Planning Commission 9/3/20

ROKC Derby’s Andrew Potter informed the Planning Commission that the applicants are more than willing to address the concerns of city staff in order to move forward with the development of the rock-climbing gym/BMX park in Derby’s STAR bond district.

Phase three of the Derby STAR bond project took its next – somewhat uneven – steps forward last week, with a site plan for the proposed ROKC Derby rock-climbing gym/BMX park coming before the Planning Commission for review at its Sept. 3 meeting.

The plans for Derby Destination Development Lots 2 and 3 were incomplete in the eyes of city staff and commission members, with a number of items lacking – including details on parking, landscaping, layout of the BMX park itself and more.

While the consensus was that the rock-climbing gym and BMX Park would make a good addition to Derby, its prominent location near one of the city’s main entry points (the intersection of Patriot and Rock Road) brought a heightened level of scrutiny of the plan elements – some lacking and some missing altogether.

“There’s a lot of details that should come back to this committee first,” said Commissioner Mark Tillison regarding the site plan.

“I’m not comfortable at all unless we ask them to come back with all of those corrected or the majority of them,” said Commissioner Larry Gould. “One more meeting … is not going to put that project that far behind.”

Given its location, building appearance is one of those facets where the Planning Commission wanted to see more detail – especially as the main entrance of the facility will face away from Rock Road.

Commissioners Jessica Rhein and Janet Sprecker agreed that and other factors made it important to know the materials used on the building’s facades before final approval, considering the facility’s high visibility.

“That’ll be a very large building right next to Rock Road,” Sprecker said. “I just really want to make sure they go with good building materials.”

Parking was another element where more information was sought, as there is some discrepancy about the number of stalls that would be required given the multiple uses of the facility (including retail and dining, on top of recreation). While the max allotment may not be needed, City Planner Scott Knebel still recommended a parking analysis be submitted with the site plan.

Overflow into the Rock Regional Hospital and dinosaur park was one of the main concerns of Commissioner Bobby McCrary, but staff noted the plan intends for all parking needs to be met on site at the ROKC Derby facility.

Regarding the BMX Park, Renaissance Infrastructure Consulting’s Andy Gabbert noted those elements were lacking as the applicant is still working on hiring a full-time designer to help in the creation of that feature.

“A lot of that detail comes after the fact,” Gabbert said.

Questioned about their willingness to collaborate with staff to amend the site plan, the project partners noted they were committed to doing what is required to continue moving forward with the development.

“We’re absolutely happy to work with what’s necessary,” said ROKC Derby co-owner Andrew Potter.

Taking into consideration the concerns brought up by city staff and commissioners, a motion was made to approve the Derby Destination Development Lots 2 and 3 site plan subject to items in the staff report, staff/commission recommendation and to address final approval of the site plan at the same time as consideration of the final plat.

Should all things go to plan, it was noted the ROKC Derby rock-climbing gym and BMX Park is slated for a potential opening by Aug. 1, 2021 – an exciting development for all involved.

“I can’t wait for my kid to get a BMX bike and go ride there,” McCrary said.

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