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Council scolds developers

Before developers look at expanding Glenwood Meadows, they had better tend to problems with the existing project, Glenwood Springs City Council members told them Thursday night.Council members criticized the developers over unfulfilled promises involving landscaping, dust and light pollution, and also said a conceptual plan to add more retail to the development fails to adhere to the original vision of a mixed-use development at Glenwood Meadows.Glenwood Meadows was supposed to be “a walkable community where people would live and work,” said council member Dave Merritt.He said he’s concerned about where the hundreds of people working at Glenwood Meadows are supposed to live.Council member Dave Johnson told developers, “I would hope you could find some retailers that would be pleased with having some employee housing mixed in their buildings. I would strongly suggest that.”Miller Weingarten Realty is proposing to add about 75,000 square feet of retail space to the development, which has about 400,000 square feet of commercial space.But council member Joe O’Donnell said he’s not ready to support an expansion, based on what he has seen to date.”I don’t think you did a very good job out there. … You made a lot of promises you haven’t kept, particularly on landscaping,” O’Donnell told Steve Shoflick, a Miller Weingarten executive.O’Donnell told Shoflick Glenwood Meadows has a big weed problem.”I don’t know where you live but I don’t think you’d want to live with that in your neighborhood,” O’Donnell said.Shoflick said he’s not proud of the current state of the landscaping.”I take full blame for that fact,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned we’re very unhappy with what’s there.”He said Miller Weingarten has had trouble getting staffing to do the work, got behind on grading before last winter set in, and then got behind on seeding, and has had trouble getting seeds to germinate.He said contractors have applied sod and landscaping blankets to try to address the problem.Council member Larry Beckwith urged the company to cut the weeds down, but added, “I’ve got to admit that for a project that’s that huge and that big, it looks relatively nice out there for the time being.”But Mayor Bruce Christensen complained about semis that were parked in plain view for months, and about difficulties getting retailers to abide by light pollution ordinances. And Merritt said the development generated “enormous amounts of dust.”He added, “Storm water controls were abysmal and the runoff into the Colorado River was really embarrassing to see.”Said Christensen, “Maybe we can learn from what we got behind us and if we do a phase two it will be no dust, green grass and lights out at 11 o’clock.”The property in question was originally envisioned for a hospitality use. After hearing from a consultant, council had decided a city-subsidized convention center wasn’t feasible at the site, at least for now. But some council members aren’t ready to give up on the possibility of lodging being built on the property, which Merritt noted would tie in well with the city’s nearby Community Center.In an interview after Thursday’s meeting, Shoflick said he believes retail to be a good and viable use for the property. Despite council’s concerns, he also noted that the property’s zoning already allows for retail.”We’re not looking for rezoning at this point,” he said.That means the city’s only remaining authority is to provide technical review of whatever retail proposal Miller Weingarten submits.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com


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