Glenwood Springs City Council to determine fate of proposed housing development in West Glenwood
City P&Z recommends denial of 360-rental unit development
The Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-0 last week to deny both the annexation of 15 acres in West Glenwood and rezoning the parcel as a residential planned unit development, citing conflicts between the developer’s project plans and the city’s current comprehensive plan.
The proposal now heads to Glenwood Springs City Council for consideration.
R2 Partners, the developer for the project, presented a multi-use development plan to construct 360 residential rental units at 214 Center Drive. The site is located just north of the Glenwood Springs Mall.
A total of 38 units would be deed-restricted and offered as affordable housing within certain income ranges.
Overall, the units would include 95 studio units, 110 one-bedroom units, 94 two-bedroom units, 28 three-bedroom units and 20 townhomes.
Commissioner Sumner Schachter said the annexation creates potential adverse impacts to the city and neighborhoods in terms of health, safety and welfare.
“It’s up to Glenwood to decide what that small town in the modern era looks like, not from a single developer,” Schachter said.
The comprehensive plan notes Glenwood Springs has a workforce housing shortage of over 2,000 units.
A 2019 study determined those most commonly in need of housing in Glenwood Springs are expected to be 45 years old or younger, indicating that there’s a demand for rental units rather than more expensive, single-family homes for purchase, according to meeting documents.
“Excluding the subject site and the units counted in the Greater Roaring Fork study, there are 587 new units in the development pipeline, which is sufficient to supply only three years of future growth,” said Barry Rosenberg, principal of R2 Partners.
“The pipeline units are insufficient to address any of the 2,000 units of unmet demand.”
City Council will have the ultimate say as to whether the annexation and rezoning applications are denied or approved, while the planning and zoning’s decision serves as a recommendation for council members to consider.
“Now that they’ve voted, it will go to the city council for at least two meetings,” Rosenberg said Thursday. “That’s going to happen sometime in July.”
Rosenberg said his team is going to work through the comments made by the planning and zoning commission.
“We are looking to probably make some changes to address that and we plan to present that to the city council,” he said.
Rosenberg said the housing shortage’s detrimental impact to Glenwood Springs won’t be sufficiently addressed through smaller housing projects that would take years to come to fruition.
“We’ve been working with the city for over 12 months. The Diemoz (family) have obviously owned the property for over 50 years. The original plan was 415 units, and we’ve continually massaged and changed this plan to fit what we were told early on about the small town character and density,” Rosenberg said. “All of that is taking place with an ongoing dialogue with the city.”
Rosenberg said R2 Partners has offered to contribute $40,000 to kick start efforts to complete a fire evacuation plan. Wildfire risk had been a major concern expressed by nearby residents. The absence of that plan was one reason P&Z denied the applications.
That would require the collaboration of state, county and local governments and transportation authorities.
“I think the city needs to do that whether we develop or not,” Rosenberg said.
A traffic study stated that the project would increase traffic in the area from 31,000 to 33,200 trips per day, which assumes multiple trips would be made by a single vehicle. That means an additional 2,200 trips, not 2,200 additional vehicles.
Rosenberg said studies found that 2,400 people commute to Glenwood Springs every day.
“Glenwood is a major employment hub,” Rosenberg said, noting that the inability to find affordable rental units near or in Glenwood Springs is contributing to staffing shortages.
Rosenberg said the 360 units wouldn’t come close to housing 1,000 people — a claim made by Glenwood Springs resident Lacey King in a recent letter to the Post Independent.
Rosenberg said management plans would keep the occupant numbers at less than 600.
Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.