Council to step into fray over sidewalk requirements | PostIndependent.com
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Council to step into fray over sidewalk requirements

Glenwood Springs City Council on Thursday night faces decisions on the most pedestrian of subjects – city sidewalks.Two appeals of sidewalk requirements will go before council. One of them claims the requirements threaten the financial viability of a proposal to move a local print shop onto Grand Avenue, the architect on the project says. Another involves a request by Garfield County to reconsider a sidewalk requirement as a condition of approval for a child advocacy center at 2014 Blake Ave., property that is owned by the county.Council is scheduled to take up the issues at a meeting starting at 7 p.m. at City Hall, at 101 W. Eighth St.Gran Farnum Printing is hoping to move its business from South Grand Avenue to Max Stanton’s property at 1526 Grand Ave. The city Planning and Zoning Commission denied a request that the project be exempted from a requirement for an 8-foot-wide sidewalk with a 5-foot-wide parkway between it and the street.Dean Moffatt, the architect for the project, says the requirement is expensive and is based on a design standard created for larger properties. If it were applied to a lot of existing Grand Avenue properties it would kill many businesses “because it wipes out at least half of everyone’s parking,” he said.Moffatt questions requiring the bigger sidewalk for one small property when it wouldn’t extend to properties on either side. He believes it would make more sense to put it in when the nearby, much bigger Rite-Aid property is redeveloped and gets a new sidewalk too. “But that’s a long time in coming,” he said.Moffatt is asking for the exemption as a way of helping a longtime local business stay in the area. However, some P&Z members worried about setting a precedent in exempting the proposed print shop property. That could make it hard to hold others to the requirement later in hopes of improving things for pedestrians along Grand.While P&Z considered deferring the requirement, some on P&Z said that would mean any trees or shrubs that would be planted out front now would have to be removed.As it is, P&Z agreed to let the existing sidewalk continue past a large tree now on the site so it wouldn’t have to be cut down. The new sidewalk would have to be put in once the tree dies.Moffatt said he has served on P&Z and understands its desire to try to beautify the town.”I’ve always been a real proponent of things that can make our community a visually nicer place. But you have to get some balance with reality and when you’re forcing businesses out of town, you know, the very businesses that we’re trying to keep.”The county appeal on the Blake Avenue property is based on the contention that the city and its police department would be among the agencies using the child advocacy center, and that the city had indicated it would help put in the sidewalk as a partner in the project.Unless the city follows through on that promise, the sidewalk requirement should be eliminated, the county says in a letter to the city.The property sits between Valley View Hospital and Sunnyside Retirement Center. In 2005, the center’s board of directors circulated a petition signed by some 75 people asking for more sidewalks in the area.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 16609dwebb@postindependent.com


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