Latest Oak Meadows housing plan steers required affordable units off site |

Latest Oak Meadows housing plan steers required affordable units off site

Oak Meadows aerial view of the area planned for development of 25 new houses.
Garfield County Planning document

A revised plan to build 25 houses on an undeveloped portion of the Oak Meadows subdivision up Four Mile Road south of Glenwood Springs will not include deed-restricted affordable housing units on site.

Instead, developer Gary Johnson intends to work with Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley to build three new houses under the requisite income guidelines at a location to be determined, as a way to meet the county’s affordability requirement for the project.

Exactly where those units would end up is still to be determined, though Habitat is working with the city of Glenwood Springs on plans for two different sites in Glenwood.

Garfield County commissioners on Tuesday approved an amended preliminary plan for 25 detached, single-family houses at the north end of Oak Meadows off of a county road that services the area, next to Silver King Court.  

The new plan updates a plan previously approved by the county in 2008, reducing the amount of acreage on which the houses are to be built, and increasing the open space by 2.5 acres. The revised plan also does away with a pair of cul-de-sac roads within the development, in favor of a single loop road that will access all of the homes.

County codes in effect at the time the original plan was approved require that the development provide three affordable housing units with a total of five bedrooms, county planner Philip Berry explained during the Tuesday public hearing before the commissioners.

Those units are to be priced, one each, for homebuyers earning 70%, 90% and 110% of the area median income, according to the requirement.

Under the 2008 approval, three accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in addition to the 25 primary houses were to have satisfied that requirement.

But, instead of building the deed-restricted units at the rural site as part of the larger development, Johnson and his project engineer, Mike Gamba, proposed partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build the units at another location to be negotiated.

“The project requires that a certain number of units and bedrooms have to be sold at certain price points,” Gamba, a former Glenwood Springs mayor and city council member, said.

“We’re going to be doing that … by entering into an agreement with Habitat for Humanity to make sure those units are provided for sale (at those price points),” he said.

Gamba did ask that a recommended county planning staff condition be removed that said the Habitat units are to cost the same to build as the ones that would otherwise be built on site.

Gamba said that would be hard to determine, and the Habitat units will cost whatever the going rate is under the organization’s model at the time they’re built.

Berry said the provision was added to ensure the deal wasn’t handled as a cash-in-lieu payment to Habitat, instead of covering the true cost to build the units. Such payments in lieu are not allowed by county code, he said.

County commissioners agreed to remove the condition, on the developer’s word that the Habitat units will be built at the developer’s expense, whatever that is.  

A pair of land owners adjacent to Oak Meadows also raised concerns about the adequacy of water to serve the new development, and possible impacts on their irrigation water supply.

Gamba said the water for the new Oak Meadows homes would be coming from an existing separate source that services the remainder of the subdivision, and should not impact the neighboring ranch properties.

One resident of the area also requested a path to access the open space above the planned new homes, which some residents have apparently already been utilizing.

That’s trespassing, Gamba said.

“Just because they’ve been doing it for many years doesn’t mean they should continue to be allowed to trespass,” he said. 

The homeowners’ association in the future could agree to allow general access to the open space, but that shouldn’t be a requirement of the development approval, he said. 

Commissioner Tom Jankovsky also asked to revise another condition, increasing the number of dogs allowed per residential unit from one to two.

“Otherwise, everyone in that neighborhood will be breaking the rule,” he said.

Commissioners approved the amended development plan on a 3-0 vote.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or

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