GLENWOOD SPRINGS — If the city of Glenwood Springs is inclined to approve the annexation of more than 500 acres of ranchland along Four Mile Road for a 413-home subdivision, the 1.5-mile stretch of county road leading to the new development should be part of the deal, Garfield County commissioners concur.
“If this goes forward, the annexation of Four Mile Road goes with it,” Commission Chairman John Martin offered during a discussion among the commissioners earlier this week, as they prepare formal comments on the proposed Glenwood Ridge development.
The project is currently under review by the Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission through at least May, and won’t likely come before City Council until late June or early July, according to a recently revised public hearing schedule.
A host of traffic-related impacts, from upgrades to Midland Avenue and Four Mile, to safety improvements and widening of the 27th Street bridge and ultimately some financial contribution to the proposed South Bridge project, also need to be considered in the context of the proposed development, county commissioners said.
“I can’t see how this can go forward without addressing all those issues,” Martin said, noting the county does not have veto power over the proposed annexation and development but can raise concerns and offer comments.
Florida-based developer Elk Meadows Properties proposes to turn the former Bershenyi and Martino ranches, situated on either side of Four Mile Road just beyond the existing Four Mile Ranch development, into a series of three connected residential neighborhoods with a mix of 225 single-family and 188 multi-family units.
According to the proposal, only about 13 percent of the larger 506-acre site would be developed, including a 16.7-acre public park near the main entrance east of Four Mile Road.
An additional 1,140 acres making up what’s known as the upper Bershenyi ranch would not be annexed, but is proposed to be deeded to the city for open space with limited access.
The lower section of Four Mile Road itself is not proposed to be annexed as part of the plan, and would continue to be owned and maintained by Garfield County, unless the city were to agree to take over that stretch of road as a city-maintained street.
“I agree, the road needs to be annexed to the south end of the development,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said.
Wildlife concerns, including impacts to the elk migration corridor across the ranch properties and down the Four Mile Creek drainage, also need to be adequately addressed, he said.
Similar issues have been raised by city planning staff and numerous residents of the Four Mile area as the Glenwood Springs P&Z continues its review of the proposal. A public hearing is set to resume at 6 p.m. April 22 and will likely continue at subsequent meetings into May.
P&Z was originally to make a recommendation next week and refer the matter to City Council for a May 15 hearing. But that schedule is now being pushed out until at least June 19 and possibly mid-July. Council was to decide Thursday on a revised public hearing schedule.
Glenwood Ridge developers have proposed building or funding the construction of a roundabout at Four Mile Road and the Midland Avenue/Airport Road intersection, which is envisioned as part of the larger South Bridge project.
According to a recent traffic count conducted by the city, the section of Midland Avenue between Mount Sopris Drive and 27th Street carries an average of 8,912 cars per day. The Four Mile Road intersection has an average of 2,940 cars per day passing through it, according to that same study.
“The proposed development, at final build-out (expected in 2035) would generate approximately 3,330 daily trips into and out of the (South Glenwood) neighborhood,” according to a city planning staff report for the April 8 P&Z hearing.
That would include trips to and from the proposed public park and ball field complex that’s part of the development plan, according to the report.
City engineering staff identified more than $16 million in roadway improvements along Midland and 27th Street that would be needed to accommodate that and other future traffic projections, even if the estimated $39 million South Bridge connection to Highway 82 south of Glenwood Springs.
If South Bridge is not built, the cost for necessary road improvements along Midland at 27th Street could be significantly more, city engineers said in their report to P&Z.
In 2007, Garfield County turned down a 189-home development proposal on the same piece of property where Glenwood Ridge is now being proposed, over many of the same traffic and density concerns.
The county did approve the lower-density Four Mile Ranch subdivision, after city of Glenwood voters a decade ago rejected the former Red Feather Ridge proposal on that site, located just down the road from the Glenwood Ridge site.
Other entities that would stand to be impacted by the proposed new development are also preparing comments to submit to the city, including the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 related to likely student enrollment increases and other impacts from the Glenwood Ridge project.