by 2040.

Growth is exploding in Lone Tree, Parker and Castle Pines, which broke ground on a housing development at the end of 2019 that will double the size of the town directly north of Castle Rock.

The metro area as a whole, which has just over 3.2 million people now, will grow to just under 4 million in the next 18 years, according to the state …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – News


Metro Denver’s growing sprawl now has a hard southern boundary

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