Enough’s enough, say Mel Ray residents
The Garfield County commissioners got an earful about Mel Ray Road in West Glenwood Monday during a public hearing on a proposed apartment complex.The outcry apparently swayed the commissioners, who denied the application for a six-unit apartment building at 241 Mel Ray Road in a 2-1 vote.Residents who live on the busy street complained about front-yard drinking parties, high truck traffic and lack of sidewalks.Developer Duane Stewart was seeking county approval for a preliminary plan for six apartments, with 10 parking spaces in the rear of the building. A mobile home now sits on the property. Laura Merritt and husband Kevin, who live across the street from Stewart’s property, said 10 to 15 men lived in the trailer and often drank in the front yard.The Merritts also complained about a broken sewer, low water pressure in the summer, and above all, car and truck traffic on the already busy street, which connects Highway 6&24 to residential areas behind the Glenwood Springs Mall.Mel Ray passes by commercial establishments, small apartment complexes and single-family homes before running into Donegan Road and crossing to quieter neighborhoods.The Merritts collected 13 signatures on a petition opposing Stewart’s plan.Bill Dodds-Scott, a longtime Mel-Ray resident, said the street’s no-parking signs were taken down, worsening congestion along the street.As for the six-plex, he said, “Take it out to the Mojave Desert and build it there.”Neighbors Katherine and Randy Wagner griped about the danger to pedestrians on the street.Even with off-street parking at the apartment complex, people would still have to back out into Mel Ray, Katherine Wagner said.Without sidewalks, pedestrians face dangerous conditions when they walk along Mel Ray, Randy Wagner said.”The speed limit is rarely observed,” he said, adding that drivers go between 30 and 40 mph rather than the posted 25 mph.”This is a real serious problem that needs to be addressed before there’s more development,” he said.”I feel that area is in dire need of annexation to the city,” said commissioner Larry McCown. “The city has chosen to ignore it.”With that, McCown made a motion to approve the preliminary plan, but he was outvoted.By approving the project “we are creating undue hardship” on the neighborhood, said Commissioner John Martin.”We’d be setting up an ongoing neighborhood feud for the future,” he added. “Common sense dictates something to us and we have to consider that as well.”
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Garfield County libraries will host James Edward Mills in its second event of the spring lecture series for a virtual conversation about changing the faces of the outdoors.