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Thread: Highlands Ranch at 25: smart or sprawl?

  1. #26
    Mar 2006
    Highlands Ranch, CO

    Not sure what the problem is

    I'm not sure what the problem is some people have with Highlands Ranch.

    I grew up a couple miles north of Highlands Ranch in Littleton. I just returned to Colorado out of 10 years and we just purchased a house in Highlands Ranch. We looked all around the south side of the Denver area, and we found our best options in Highlands Ranch.

    Highlands Ranch is new, clean, and has more very ample arteries to prevent congestion. There are great rec centers, parks, greenbelts, and trails which serves my biking hobby well. Everything we need is within about 4 miles of us, and most of what we need on a daily basis is within 1.5.

    Yes, the houses pretty much all look the same. So? My wife and I drove to downtown Denver yesterday down University and there was an area of older houses and large trees and my wife commented, "This might as well be part of New York City." And she was right. Many older houses look very similar to many other older houses just as today's newer houses look similar to other houses built recently. I feel it's just a matter of picking your style. Personally, I think the older houses look nice to drive by, but I wouldn't want to live in one.

    The HOA rules are also a benefit. It prevents rednecks from painting their house bright pink and parking broken-down trucks on their front lawn. If those are the kinds of neighbors you want, don't look in Highlands Ranch.

    I also haven't experienced any of the "smugness" that people claim in Highlands Ranch. People are nice, period, and none of them ask where you're from before they're nice.

    In short, I just don't understand the criticism leveled at Highlands Ranch.

  2. #27
    Kobayashi's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Mobile, Alabama
    Quotes from this thread made the LA Times today.


  3. #28
    Mar 2006
    What can be so sprawling about a place where the lots are 1/8 of an acre? I know that answer is probably that the commercial strips are full of huge parking lots and big box stores. But is seems to me that it that the density of the residential development could lead to more vibrant, mix used, walkable neighborhoods. I have been in cities where the lots are larger than 1/8 an acre.

  4. #29
    Jan 2005
    San Diego, California
    I moved to Highlands Ranch when in high school, and as a high school student, it was paradise. The area was growing exponentially at that time, and there were dozens of new students every week. Meeting people was incredibly easy. The school was free of the cliques so many high schools have, there was no gangs, no violence, no fights, no racism among the students -- I had never experienced anything like that. I met several people who I still am in contact with more than a decade later, something I can't even say as much about college.

    As far as the neighborhood, my family met good friends before we even met in our house, and we still stay in contact with those people eight years after leaving Highlands Ranch. We knew most of our neighbors, most of them were very down to earth, and had moved in from all kinds of places -- California, Iowa, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma -- you name it. Everyone was new and looking to meet people -- it was as friendly as anywhere I have lived.

    Yes, the houses come in three colors -- light blah, medium blah and dark blah. And at that time, there were no services nearby. But guess what -- the company we moved there with now has their Denver offices in Highlands Ranch, there are many restaurants within walking distance of the office, and the people who live there are able to maintain a self-contained community within a couple of miles from home if they desire. Yet at the same time, I never found Highlands Ranch isolated. I always said I lived in Denver to anyone outside of the area -- to me, a metro area is the primary belonging and a city or suburb is secondary. I had Avs tickets, Nuggets tickets, Rockies tickets, went to LoDo frequently -- I felt very connected to the city as a whole.

    Mass transit was an issue when I lived there, but the LRT line came in right after I moved -- many people I know back there take the LRT regularly now.

    Overall, Highlands Ranch was a great place to live, go to school, and work. I don't understand the bias against the community, other than it "looks like California" (in my opinion, our houses out here in SoCal are more attractive, as I prefer the stucco to wood siding), and there was quite an anti-California bias in Denver in the 1990s.

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