FedEx looks elsewhere for new facility
A land developer for package shipping company FedEx has withdrawn plans for a controversial new distribution center in the south Glenwood Springs area and is looking at another undisclosed site.
An application to amend Garfield County’s approval for the 27,000-square-foot facility near the city airport related to a fee for city street impacts was withdrawn earlier this week.
Although the original approvals for the project remain intact, the company is focusing on another site, said Glenwood Springs attorney David McConaughy.
McConaughy represents Kiernan West LLC, the company charged with finding a location to build the new FedEx facility. He said he was not at liberty to disclose the possible new location.
“My impression is that FedEx has listened to the concerns of the city and is looking at other options that will hopefully be a win-win,” he said, adding the new location would become public once a formal development application is made.
Garfield County commissioners in September approved plans against the city’s wishes for the new package sorting and distribution facility to be built on a 9-acre parcel located just outside Glenwood Springs city limits by the airport.
The approval carried conditions requiring FedEx to pay the city $585,000 for street improvements to accommodate the expected increase in traffic, including between two and four large trucks per day, and to dedicate a piece of land for the future South Bridge project meant to connect the area with Highway 82.
Glenwood Springs City Council has rejected the money, however, saying the cost of necessary long-term improvements to Airport Road, South Midland Avenue and the 27th Street bridge is far greater.
Council has said any major new development in that area, be it commercial or residential, would require a more comprehensive plan to fix the street infrastructure.
“I am both elated and relieved,” said Glenwood Springs Mayor Leo McKinney, who lives in that part of town. “This is a victory for the people in south Glenwood who would have had to bear the brunt of the impacts related to the development.”
McKinney said it also sends a message that development along the South Midland corridor and up Four Mile Road outside the city “will absolutely have to be tied to solutions for improving the existing single access infrastructure that we have today.”
The matter regarding the conditions of approval for the FedEx project had been set for a special Jan. 20 county commission meeting. That hearing has now been canceled, although the original development approvals remain until FedEx pursues other land options.
The city had previously asked FedEx to up its share for road improvements to around $1.7 million, saying that would be a more equitable share for the nearly $20 million in potential street improvements that have been identified by the city. That’s not including the more extensive South Bridge connection to Highway 82, which alone has an estimated price tag of about $40 million.
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Federal lands in and around the Roaring Fork Valley will be under a Stage 1 fire restrictions starting Friday, officials with the White River National Forest and Bureau of Land Management announced Wednesday morning.