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Rezone of old north Glenwood quarry before P&Z

Map courtesy Glenwood Springs Community Development Department
Staff Photo |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A rezoning proposal for the old Holly Quarry site at the base of Iron Mountain, which could accommodate a future hotel and an inclined cog rail access to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, is before the city’s planning and zoning commission tonight.

Caverns Park owner Steve Beckley is under contract to buy the roughly 27-acre site from the Pitkin Iron Corp. The property, marked by the scarred rock face that is highly visible from the Glenwood Meadows area across the Colorado River, has been idle for several years.

Beckley would like to eventually build a lodge on the site, with some guest rooms quarried into the side of the mountain, plus a 260-space parking lot, a cog rail to serve as another access to the park, and possibly a mining museum.

“It’s another way to get people up and down the mountain, and it takes away the wind issues we have with running the tram,” Beckley said of the proposed cog rail.

The Adventure Park sometimes has to shut down the tram on windy days, meaning park visitors must be bused up the winding, gravel access road.

“We’re probably looking four years down the road and multiple phases to do all this,” Beckley said. “But for our business and for the tourism business in Glenwood to be able to continue to grow, we have to plan ahead.”

The first step is to rezone the property, from its current General Industrial zoning, which is subject to the city’s Hillside Preservation overlay guidelines adopted in 2000, to the proposed Iron Mountain Planned Unit Development (PUD).

The Glenwood Springs P&Z continued an April 23 hearing on the rezoning request until its 6 p.m. meeting tonight at City Hall.

In the meantime, the applicants and city staff have been working to address several concerns in the PUD proposal related to traffic, building and site designs, including vehicle and pedestrian access to the site, road improvements on Traver Trail, Highway 6 intersection improvements, building heights and landscaping.

The Colorado Division Parks and Wildlife has also requested a mitigation plan for potential impacts to bighorn sheep herds in the area.

City planning staff has recommended approval of the rezoning, but with numerous conditions to address impacts from the future development of the site.

Several area residents, including those living in the nearby Oasis Creek subdivision, have expressed concerns related to traffic, light pollution and the proposed removal of the hillside preservation protections that accompany the current zoning.

Traver Trail resident Noelene Dennie wrote in a letter to the editor that, in addition to traffic congestion on the road, “There would be a significant visual impact on the hillside.

“The Hillside Preservation Act, established to minimize development on the hillsides, is not included in the requested commercial zoning change,” she wrote. “This means that height restrictions and visual impacts can be overlooked.”

However, city staff points out in its memo to the P&Z for tonight’s continued hearing that, while a PUD eliminates the hillside overlay rules, those protections are still included as part of the PUD design standards.

The proposed P&Z action tonight would only rezone the property. An actual development plan would be submitted at a later time.

Beckley said the project would ultimately be designed to minimize any impacts on the surrounding neighborhood, and with the hillside protections in mind.

“We believe this will be a good project that will help Glenwood Springs, and we will do anything we can in our power to address the concerns to the best of our ability,” he said.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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