Midland Lofts proposal, fought by neighbors, dies
Developer Craig Helm’s request to amend a 1978 annexation agreement for a 6-acre piece of property on Midland Avenue to allow for his plan to build a four-story, 71-unit residential apartment building was denied at the Thursday night City Council meeting.
Council members said they liked the idea of allowing greater housing density than the original annexation agreement allowed. They also generally want to see more rental housing being built in Glenwood Springs as a way to diversify the mix of more attainable housing types.
But a majority of council said they couldn’t give the tentative thumbs-up on Helm’s development plan that he said he would need in order to proceed with a formal development application for the project.
Bottom line, council said, that section of Midland Avenue is not suited for high-density residential development until major road, sewer and other infrastructure upgrades can be made to that neighborhood.
“I support the concept of multi-family housing, and particularly apartments,” Councilor Kathryn Trauger said. “We need housing for young professionals in this community.”
What she and other council members said they couldn’t support was Helm’s request to link the annexation amendment to a specific development plan.
“That’s not how this process works,” Trauger said.
She also said the decision wasn’t about caving to “NIMBYism” (not in my back yard). Helm’s proposal, as well as a previous 34-unit proposal that was rejected last summer, were met with vigorous neighborhood opposition over concerns including traffic congestion and higher-density development encroaching on what’s mostly a single-family home neighborhood.
Councilor Steve Davis, who lives near the proposed development site, said neighbors have a right to be concerned about a four-story building next to their houses.
“I’m sensitive to our housing situation in Glenwood, but it’s a matter of looking for the right project and the right place to put it,” Davis said.
Council members Leo McKinney and Matt Steckler and Mayor Michael Gamba were inclined to approve the annexation amendment, but even they said they couldn’t guarantee that Helm’s development plan would ultimately be approved.
“I don’t know where this development application would ultimately go, but 1978 was a long time ago and the uses and restrictions are out of date,” McKinney said.
The denial means the original annexation agreement for the property that’s owned by the New Hope Church congregation stands. The decades-old agreement allows multi-family housing on only part of the property and single-family homes and a variety of other defined uses, including a church, elsewhere on the site.
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