Glenwood Springs weighing new plan for Midland Avenue housing
A developer whose plans for a mixed residential project on Midland Avenue were shot down by Glenwood Springs City Council earlier this year is back with a new plan for an apartment complex that he says meets the city’s goals for affordable housing.
Craig Helm of Western Slope Properties is seeking amendments to a 38-year-old annexation agreement that would allow for 100 percent multifamily housing and greater density on the 6-acre site in the 2200 block of Midland. The mostly vacant property is located about a third of a mile north of the 27th Street roundabout, backing up against Red Mountain.
The proposal, along with a conceptual plan for a four-story, 71-unit apartment complex being called Midland Avenue Lofts was to go before City Council on Thursday. However, Helm has requested that the hearing be continued to mid-December so that he can refine his presentation.
If the annexation agreement is amended, Helm would still have to take his development proposal through the formal application process, probably early next year.
“Any amendment to the annexation agreement is tied to the development proposal, so this upcoming meeting from our view is the all-important meeting,” Helm said. “We want the council to look at whether they want this project or not.”
Helm was denied in August for a plan to build 34 free-market houses on the site, including 12 single-family homes, 12 town homes and 10 duplex units.
A 3-3 vote served to deny the project after Councilman Todd Leahy had to recuse himself because of business ties to Helm.
But the three council members who voted against it, Kathryn Trauger, Steve Davis and Stephen Bershenyi, had different reasons for doing so.
A primary concern for Trauger and Bershenyi was that the former plan, with suggested home prices in the $400,000 to $500,000 range, did not allow for better affordability.
Helm said the new plan addresses that by offering a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom rental units instead.
“There is a need in Glenwood Springs to provide more affordable housing types that can help teachers, police officers, young professionals and others be able to live in the community where they are working,” Helm said. “Proposal ‘A’ didn’t accomplish that, and we see this as a very targeted proposal that fits the city’s housing needs.”
The other major concern with the previous plan, and one that some Midland Avenue residents have said is heightened with the new proposal, is density.
Councilman Davis, who lives in that neighborhood, was concerned at the August hearing about allowing anything other than larger-lot, single-family development due to traffic and related safety concerns.
Others have said that any large-scale development on the property would negatively impact wildlife that passes between Red Mountain and the Roaring Fork River.
Nick Kelly, who lives across Midland Avenue from the proposed development site, has decried the plan for higher-density housing because of long walking distances to transit stops and commercial centers. That will mean more residents are likely to drive, adding to traffic concerns, he says.
Helm’s proposal includes a 31-space underground parking garage and 102-space surface parking lot. Both private and common storage areas would be provided, as well as common living areas and a laundry facility.
The building itself would be situated on the back of the site, with more than 100 trees for shielding, Helm said.
Another concern with the previous plan had revolved around emergency access to the site. Helm said the new plan includes a second access point that should address those concerns.
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