Apartment projects going through review in Glenwood Springs | PostIndependent.com

Apartment projects going through review in Glenwood Springs

An architectural rendering from RAL Architects of one of the 11 buildings in a proposed 105-unit apartment complex on the Bell Rippy property above the BRT station at 27th and Blake.

Another plan to potentially bring more rental units to Glenwood Springs is coming before City Council next month, while yet another, much larger proposal is also wending its way through the city's development review process.

Together, the proposed Maltea Apartments in West Glenwood and an apartment development on the Bell Rippy property above the Bus Rapid Transit station at 27th Street and South Blake would add 118 units to the local housing inventory.

The proposals come at a time when there's a stated lack of modest-priced workforce rental and for-sale housing available in the lower Roaring Fork Valley.

But, as with two other large apartment projects that have been approved by the city in the past 13 months, the 185-unit Lofts at Red Mountain and 116-unit Oasis Creek Apartments, the latest proposals come with some strings attached that could determine whether they actually go forward.

The city's Planning and Zoning Commission last week was split 3-3 on whether to recommend approval of the 13-unit Maltea Apartments just off U.S. 6 in West Glenwood. The development site is located on a section of old Garfield County Road 135 near the Phil Long Honda dealership.

Under the plan, a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom multifamily townhouse/apartment units would replace four modular units and two single-family houses currently situated on the 0.7-acre site.

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Some P&Z commissioners were concerned about a design variance requested by the developer that would eliminate the requirement for a sidewalk. City code calls for an 8-foot-wide sidewalk and adjacent planting strip fronting the property.

"However, no sidewalk exists that connects the site to the greater pedestrian network" along U.S. 6, a planning staff report for the project notes.

Because the former county road right of way is narrower than most city streets, there's also not enough space to accommodate a sidewalk, staff said in recommending approval of the variance.

City Council will get the final say when it considers the Maltea proposal on June 15.

P&Z is also set to send a recommendation to council in late June or July regarding a major development permit to build 105 apartments in 11 separate buildings on 6.5 acres of what's formally known as the Oakhurst Subdivision.

The vacant, somewhat sloped site located due north of Wal-Mart and east of the gated section of Blake Avenue above the BRT station is more commonly known as the Bell Rippy property.

P&Z opened its public hearing for the proposal in April, but a long string of requested design variances and some last-minute tweaks to the plan by the developers resulted in another continuance from the May 23 meeting.

That plan calls for 99 two-bedroom and six one-bedroom units.

"All of the apartments will be owned and managed by the project owner and rented to help subsidize the current workforce housing shortage in the Glenwood area," according to a project narrative by RAL Architects and the owners of the property.

Applicants cite the rental vacancy rate of 1.8 percent for the third quarter of 2016, compared with 2.4 percent the prior year, as reported by the Colorado Multi-Family Housing Vacancy and Rental Survey.

"This has led to rising rental costs leading to a 9 percent increase in rents per bedroom," the application states. "Further, many of the large rental apartment complexes located in the city are restricted to low-income or elderly tenants, leaving fewer options for moderate-income, working-class families and individuals."

The project would target professionals who are earning between $40,000 and $60,000 per year, while the unit type being proposed would be ideal for couples, families with one or two children, and singles "looking to diffuse housing costs by having a roommate," according to the application.

To accomplish that, however, the project is looking for design variances related to mix of housing types, parking, building orientation, sidewalks and driveway grades.

The matter was continued from the May 23 P&Z meeting, as the developer is working to update the site plan in an effort to address some of the concerns raised at the April meeting.