GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A proposed rezoning from residential to commercial on the west side of Pitkin Avenue in the 800 block earned a favorable nod from the Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday.
P&Z voted 4-2 recommending approval of the request to rezone the area from R/3 multi-family residential to become part of the C/2 Core Commercial zone district.
The request, which was initiated by property owners in the affected area, now goes to City Council for consideration later this fall.
A separate proposal before council calls for including the one-block area in the city’s General Improvements District, which would remove on-site parking requirements for any new development in that block.
The area in question is west of the Garfield County administration building and the Glenwood Springs Post Office, framed by Eighth and Ninth streets on the north and south, and School Street to the west.
The block is comprised of eight separate parcels, three of which are now owned by Garfield County and used for surface parking for county employees.
Owners of the five residential parcels, all of which front Pitkin Avenue with back entrances or separate living quarters on School Street, approached the city last month requesting the zoning change, according to city planner Jill Peterson.
The proposed commercialization of that block plays into the larger discussion by the city and the Downtown Development Authority about updating the city’s conceptual plan for the confluence area.
That plan envisions redevelopment of much of the confluence area west of Pitkin Avenue, including the extension of Eighth Street to the existing bridge across the Roaring Fork River, which would provide a more direct connection from downtown to Midland Avenue.
Planning consultants are putting together a conceptual plan that calls for a mix of commercial and high-density residential development, along with new civic amenities, parks and trails.
One concern among P&Z members Tuesday, which led to the split vote, was that any rezoning should wait until after the confluence planning process is complete, Peterson said.
The Roaring Fork School District is also beginning its own master planning for the Glenwood Springs Elementary School campus, located immediately west of the proposed rezone area.
One idea being discussed as part of the confluence plan is a possible swap involving the school district-owned Vogelaar Park for city land south of the school. If that happens, the confluence plan could lead to the creation of a larger residential zone, possibly taking in the 800 block of Pitkin.
“There was some hesitancy among some of the commissioners,” Peterson said. “Some members felt that maybe we should put a hold on rezoning until the confluence and school district planning are done.”
Under the C/2 zoning, the area could accommodate mixed-use development, as envisioned in the confluence plan.
That particular zoning allows for buildings to cover 100 percent of a property, without any setbacks, and maximum building heights up to 40 feet. Buildings could be up to 60 feet under special review.
Inclusion in the General Improvement District would require separate action by City Council, Peterson explained.
“Only properties that are located within the boundaries of the General Improvement District (GID) are exempt from providing parking relative to whatever use is located on the site,” she said in her staff report to P&Z.
Because properties in the GID pay a special property tax intended to provide public parking and other amenities, they are exempt from on-site parking requirements.
A specific date has not been set for City Council to hear the Pitkin rezoning and GID requests, Peterson said.