Glenwood Springs council approves details of requests for qualifications for affordable housing projects on city owned parcels
The Glenwood Springs City Council voted 4-2 to approve a request for qualifications setting out the desired elements of an affordable housing project during Thursday night’s meeting.
Mayor Jonathan Godes and Council Member Tony Hershey voted against approving the request for qualifications.
The qualifications are meant to let a potential development partner know what the city is looking for.
The city’s housing commission worked on the qualifications, which aim to develop two parcels of city-owned property into affordable housing for employees.
One property is located at Eighth Street and Midland Avenue, which is 17,500 square feet and zoned as residential high density, allowing a maximum of seven units to be located on the corner lot.
The Iddings property, which is also a vacant property totaling 35,332 square feet located along Airport Road across from Morgan Street and Clark Street, would allow up to 14 housing units.
Hannah Klausman, senior planner for the city, told council members the housing commission would like to move forward with both properties, but understood that the city council had some concerns.
“This project is not asking for variances at this time,” Klausman said, noting that development codes would be applied just like any other development.
Klausman said the council should look at the Basalt Vista project—a recently completed affordable housing project.
“That product type is kind of an ideal going forward,” Klausman said.
Council Member Ingrid Wussow said she didn’t believe the qualifications needed to promote maximizing density at either location.
“I think we need more three bedrooms and families to land while they establish time and get immersed into the community,” Wussow said. “I prefer ownership over rental. I think that gives an opportunity to diverse backgrounds in the community to be immersed in the community.”
Council Member Paula Stepp said she understands the concerns about the Iddings property, noting that the council could require a delay in development for that property until the South Bridge project was either approved or in the process of being constructed.
The city has been planning and designing a second southern bridge connection to Colorado Highway 82 from south Glenwood since 2007. The project would provide another evacuation route for residents of South Glenwood.
Hershey voted against the request for qualifications and voiced his opposition against promoting growth in Glenwood Springs altogether, saying residents of Glenwood Springs do not want more traffic congestion and strain on resources due to growth.
“We are in a tiny, little valley surrounded by three mountains and it’s not the city’s role to encourage more growth,” Hershey said.
Godes voted in line with Hershey, but had very different reasons for doing so.
“Winter park is 90% second home owners. That is a hollowed community,” Godes said. “Trades people, people like us are quickly going to become extinct in this town.”
Godes said the worst thing the council can do to alleviate traffic congestion is to tell folks that work in Glenwood Springs or Aspen to move to Rifle or Silt, further jamming up Interstate 70.
“We import about 70% of our workforce into our community. Having people being able to walk to work takes a lot of cars off the road,” Godes said.
“I can’t vote for it, that being said. I can’t philosophically or morally get to where we put any development and add more cars to an evacuation route, even the contemplation of that is just tough for me, personally.”
Until there’s another connector for South Glenwood, Godes said he couldn’t back putting more people in harm’s way in the event of a wildfire evacuation.
Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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