Access, parking issues stall senior housing plan
Ryan Summerlin July 22, 2014
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Concerns over emergency vehicle access and enforcement of parking restrictions within a West Glenwood residential subdivision have put the brakes on a developer’s plans to build 11 new houses targeted at buyers age 55 and older.
Glenwood Springs City Council, at its July 17 meeting, voted to send the proposal back to the city’s planning and zoning commission to iron out issues related to city fire code requirements, parking and performance bond details.
P&Z initially recommended approval of the project in May. City planning staff also gave a favorable nod to the plans contingent on several conditions meant to address some of the concerns.
But residents of the 13-lot West Glenwood Estates Subdivision where the senior housing project is proposed say a condition prohibiting parking on the main access road, without the provision of replacement parking, is unacceptable.
“To punish the existing homeowners for them to have a max development is just plain wrong.”
Gamba Drive resident
The proposal calls for five duplex buildings and one single-family house, for a total of 11 units, to be built on the last remaining undeveloped lot in the subdivision, located north of Donegan Road on Gamba Drive, near the Soccer Field Road intersection.
Last September, the city agreed to rezone the undeveloped 2-acre portion of the subdivision for additional houses. That area was originally set aside for a church that never materialized.
Don Markley, representing a group of investors who own the lot, presented plans earlier this year for an “independent living” senior housing development.
The houses are to be restricted to those age 55 and older, and would be built with wider-than-normal stairways and doorways and other features to accommodate the occupants’ needs as they age.
The senior units would be accessed by a new one-way private road extending from Gamba Drive. To maintain access for emergency vehicles, one condition would be that no parking be allowed on the narrow, privately maintained street as is now allowed by the existing homeowners.
“To punish the existing homeowners for them to have a max development is just plain wrong,” said Gamba Drive resident Brian Olesen, who suggested the developer give up one of the duplexes in order to provide neighborhood parking.
Markley has offered to build five guest parking spaces on a 6,000-square-foot lot that would otherwise fulfill his open space requirement.
If street parking is disallowed, there’s also the question of enforcement, which, because it’s a private street, would be left up to the homeowners’ association.
City Council agreed with the developer that the project fulfills a housing need for a particular segment of the population. But the access and parking plan needs more work, a majority of the council said.
“This is a needed project, but maybe we’re trying to jam too much into too little space,” Councilman Matt Steckler said.