Glenwood Springs inclusionary housing zoning code might be changing in the new year |

Glenwood Springs inclusionary housing zoning code might be changing in the new year

Construction crews continue work at The Lofts apartments in the Meadows shopping center in 2021
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Glenwood Springs has been working on changing its inclusionary zoning to create more affordable housing for residents, including a proposed change in the percentage of deed-restricted units that are required of developers, a city official said Wednesday.

“Inclusionary zoning are requirements that are placed on developers that are ‘baked in’ affordability,” Watkins Fulk-Gray, Glenwood Springs senior planner, said. 

The Glenwood Planning and Zoning Committee discussed these changes and is making its own edits before approving and sending them to city council. 

City staff originally proposed to change the current code to increase the number of affordable units that would have to be built when new residential development occurs, looking to neighboring communities as an example. 

“Neighboring jurisdictions around us also have inclusionary zoning that fairly closely mirrors what we’re proposing here,” Fulk-Gray said. “Carbondale is very similar.”

The current code for inclusionary zoning in Glenwood requires that 10% of the total residential units in any new residential and mixed-use development proposed to create 10 or more residential units shall be deed restricted. This helps limit the average initial sales price to no greater than that which is affordable to households earning no more than 100% Area Median Income. 

The proposed code change was to amend the 10% to 20% of the total residential units, and the minimum number of units for a project to come under the rule to five instead of 10. 

However, commissioners decided that changing to the five-unit minimum was more likely to affect more locally-owned development proposals, which they were not in favor of. The existing 10-unit minimum was more desired because it would be more likely to impact larger development companies that are not located in the region.

The commission also amended the proposal to maintain the current code for a 10% deed restriction on projects with for-sale unit, and to amend the code to a 20% deed restriction on rentals units for new developments of 10 or more units. 

Commissioner Peter Waller motioned to amend these changes and Commissioner Joy White seconded. The vote passed unanimously. 

Since Colorado has a law against rent control, this is one way municipalities are able to create affordable and workforce housing for their residents, Fulk-Gray said.

Glenwood Springs acting Community Development Director Hannah Klausman explained that Glenwood Springs has a process to hold rental companies accountable to make sure they are following rental deed restrictions, but it would be interesting to get more direct communication with renters. 

“When any renter signs a lease, (the landlords) have to report to Garfield County Housing Authority for approval,” Klausman said. “And Garfield County Housing Authority has been doing this a very, very long time and is a trusted consultant.”

She added that they work closely with city staff and “staff has the lovely task of making sure that they’re updated with all the units that are coming online … so that Garfield County Housing Authority can interface with the developer would be that main point of contact,” she said.

Many communities in the state have inclusionary zoning, including Aspen and Carbondale. Glenwood has had inclusionary zoning since 2001. The 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 in 2017 and, in 2021, the city adopted a new set of rules.

These are the first proposed amendments to the 2021 adoption, Fulk-Gray said.

In Glenwood Springs, the current median condo purchase price is $532,000 and the current median house price is $850,000, numbers presented by Fulk-Gray show. An affordable home for a family of four at 100% AMI in Glenwood is $377,000. 

He said that rental prices are a lot harder to track, but renters are being priced out as well. 

From the housing study in 2019, the amount of cost-burdened households in Glenwood is 41%, Fulk-Gray said. This means more than 30% of a household’s income is going to housing expenses. 

These changes will now go to city council to be voted on sometime in the new year.

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

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