Meadows ‘Lofts’ seeks major fee reduction
Developers of the proposed Lofts at Red Mountain, an 81-unit apartment project at Glenwood Meadows, want their fees cut by more than half, saying Glenwood Springs’ fee structure is prohibiting quality multifamily residential development.
“To be blunt, the current impact fees kill the financial feasibility of this project,” Dylan Leonoudakis, vice president of development for Realty Capital, wrote City Council in a May 1 letter, prior to the project earning a recommendation for approval by the city Planning and Zoning Commission.
“We are not looking to avoid our fair share of impact fees, but without some relief from the current fee structure there is no way for us to help address the need for quality affordable housing in Glenwood Springs,” Leonoudakis wrote.
At more than $1 million, or $12,819 per residential unit, for such things as building permit and plan review fees to water and sewer improvement and fire impact fees, the costs are prohibitive, he said.
A request before City Council as it begins its review of the project during tonight’s regular council meeting asks for the estimated fees to be reduced from $1,038,303 to $453,449.
“This amount is more in line with other cities on the Western Slope,” Richard Myers, managing partner for Realty Capital, indicated in a June 10 letter.
Even then, the project is “still only marginally profitable and financeable,” he said.
The Lofts project calls for 81 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments split between two four-story buildings with 5,808 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
The project would be built on about 2 acres of the larger Glenwood Meadows planned unit development, on the south side of Wulfsohn Road just below and west of the existing Glenwood Green Apartments.
On-site amenities would include an outdoor pool and spa, cyber cafe and fitness room.
“Within walking distance of Glenwood Springs Community Center, Ride Glenwood Springs bus system, Glenwood Meadows Market Street retail and downtown, the Lofts at Red Mountain will be a great pedestrian community,” according to the developer’s project description.
The project will also emphasize energy-efficient construction with “resort-style amenities,” and “will be a one-of-a-kind community development for the Western Slope” that is intended to meet Glenwood Springs housing development goals.
The Lofts apartments are proposed to be market-rate rental units, targeting tenants who earn between 80 percent and 120 percent of the Garfield County “area median income,” according to the proposal before council tonight.
To deliver that product, though, several design variances are also being sought, in addition to requested fee reduction.
Among the variances recommended for approval by P&Z during its May 26 review of the project is a reduction in the number of required parking spaces from 211 to 137, given the smaller unit sizes. Also recommended for approval by P&Z was a building height variance from 40 feet to more than 54 feet in the case of the Loft buildings.
P&Z recommended that council deny variances related to ground cover landscaping and for use of an existing city easement for the main access to one of the building lots.
Leonoudakis, in his May 1 letter, asked that City Council and P&Z address the fee issue before the project came before council. However, that discussion has not taken place, leaving it for council to delve into during the project review.
“We are proposing market-based affordable housing, which is greatly needed in Glenwood Springs, without seeking property tax cuts or state-sponsored money,” he also pointed out in the letter.
“Left unchecked, these fees have grown exponentially and have become impediments to economic development,” he said.
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