Glenwood Springs City Council amends inclusionary housing code requiring 20% deed-restricted units

Neil Darnell, left, and Eric Galindo of Taylor Fence cut pieces of fencing to be installed at the new Altitude Apartments between South Blake and Palmer avenues near Walmart. The five-building, 100-unit apartment complex is the latest residential development to be built in Glenwood Springs ahead of new affordable housing requirements.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Glenwood Springs City Council took the recommendation from city staff last week for a new inclusionary zoning code, increasing the percentage of deed-restricted units in new development of five or more units to 20%. 

The current code requires that 10% of the total units in any new residential and mixed-use development creating 10 or more residential units are to be deed-restricted for certain income categories. This helps limit the average initial sales price to no greater than that which is affordable to households earning no more than 100% of the Area Median Income (AMI).

Those requirements were suspended in 2011 to help spur development after the recession and housing crisis that led to a glut of foreclosed homes on the market. The inclusionary zoning was repealed altogether by the former City Council in 2017 and, in 2021, the new Council at that time adopted a new set of rules with the 10% requirement.

But it was viewed by elected city leaders as a work in progress, especially as affordable housing has become even more scarce in recent years.

The Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission had recommended amending the 10% to 20% of the total residential units, but leaving the minimum number of units for the code to apply at 10, in an attempt to not negatively impact smaller, local residential projects. It also recommended applying the code only to rental units, and not for-sale units.

Work continues on the upper buildings at the new Altitude Apartments complex in south Glenwood Springs between Blake and Palmer avenues near Walmart.
John Stroud/Post Independent

At the Jan. 5 City Council meeting, Councilor Ingrid Wussow initially moved to adopt the P&Z recommendation, with an exception for builders of rental units who want to condominiumize the units for later sale. Then, the deed restriction requirement can be 10%, she offered.

That way, “10% applies to for-sale, 20% applies to for-rent, and can drop to 10% if they choose to condominiumize,” she said.

She added the reasoning for her motion was because the broader 20% requirement might stall developers from wanting to build in Glenwood Springs.  

“If we don’t create a climate for them to want to build, they won’t,” Wussow said. “They won’t build and if we increase it to this, I’m only worried about the for-sale units. I don’t want to touch for-sale units beyond 10% because we haven’t even vetted it.”

Councilor Tony Hershey seconded, but the motion failed with all other councilors voting against it. 

“Looking at an Alpine Bank e-newsletter from a few days back where it says Edwards and Glenwood Springs are the third-highest percentage of second homes; that’s not what I want for our community,” Councilor Paula Stepp said.

Stepp explained that she feared that trend would perpetuate if the for-sale housing was not included in the 20% deed restriction code change.

Councilor Charlie Willman made statements about voting inside a vacuum and wanting a more comprehensive housing strategy and plan before making decisions on inclusionary zoning.

Councilor Shelley Kaup made the second motion to follow staff’s recommendation with their findings. That was seconded by Councilor Marco Dehm. The motion passed 4-3 with Wussow, Willman and Hershey voting against it, and Kaup, Dehm, Stepp and Mayor Jonathan Godes in favor.

This was the first of two readings for the inclusionary zoning changes, so further amendments could still be made.

Some of the last major residential development to occur in Glenwood Springs was the Loft apartments at Glenwood Meadows, pictured during final construction in this January 2020 file photo.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Post Independent reporter Cassandra Ballard can be reached at or 970-384-9131.

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