Council says no exceptions to development moratorium
Gran Farnum faces a tight deadline, even by the standards of a print shop owner, following a decision by Glenwood Springs City Council Thursday night.Council gave final approval to a moratorium on annexations and developments in south Glenwood Thursday, to give the city time to make decisions regarding transportation needs in that part of town and other infrastructure issues.In doing so, it decided against making exceptions for two ongoing projects that could be delayed because of the way the moratorium is worded. One of those involves plans by Farnum to move his shop from South Grand Avenue to a new site on Airport Road.Now, Farnum’s only hope of being excluded from the moratorium is to get his development proposal in by next week, before the moratorium ordinance is published as a legal notice in the Post Independent and takes effect.Farnum said after council’s decision that he’s not sure he’ll be able to get a proposal together in time. And that leaves him wondering whether he instead should consider moving his business to one of several other communities where people have told him it would be welcome. But that’s not his preference, he said.”I want to stay in Glenwood. My family’s been in business over 100 years” in town, he said.Mark Iddings, who owns the Airport Road property where Farnum hopes to move, had inquired with city officials earlier about the moratorium and been given the impression it would not apply to the project because the development application had started last year.City Council had conducted a conceptual review of the proposal last year. However, as the ordinance is worded, such a review must have occurred within six months of the ordinance’s adoption for the city to consider the development application to have started. The Gran Farnum review took place in early August, outside that six-month window.The moratorium similarly affects a housing development planned on land owned by Chris and Diane Steuben at Midland Avenue and the Old Cardiff Bridge Road. Council conducted a conceptual review of the plan last May.The Steubens had hoped council would make an exception for their project. But council voted 5-2 Thursday in favor of a moratorium that failed to provide waivers for any projects.”We can’t allow a lot of exceptions because then we’re wasting our time passing the ordinance,” council member Joe O’Donnell said.Some council members said some projects were bound to be affected, no matter what cutoff dates the moratorium included.But council members Chris McGovern and Larry Beckwith voted against the moratorium as worded, saying the city should have recognized that the two projects were ongoing. “You can’t just automatically throw up barriers in front of people. They’ve got property, they’ve got plans,” Beckwith said.City manager Jeff Hecksel said he’s optimistic that the city will be able to make decisions regarding transportation and sewage issues quickly enough that the moratorium can be lifted in six months.Farnum’s fear is that the city will end up extending the freeze on developments and annexations beyond that time frame. “Then I’ve made a mistake in wasting those six months,” he said. However, he said he understands the reasons behind the moratorium.”I realize that they’ve got a traffic problem. I’ve got to go through it every day,” he said.
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