Life in Acres Green means having a Lone Tree postal address, but ultimately being part of unincorporated Douglas County.
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The housing development that is surrounded mostly by Lone Tree and shares a border on its west end with Highlands Ranch is often mistaken for being part of one or the other.
The Acres Green Homeowners Association enforces rules for the properties in the neighborhood. The county governs the area.
The development of Acres Green began in 1971, 24 years before the City of Lone Tree incorporated around it. In 1995, when Lone Tree became a city, the residents of Acres Green remained part of unincorporated Douglas County.
The neighborhood has two parks, Lonesome Pine and Acres Green, both managed by South Suburban Parks and Recreation. At the center of the community is Acres Green Elementary.
Nearly 1,050 households make up the neighborhood for a population of just more than 3,000, according to U.S. Census data. The community comprises less than 1 square mile.
Some residents who are new to Acres Green may be confused as to why the Lone Tree Police Department doesn't patrol their neighborhood, or why four different garbage collectors come through their neighborhood at different times each week. Being unincorporated means relying on services through the county and the Acres Green HOA, rather than a centralized set of services. That means policing in Acres Green is done through the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, with occasional assistance from the Lone Tree Police Department.
Sharon Van Ramshorst has lived in in Lone Tree since 1982 and served as a councilmember from 2004-12. Van Ramshorst said there's confusion among residents on both sides, causing frustration from Acres Green residents who have a Lone Tree mailing address but can't receive resident rates for things like the Lone Tree Recreation Center.
“It's important people understand Acres Green is not a part of Lone Tree. People in Acres Green don't understand that and many people in Lone Tree don't understand,” said Van Ramshorst, president of the Park Meadows Metropolitan District.
Another big difference: The median home value in Acres Green is $402,300, compared to $627,600 in Lone Tree, according to the popular real estate website Zillow.com. The median annual household income for Acres Green is $87,547, compared to $118,892 in Lone Tree, according to city-data.com.
Being in Acres Green can mean feeling detached, in some ways, from the community that surrounds its residents. But living there also offers opportunities, both within Acres Green's borders and beyond.
“We have an elementary school and we have good friends and neighbors — and we have friends in Highlands Ranch and Lone Tree as well,” resident Lauren Rudolph said. “We're just a little different, I guess.”
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