Growth boundary group has first meeting
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A first meeting of citizens who oppose the Glenwood Springs City Council’s decision to extend the Urban Growth Boundary was “constructive,” group spokesman Michael Larime said Wednesday.
The group, which does not yet have a name, met at the Blake Street campus of Colorado Mountain College Tuesday evening to begin talks on a possible push to get the council decision reversed.
The decision came Jan. 8 at a special City Council meeting. It voted 4-3 to extend the Urban Growth Boundary to include the Red Feather Ridge development.
The Urban Growth Boundary is a line drawn around the city within which dense urban growth is supposed to be contained. It was first delineated in 1996, and council’s recent decision marks the first change in that boundary.
Another spokeswoman for the group, Marice Doll, said attorneys at the meeting advised the group that they should be focusing on the annexation of Red Feather Ridge rather than the extension of the UGB. Annexation is legally binding, they said, while the UGB is just a guide.
Larime said Wednesday the first choice of everyone would be to see council reverse the decision on the UGB on its own and reject the pending annexation of the property. Barring those developments, the group will seek to put a citizen initiative on the ballot to let city voters decide on whether to annex the property.
“The outcome we hope for is a win-win situation for everybody,” Larime said.
The group also plans to stress the importance of the city’s 1996 Urban Growth Plan to council in hopes that it will be more closely followed in the future, Larime said.
“People were surprised and dismayed that council would move away from the plan so quickly,” Larime said. “We want to see a reaffirmation of the role of the Urban Growth Plan.”
City manager Mike Copp and community development director Andrew McGregor could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
By the end of the meeting, Larime said the group agreed on two major points: they’re opposed to the decision City Council made on Red Feather Ridge; and they’re strongly in support of the original Urban Growth Boundary and the Urban Growth Plan.
The timeline of an initiative is not yet known, but Larime said the group’s intention to seek such a ballot question must be announced within 10 days of a finalization of council’s decision to extend the boundary.
He also said the developer, MidFirst Bank, will refrain from building on the property until land use issues are fully resolved.
“We believe the developer is aware there is opposition out there and is responsible and wouldn’t put money at risk,” he said.
Larime also said the group is aware that Garfield County officials have challenged the annexation and threatened to sue Glenwood Springs if they don’t agree to annex the adjacent parts of Four Mile Road.
“The group is also cognizant of the interest taken by Garfield County Commissioners in these issues and is interested in fostering a more collaborative environment between the various governmental and private entities having a role in current and future land use issues,” he wrote.
The group has not yet appointed a chairman, but it elected Jacqueline Durrett as treasurer. The group also formed a committee of three lawyers to advise the group on legal matters, the letter said.
The group’s next meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 28 in CMC’s Blake Street center. All interested citizens are invited to attend, Larime said. At that meeting, the group plans to select officers, clarify legal issues, begin plans for fund-raising and put together a strategic plan, Larime said.
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