Glenwood Springs Comprehensive Plan will undergo one last work session |

Glenwood Springs Comprehensive Plan will undergo one last work session

A man walks his dog through the empty parking lot of the Glenwood Springs Mall.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent file

Approval for the updated Glenwood Springs Comprehensive Plan was continued by City Council last week to allow time for one more work session.

The large and vast document was stated as being a living document that both the city staff and council intend to update more often than they did since the last update in 2011. 

“We’re setting to review the Comprehensive Plan every three to five years, as opposed to taking it a little bit longer as we did this time,” said Jim Hardcastle, the city’s community development long-range principle planner. 

Hardcastle said that the Planning and Zoning Commission made a note suggesting that Council allow additional updates from staff to P&Z as well.

City staff, working with a planning consultant, has provided 43 community engagement opportunities throughout the process. 

“Community engagement started out focusing on themes, strategies and actions and then ultimately landed on prioritization and refinement of the things that the staff found to be important within the goals, strategies and policy action items,” Hardcastle said. 

The plan updates that were driven by the community included community goal additions of advancing climate and resiliency, Hardcastle said. Staff added two framework chapters, and he said the city strengthened policy action plans by creating elected leaders, community priorities and general timelines. 

The changes being presented at Council’s  Feb. 16 meeting stemmed from the survey the city ran for the public from Dec. 13 to Jan. 6. 

“We took that public survey and with your council work sessions, worked on updating our commentary and how we strengthened and presented our goals,” Hardcastle said. 

Before motioning to continue with one more work session, Councilor Marco Dehm said that it was best thought of as a living document, “to keep it as fluid as possible.”

“This is a guiding document,” Councilor Marco Dehm said. “This is not code, this is a plan, this is a living document. This document could be adjusted every 12 months as P&Z suggested we do, and every three years as some of the other lines in there said we should do.”

Land use and growth management seemed to strike the biggest chord for Council, causing Mayor Pro Tem Charlie Willman and Councilor Tony Hershey to be concerned that the city was not listening well enough to residents who voted against 480 Donegan, the large residential development in West Glenwood that was rejected in a referendum in 2021. 

“There’s something called a BANANA, build absolutely nothing anywhere near anybody, which is, I guess, worse than a NIMBY in some people’s minds, but are part of this community, and whether they’re a minority or plurality or majority, I think they were certainly a majority in that vote,” Hershey said. 

Mayor Jonathan Godes noted that the community was silent when approving 400 units for Bell Rippy and the Lofts, and even more silent when an additional 300 units came to Council for the Glenwood Meadows after 480 Donegan was rejected. 

“That’s 700 units that the community has accepted in this town over the last five years with little to no comment at all,” Godes said. 

Willman said that it’s not specifically about 480 Donegan, but he felt the wording under Encouraging Redevelopment of Secondary Centers was contrary to how people voted. 

The Glenwood Springs Mall and the properties immediately north may be developed into a mixed-use community, including a range of medium- to high-density residential uses with an internal system of sidewalks and community spaces, thus creating a center focal point for the west end of town, the plan states. 

Before unanimously voting to continue the discussion, Director of Economic and Community Development Hannah Klausman said that this was still an early draft for staff and P&Z.  

“When we were envisioning this document, we felt it would be something that we would take after you have approved the full beautiful plan, and then we take the components and put together an addendum and take it to Planning and Zoning Commission,” Klausman said. “They’re great at getting into the weeds and reviewing documents.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.