County aims to renew airport talks


Adams County officials plan to reach out to Denver to end an ongoing feud over proposed plans for an Airport City surrounding Denver International Airport.

The goodwill move, which was unanimously approved by the newly-reconvened Airport Coordinating Committee during its Jan. 17 meeting, will ask Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to provide three representatives to join three others from Adams County on an Airport Consultation Committee.

District 2 Adams County Commissioner Charles “Chaz” Tedesco, Commerce City Mayor Sean Ford and Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan were chosen during the meeting to represent Adams County on the Airport Consultation Committee.

“We would rather have a conversation with Mayor Hancock than to start the litigation process,” said District 1 Adams County Commissioner Eva Henry. “For us, this is kind of a concerted effort to get Denver to come and sit down at the table with us.”

A 1988 intergovernmental agreement that laid out the stipulations and restrictions regarding DIA’s construction and development provided the framework needed to create the Airport Coordinating Committee, which convened for the first time last month after previous Airport City talks with Denver hit an impasse in October 2011.

About 30 to 35 Adams County, Aurora, Brighton, Commerce City, Thornton and Westminster officials currently make up the Airport Coordinating Committee.

This same agreement also allows for the creation of an Airport Consultation Committee, which will be charged with “ensuring that Adams County and Denver have the information needed from each other to carry out their respective responsibilities under the agreement and development of the land in the immediate environs of the New Airport,” according to a Jan. 17 Adams County statement.

The call to Denver represents a renewed hope that talks will continue to move forward on Hancock’s ambitious plans to expand DIA by creating an Aerotropolis and spurring aviation and non-aviation related development in a 9,000-acre area around the airport.

Adams County officials have been supportive of the proposed Aerotropolis plans but agree that Hancock’s proposed Airport City plans violate the 1988 agreement, which limits residential, commercial and industrial development to areas south of 72nd Avenue, and south and east of an open-space buffer along Pena Boulevard.

“While we have not heard the specifics of their proposal, we welcome the news that our regional partners want to renew discussions to address major opportunities that will be created by a robust Airport City/Aerotropolis initiative,” Hancock’s spokeswoman Rowena Alegria said in a Jan. 18 statement. “Our goal from the beginning has been to participate in a comprehensive collaborative process and framework that will benefit the entire region.”


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