Glenwood Springs council boosts affordable-housing offerings in exchange for property encroachment at Meadows Development |

Glenwood Springs council boosts affordable-housing offerings in exchange for property encroachment at Meadows Development

The proposed location for the development of 14 buildings containing 300 apartments on about 28 acres in a portion of Glenwood Meadows south of Wulfsohn Road.

Glenwood Springs City Council voted earlier this month to ensure 15 units at a development underway in Glenwood Meadows are designated affordable in perpetuity in exchange for a necessary encroachment on city land.

BLD group and Glenwood Meadows, LLC are developing 300 units south of Wulfsohn Road. The project requires an underground encroachment on Glenwood Springs’ dedicated open space.

When the developers first came to the city council, they requested a geogrid easement or an underground encroachment on city land to build a retaining wall coming off the slope of Red Mountain. 

The encroachment itself will be completely underground, but the council decided that, even with an underground encroachment, the land still has value, and they should create an estimate in exchange. 

“When the engineer drew these initial plans, he left 30 feet from the edge of the roadway to the boundary line, and, because of the way the city’s process works, you get  to 100% engineering drawings, and the engineer says ‘Oh, wait, because of this slope above this, we need to nail out another 10 ½ (feet).’ That’s why we’re here,” Chad Lee, the Balcomb and Green lawyer representing the BLD Meadows development company, said at the Sept. 15 council meeting.

Council Member Shelley Kaup said the city was required to pay for all encroachments for Midland Avenue reconstruction. She said she wanted to add some form of value to the property whether it be 50% of market value for the land, 15 deed-restricted units in the complex in perpetuity or for the foreseeable future. Lee, on behalf of the developers, had previously proposed to deed-restrict 15 units for 10 years.

“Typically, on a construction easement like that, we pay about 50% of the surface value, or the fee interest value, or a construction easement for similar soil nail like on the Midland project that we just did,” City Attorney Karl Hanlon said. “We as the city, for asking for a similar easement on neighboring properties, we’re paying about 50% of fee value.”

Proposed subsurface encroachment on open-space city land for the BLD Meadows Development
Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 1.30.21 PM

Lee told Mayor Jonathan Godes and the rest of council that he did not feel locking those units up in perpetuity was a fair trade. 

Lee said that the company had already been willing to exchange 15 deed-restricted units for 10 years, but the value on 15 deed-restricted units forever is much higher than a 50% of market value for the actual land being used. 

“It’s not an equivalent value,” he said.“I thought the value was more like 15%; Karl convinced me 50% is a fine ask. That’s fine here. The fact is, this application and I don’t want to mis-litigate this, but we have a development code, and those are the rules. When you file your application, you’re subject to those rules, and, at that time, there was no affordable-housing regulation. Throughout this process, my client offered up 15 units for 10 years, and I think that was a pretty good thing to offer. We’re willing to pay $15,000, which is what staff determines the value.”

Council motioned to grant the easement for them converting 15 units that were deemed as affordable housing at 100% Average Median Income for Glenwood Springs in perpetuity. Council voted with five members in favor and Council Member Ingrid Wussow and Mayor Pro Tem Charlie Willman opposed.

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