Senate-Passed Bill Paves Way for Commerce City Development

Perlmutter, Gardner, Bennet Measure Included in the National Defense Authorization Act

Washington, DC – The United States Senate today approved the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017, which included a provision introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) and Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) - the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Amendment. The NDAA will now head to President Obama’s desk for signature. The Rocky Mountain Arsenal Amendment allows for an environmental assessment to evaluate the removal of deed restrictions, which currently prohibit the development of things like transportation infrastructure or retail and housing properties, on land that Commerce City purchased in 2004. Commerce City has been working with federal and state regulators to prove the property’s safety, but Congressional action was necessary to remove the deed restrictions and fully allow for residential or industrial use of the property.

The land was formerly a U.S. Army chemical weapons manufacturing facility, but was cleaned up and much of the property was used to establish the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. Gardner, along with Bennet, introduced the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Amendment to change current law to allow restrictions on the deed to be removed or modified if a risk assessment conducted under federal environmental law proves that the property is safe for these new uses. Perlmutter authored similar language in the House of Representatives. In July, Perlmutter, Gardner, and Bennet sent a letter to Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jack Reed (D-RI), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee respectively, and Congressmen Mac Thornberry (TX-13) and Adam Smith (WA-9), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee respectively, urging them to include the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Amendment in the final conference report of the NDAA.

“The National Defense Authorization Act’s inclusion of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal is central to Commerce City’s potential development of the land it purchased nearly a decade ago,” said Gardner. “If the land is deemed safe for development, Commerce City has the opportunity to attract new businesses and jobs, boosting its local economy. This is the result of a strong bipartisan effort, and I look forward to President Obama signing the NDAA into law.”

“Following an environmental review, this amendment allows Commerce City greater flexibility to move forward and continue growing its local economy,” said Perlmutter. “I appreciate the bipartisan effort with Senators Bennet and Gardner to secure passage of this important amendment for the future of Commerce City.”

"This language will finally allow Commerce City to move forward with its development plans following an environmental review,” Bennet said. “These reforms will help boost economic development and create jobs in the community."

“Allowing residential development on the Victory Crossing property aligns with the city’s vision to create a one-of-a-kind space for the community to gather as well as make a home,” said Mayor Sean Ford. “The world-class soccer stadium, the new Central Park rail station and the new RTD bus line are just a few examples of how this area continues to grow and we want Commerce City residents to enjoy those amenities too. For the past few years, the city has been working with federal agencies and partners to remove these land restrictions and we look forward to our continued partnerships to develop this area. Multi-family housing with further strengthen Victory Crossing, providing a sense of place and contributing to a vibrant community.”