Glenwood Springs City Council OKs senior home plan, quarry rezone
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — City Council on Thursday cleared the way for a new assisted and independent living home, memory care unit and nursing/rehabilitation facility to occupy the 4.3-acre former Sunlight Racquet Club site on Midland Avenue at the 27th Street roundabout.
Construction is expected to begin later this year on the Stoney River assisted and independent living home and memory care facility, which will be operated by the First Phoenix Group out of Marshfield, Wis.
“We have done extensive market research that shows there is a strong demand here for this type of facility,” said Terry Howard, president and CEO of First Phoenix, which operates similar facilities in the Midwest.
Completion is anticipated in late 2014 or early 2015. Reservations for the residential units are usually accepted about “six or seven months” prior to opening, Howard said.
The facility will include 34 assisted living units for residents needing some level of daily care, and 22 one- and two-bedroom independent living units in a 74,600-square-foot, two story building with a large dining room.
A separate 20,000-square-foot building will have 24 rooms for residents needing extra supervision as a result of memory loss, including patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
A 70-space parking lot, including 20 beneath the building, will serve the facility, according to the development plan.
In addition to approving a major development permit for that facility, Glenwood Springs City Council agreed to subdivide a smaller parcel for longtime property owner Terry Claassen to develop a 16,988-square-foot nursing and rehabilitation facility to round out the complex.
The nursing facility will have 18 patient rooms that could accommodate double occupancy, Claassen said. Construction is planned to run concurrent on both projects, so that they will open about the same time, he said.
Claassen previously earned approvals for a high-end hotel and condominium project to be built on the site after the former racquet club was torn down. However, that project ran into financial troubles in the aftermath of the 2008 recession and was never developed.
As a condition of approval for the hotel project, Claassen partnered with the city to fund and build the 27th Street roundabout.
Access to the site will be from a common entrance on the 27th Street side of the roundabout. A total of 70 parking spaces will serve the facility, including 20 spaces for residents beneath the assisted/independent living building.
Council approved the development plan on a 5-0 vote. Mayor Leo McKinney and Councilor Ted Edmonds recused themselves from voting on the application under the council’s conflict of interest policy.
Hotel, cog rail rezoning OK’d
Also approved by City Council on a 7-0 vote Thursday was a request by the Glenwood Caverns and Adventure Park to rezone the 27.4-acre former Holly Quarry site at the intersection of Traver and Transfer trails above Highway 6&24.
The new Iron Mountain Planned Unit Development will replace the former industrial zoning. The Caverns, which has been under contract to buy the property, was given an extended three-year period to submit a detailed development plan for a hotel with rooms bored into the hillside, a mining museum, parking and a cog rail access up to the amusement park.
Normally, an applicant is given six months from the time a property is given PUD zoning to submit a development application. However, due to the complexity of building on the old quarry site, including geologic tests to make sure the project is feasible, Caverns Park owner Steve Beckley said the extra time will be needed to develop the plan.
Several area residents, including those living in the Oasis Creek neighborhood above the site, expressed concerns about traffic and safety on the road serving the property once it is developed. They also emphasized the need for pedestrian access to the site.
Other concerns related to visual impacts, light pollution, noise from construction, impacts on wildlife and competition with the existing lodges in Glenwood Springs.
The Caverns “has certainly brought a lot of new business to town, and I do believe this will be an improvement to that hillside,” Traver Trail resident Jerry Lombardo said of the decades-old scar that was left by the old quarry.
“But you do need to consider the impacts to that [Highway 6&24 and Traver Trail] intersection, and the road,” he said. “That is the biggest concern.”
Council members agreed the rezoning is appropriate, and that the eventual development will be an improvement to the abandoned mine site.
“I understand the residents’ concerns, and they are legitimate,” Mayor McKinney said. “But I don’t think they are insurmountable.
“This is the type of project that could potentially do a lot for Glenwood Springs,” he said.
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