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Council OKs restaurant plans

Dennis Webb

A developer can go ahead with plans to open restaurants at the former Elk Mountain Motors dealership in downtown Glenwood Springs after a City Council decision Thursday night.Council overturned a city Planning and Zoning Commission decision to deny a parking variance being sought by the property’s developers.However, council also sought to address the concerns of nearby residents by requiring a restricted parking program in north Glenwood Springs.In allowing the parking variance, council members praised the restaurant plans, saying it would improve the entrance to downtown and is in keeping with the city’s downtown plans.”I think it would be a shame if we lost this project,” said council member Joe O’Donnell.However, some residents near the property said it will only add to the problems they already face.The planning commission had denied a request for a variance from the city’s parking requirements for indoor-outdoor restaurants. Steve Lundin asked for the relaxed parking restrictions for the building across from the Hotel Colorado.Lundin proposed 44 parking lots on the property, and three more adjacent to it. That’s enough to allow some restaurants and some other uses on the property, but Lundin said most of the interest in the property is from restaurants because of the pedestrian nature of the area.Lundin says that pedestrian nature justifies giving him a break on the parking requirements.The planning commission had stood by city rules requiring 64 parking spaces if only restaurants are on the property. Council’s decision to overrule P&Z is contingent in part on Lundin’s going forward with an offer to take measures such as having the restaurants provide bus passes to employees and encourage that they walk or bike to work, so they don’t park on site.Linda Hollowell, who lives near the restaurant site, told council the lack of parking was Lundin’s problem and shouldn’t be residents’.”It’s not something beyond the applicant’s control. The applicant chose that spot,” she said.Other residents of north Glenwood supported allowing the parking variance, however.”We need something nice for Glenwood and that’s going to be a great beautification for Sixth Street and the entrance to Glenwood Springs,” said Floyd Diemoz.Larry Beckwith was the only council member to vote against the variance.”We have these rules for how to design things and then we’re going to overturn them and we just set a precedent,” he said.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com


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