Glenwood Springs apartment project hearing continued to May 26 after internet outage
After hearing from several concerned residents, the Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission was expected to vote on the proposed Triumph-Bell Rippy apartment development earlier this week, but the internet had other plans.
At around 9:45 p.m., Tuesday, an outage disrupted the still in-progress Zoom meeting, which forced the commission to continue the hearing to May 26.
Although the commission did not vote on the proposed 100-unit apartment development off of Palmer Drive, many residents still voiced their opposition to the plans as presented by the developer, Triumph Development West, LLC.
“We have lived on this piece of land for almost 40 years,” Laura Speck said during a planning and zoning commission meeting on April 28. “It is such a shame that this plan is not taking more consideration for the disturbance of what this will do to our neighborhood.”
According to a planning and zoning commission report, the Triumph-Bell Rippy development would include 38 one-bedroom units and 62 two-bedroom units in six three-story apartment buildings.
If approved, the development would be built on a 5.74 acre parcel of land adjacent to Palmer Avenue between 26th Street and Blake Avenue.
Triumph Development West, LLC did not request any deed restrictions for the development according to Glenwood Springs Senior Planner Trent Hyatt.
In 2018, city council approved a similar yet separate proposal that included 79 multi-family units in 10 buildings on the property. However, that development never came to fruition.
“We took a lot of what the previous proposal had incorporated and tried to figure out how we could improve on that,” said Mike Foster, an architect with Triumph West Architecture.
The city’s code requires 1.5 parking spaces per multi-family dwelling unit and one guest space per five dwelling units, which would require the development to include 170 spaces.
However, based on the proposal’s proximity to the 27th Street RFTA bus station, that parking requirement was reduced to 136 spaces or 1.36 spots per unit.
“Some people will use mass transit but reduced vehicle use is different than reduced vehicle ownership,” said Trish Kramer, a Palmer Avenue resident. “1.3 cars per unit is unrealistic.”
Triumph Development West, LLC has proposed a total of 150 parking spaces for the development.
According to a traffic analysis prepared by McDowell Engineering, LLC the 100 multi-family apartment complex would increase traffic in the area by 489 vehicle trips on an average weekday.
McDowell Engineering forecasted 30 vehicle trips during the morning peak hour rush and 38 trips during the evening peak hour.
The analysis also stated that the majority of increased traffic would impact the intersections at 27th Street and Highway 82 as well as at Blake Street and Highway 82.
However, a number of residents living in the area questioned the traffic analysis’ numbers.
“I’ve lived here for nearly 19 years right on the corner of 26th and Blake,” said Shelly Lott. “If anybody would like to actually know what’s going on with the traffic, by all means come sit on my balcony…their numbers don’t match up.”
The planning and zoning commission originally heard Triumph Development West’s application presentation on April 28 and took public comment as well.
On May 5, the planning and zoning commission reconvened to facilitate additional public comment and a possible vote from the 7-member commission.
“We’re doing this for all land use items going forward as long as we’re doing virtual meetings,” said Hannah Klausman, Glenwood Springs Public Information Officer. “We wanted to make sure that the public had adequate time to respond to the land use applications.”
Between April 29 and May 4, the city received numerous written comments concerning the Triumph-Bell Rippy proposal. Those comments were read into the record by members of city staff during the May 5 meeting.
“Blake and Palmer avenues are both substandard streets with improper drainage and no sidewalks,” David Turtle stated in his written comments. “Both streets are totally inadequate to handle the traffic they have now, let alone taking on the increase of traffic generated by 100 apartments.”
According to Klausman, public comment for the Triumph-Bell Rippy project was closed just before the internet outage occurred Tuesday night.
As a result, the commission is not required to take additional public comment on the Triumph-Belly Rippy project but does have the authority to do so.
The planning and zoning commission reviews and makes a recommendation to city council for all major site plans, which include 25 or more new dwelling units.
“If you have not walked through these areas, you need to,” Christine Smalley, a Glenwood Springs High School Social Studies Teacher, wrote in her comments. “You need to see people pushing their strollers and kids trying to navigate the already potholed streets on their training wheels; you too would feel the concern that our neighborhood has.”
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