Hearings for Glenwood Ridge development reset for August
Public hearings for Glenwood Springs City Council to consider a 506-acre annexation and residential development plan known as Glenwood Ridge have been rescheduled for August so a full slate of council members can be present to hear the proposal.
Council was originally set to begin the hearing July 17, after the city planning and zoning commission’s recommendation earlier this month to deny the annexation along Four Mile Road for the 413-home development proposal.
However, some council members were scheduled to be out of town at that time, and representatives for the developer, Elk Meadows Properties, agreed to the postponement, city attorney Jan Shute said.
“We definitely want a full council to be there for the presentation,” said Larry Green, local land-use attorney for developer representative Gary Menzel. “We heard through city staff that some council members were going to be absent so we agreed to the new schedule.”
Council last week rescheduled the Glenwood Ridge hearing to the regular Aug. 7 council meeting. It also set two special meetings on consecutive Tuesdays, Aug. 12 and Aug. 19, in order to hear public comment, deliberate and ultimately make a decision on the proposal.
Glenwood Ridge is the proposal to annex and develop part of the former Bershenyi and Martino ranches, straddling Four Mile Road (County Road 117) about 1.5 miles south of the current city limits.
On June 3, following several meetings worth of testimony from the developer and public comments dating back to March, P&Z recommended denial of the annexation request and subsequent proposal to build a mix of 225 single-family and 188 multi-family houses over the next 20 years.
The proposal would keep more than 85 percent of the former ranchland in open space, and would include a 16.7-acre ball field complex to be operated and maintained by the city.
An additional 1,140 acres of the upper ranch property that is not part of the annexation is also proposed to be dedicated as open space or for development of a primitive park for hiking, mountain biking and other recreation activities.
The P&Z decision followed a Glenwood Springs city staff recommendation for denial of the project, citing increased costs to the city to provide services such as extra police and fire protection, as well as to upgrade the city streets in the south part of town to handle traffic demands.
Staff also expressed concerns about the developer’s request to be exempt from the city’s affordable housing regulations, and about the lack of a transit system and trails to connect the remote neighborhood with the main part of town.
Green said the development team is preparing a response to the major concerns expressed during the P&Z hearing as part of its presentation to City Council.
“We are contemplating the issues we heard from the P&Z and the public, and how we might respond to those,” he said. “No definitive course of action has been decided upon yet.”
Project supporters countered during the P&Z hearing that the city had underestimated the revenue the new development would bring into the town. And, by building modest-sized homes on smaller lots, Glenwood Ridge would provide more affordable houses without a need for deed-restricted housing, the developer also argued.
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Home values in western Garfield County are way up, according to tax assessors. That will contribute to a higher tax bill next year.