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Neighbors worry plan to develop parking lot will wipe out prairie dog colony

Posted at 8:08 PM, Jul 26, 2021

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. -- A prairie dog colony could be in jeopardy if a proposal to develop a parking lot moves forward. The Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners is set to take up the rezoning application during its board meeting on Tuesday, July 27.

The vacant lot is located near E. Harvard Avenue and S. Trenton Way, which is just south of a Comcast building in the Iliff Business Park. The land is also home to a colony of black-tailed prairie dogs. According to a report submitted to the county, a wildlife biologist estimated there were about 80 prairie dogs at that location.

"I would be devastated," said Heather Anderson, who lives in the neighborhood across the street.

She said the kids in the neighborhood love seeing the prairie dogs, and she would hate to see anything happen to them.

“I pleaded with them to do right by just the people that live in the area and just Aarapahoe County," Anderson said.

The application to develop a parking lot with 188 spaces and 10 landscaped islands was submitted by Comcast last year. The Planning Commission previously recommended approval with a vote of 7-0 during a meeting held in October 2020.

An assessment listed several options for the colony, including relocation, but added if a site is not found, then Comcast would like to explore other prairie dog management alternatives.

Comcast takes its role as a corporate and community citizen very seriously; we focus on being a careful steward of our properties and strive to minimize any negative impacts our activities could have on surrounding neighborhoods.

To maintain our property, we are moving forward with necessary property improvements at the Comcast property in Arapahoe County, which we hope will include preserving and donating a portion of our property to county open space. Over the last eight months, Comcast worked with multiple wildlife/environmental firms to conduct extensive environmental research and outreach. Numerous options were explored to manage a prairie dog colony located on the property in as humane a manner as possible.