Glenwood Springs City Council approves four small apartments behind ‘Pink Palace’
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The City Council approved plans Thursday night for four small one-bedroom apartments in a two-story house behind an existing house at 1008 Colorado Ave. long known as the “Pink Palace.”
The home, built around 1890, includes five apartments. It’s undergone renovations and was recently repainted something other than its previous Pepto-Bismol pink.
After demolishing an outbuilding, owners decided the spot behind the house would make a great place to build affordable rental housing that could help meet the city’s high housing demands.
Peter and Regina Waller, and John and Marianne Ackerman purchased the property about a year ago. Peter Waller said, “The building of affordable rentals, as you guys know, is a big issue.”
The four one-bedroom rental apartments ” ranging from 287 square feet to around 305 square feet ” would go in a 1,428-square-foot, two-story building. Regina Waller said they would probably rent for around $750 per month. The spot is located at the edge of downtown general improvement district that exempts owners from having to provide off-street parking.
About 40 residents signed a petition saying they “strongly oppose” the plans. It says the surrounding homes are mostly owner-occupied, single family homes and the total of nine rental units on the property “degrades the neighborhood through over-crowding and transient occupancy and devalues these properties.”
Concerns were also raised about the addition creating problems with parking, traffic and snow removal. Police Chief Terry Wilson previously said he believes parking would be problematic, according to planning department documents.
Rachel Pokrandt, a neighbor, said before the meeting that she believes in affordable housing and that people should have nice places to live, but these units are too small and too many for the space behind the existing house.
“It’s a postage stamp. It’s a space for a garage,” she said. “I think they’re trying to shoehorn in as many units as they can to make as much money as they can.”
Stephanie Gerwin told the City Council that the apartments are the size of 1 1/2 parking spaces each, a size that discourages anyone from staying long-term.
“So it can’t seriously be suggested that the town is fulfilling its goals to house local workers when the accommodations are not a sufficient size to support more permanent living,” she said.
Michael Blair spoke about the increasing need for housing and said, “We do need to have more density whether we like it or not.”
Councilor Shelley Kaup said, “We need housing for just about every level of worker, every level of income. If we will not allow housing to be built for the community, then how can we keep our community sustainable?”
She said the plans meet the planning and zoning codes and standards and the owners’ property rights should be considered.
“If we’re going to say on one hand affordable housing is a major issue in our community, it’s difficult to turn around and say on the other hand, not in my backyard,” she said.
Councilor Kris Chadwick said she owns a small rental of similar size and it’s quick to turn over as people want more space. She said the small unit size will cause a lot of transition in the neighborhood and the project doesn’t seem to comply with downtown design standards or fit in with the single-family character of the neighborhood.
Councilor Russ Arensman said it’s a tough decision and he feels for the neighbors who will be caused a hardship. But he added, “All that said, I think I have to come down on the side of affordable housing.”
Mayor Bruce Christensen said the plans will create 100 percent lot coverage, and there would be no mitigation of impacts from the increased density caused by placing a total of nine units on a lot originally intended for one house.
“I think we have not only every reason in the world to deny this, I think we have an obligation to deny this for our community’s sake,” he said.
The motion passed with Christensen and Chadwick casting the only votes against the proposal. Councilor Dave Sturges was absent.
Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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