Glenwood rejects Cardiff Glen plan
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Developers hoping to finish out the Cardiff Glen neighborhood instead were sent back to the drawing board after Glenwood Springs City Council unanimously turned down their proposal Thursday night.
Council roundly rejected requests for numerous variances that Village Homes of Colorado Inc. had sought for 31 housing units on two parcels. After hearing concerns from residents about parking, emergency access and other existing problems at Cardiff Glen, council member Kris Chadwick issued a stinging rebuke to Village Homes’ proposal.
“I have to say that I am incensed with this current proposal. I think it’s an insult to the city of Glenwood Springs,” Chadwick told developers.
She said it was a waste of time for developers to bring their plans to council after the city Planning and Zoning Commission already had recommended that council deny all the variances.
Village Homes representative Ron Skarka said variances being sought in areas such as setbacks and lot size were partly aimed at helping rein in the rising costs of construction.
“That’s part of what we’re trying to achieve here, is to make the homes more affordable for the work force,” he said.
At the same time, Skarka said the proposal also helped address residents’ concerns because it consisted of far fewer units than were allowed. Had it been approved, Cardiff Glen would have ended up with 163 total units, 54 fewer than planned.
Nevertheless, city planning staff had concerns such as a proposed reduction in open space, and tight emergency access that could be exacerbated if small parking spaces cause vehicles to protrude into the street.
Stephanie Sack-Gallup, who has lived in Cardiff Glen for eight years, voiced similar concerns.
“Please listen to the human part of this development. Please don’t listen to people who are making lots of money,” she told council.
Several other residents also brought up concerns about existing parking problems, construction zone issues, and the fact that the development ended up failing to include a proposed pool, community center and commercial component.
Tom Stevens, also of Village Homes, said the commercial component couldn’t be supported because the city has yet to build a south bridge that would have extended Airport Road and generated enough traffic to support commercial development.
Mayor Bruce Christensen told developers that Cardiff Glen has provided people with quality homes.
“But there are gaps there that have to be resolved and we would be irresponsible if we approved … variances that allowed those problems to perpetuate to an even greater extent.”
Sack-Gallup voiced appreciation Thursday over council’s decision.
“I’ve been waiting eight years for our voices to be heard,” she said.
In an interview, Skarka said he’s not sure what the next step will be for developers.
“You’ve got to go back to the drawing board when you hear comments like that,” he said of council’s chastising of the plan. “It’s a tough issue.”
He said it’s difficult to finish out the Cardiff Glen development without receiving some variances, and he was discouraged by the response Village Homes got from its attempt to propose a lower-density project to satisfy residents.
He also defended the existing Cardiff Glen community in his comments to council.
“This is a nice community and I think people’s homes have appreciated nicely” in value, he said.
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