How can I get involved?
The master planning process relies heavily on public input to inform the vision for the site. Public engagement will include a variety of in-person and virtual events. Register and subscribe on What’s Up Wheat Ridge to stay informed. Refer to the "Public Process" to see what events are upcoming
Why should I get involved?
We often see the public speaking up during zone changes or site planning, but by that point, approvals are based on their compliance with an adopted plan. That’s why it’s important that you be involved in the creation of the adopted plan. This chart shows how the master plan relates to development approvals, and why it’s important to get involved now.
What is a master plan?
A master plan is a long-range planning document that articulates a vision for a specific area. Unlike the City's comprehensive plan which outlines a vision for the entire City, a master plan describes more specific goals for the land use, design and transportation for a specific area. A master plan is sometimes called a subarea plan, small area plan, or station area plan.
Refer to the process information handout which explains how a master plan fits into the processes of planning and development and how it relates to the more general comprehensive plan and more specific development approvals.
Right now, the City’s guiding documents only allow for a hospital and medical campus on the Lutheran property. This is our chance, as a community, to envision what the site could be if it were to be redeveloped. Change will not happen tomorrow – this is a twenty-year plan that will be delivered over a long period of time—and your voice is important to this process.
Is this master planning effort being initiated by the City or SCL Health?
Both. The City and SCL Health are partnering on this effort to ensure input from the land owner and the community, with the consultant (MIG, Inc) leading us all through the planning process. SCL Health purchased land at Clear Creek Crossing, and is seeking development approvals for a medical campus there. This creates an opportunity for change at Lutheran, and the City and SCL Health want to define to vision for the campus with community input and based on the realities of what the market and infrastructure can support.
Does the master plan change the zoning of the property?
No. A master plan is a vision document that helps guide future entitlements. While it does set the stage for development, it does not address specifics of exactly what can be developed. Zoning and site development will be potential next steps after the master plan and subject to future public processes.
Is Lutheran moving?
Yes. The new Lutheran Medical Center is being constructed at the Clear Creek Crossing development on approximately 28 acres at I-70 and 40th Avenue. Lutheran Medical Center will stop acute hospital operations at its current site once the replacement facility is open (estimated to be late 2024). The property will likely be sold to a developer (or multiple developers) in the future. Given the size of the existing campus (approximately 100 acres) and the fact that it currently allows for medical use only, SCL partnered with the City of Wheat Ridge to ensure a well-defined, coordinated redevelopment strategy through this master plan process. The master plan establishes a long-range vision for the site, and it will guide the reuse of the property.
West Pines, which was slated to stay, is now exploring their options for locations and partners to improve behavioral health services. Here’s the press release and article that announced that partnership and plans.
What will be developed at the Lutheran legacy campus?
This is the reason for the master plan! There are no development plans for the campus, and the master plan is meant to inform the potential for future development or redevelopment. Some things may change, but some things will stay the same. The master plan process will work to identify and, if possible, retain key cultural and historic resources on the existing campus. Some of the uses that are on the existing site, may remain, and continue to serve the community in their current locations.
How specific is a master plan?
A master plan does not identify specific users or site plans. It needs to communicate the overall vision and goals, but leave some flexibility for future developers. The master plan will be focused on 1) confirming a viable vision, one that respects the community’s concerns and SCL Health’s responsibilities to their patients and staff, and 2) helping to set up the regulations and policies that will ensure the quality of and contribution to the addition to our community to come.
Who will be developing the site?
While SCL Health owns a majority of the site and it lies within the City of Wheat Ridge, neither SCL Health nor the City of Wheat Ridge will deliver change – the future of this site will delivered by a partnership (or partnerships) with the development community.
What is happening to the blue house and chapel?
The blue house and chapel are located on the Lutheran campus close to 38th Avenue. Built in 1902, the Blue House was one of the original structures on the Lutheran property and housed a reception area, the Superintendent’s office, and eight beds on the second floor for critically ill patients. The Blue House was converted into a dormitory for nurses following the 1920 expansion, and in later years, was used as a thrift shop and as a tearoom. The structures are privately owned by SCL Health and are not currently on any historical registries. Because of their conditions, they are not being used today.
The master plan is a high-level document and is not going to specify the disposition or future use of any specific buildings on the site, including the blue house and chapel. There are many options that can be explored, and while the master plan may outline those options, it's atypical for any specific action to take place during a master planning process. Due to their current conditions, a prospective buyer or developer would need to explore if or how the structures can be integrated into the project as a whole after the master planning process ends.