P&Z urges denial of Glenwood Ridge project
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The Glenwood planning and zoning commission followed city staff’s lead Tuesday night in recommending denial of the proposed 506-acre annexation and 413-home Glenwood Ridge development proposal.
The proposal to annex and develop part of the former Bershenyi and Martino ranches, located about 1.5 miles south of the current city limits on either side of Four Mile Road, is now scheduled to go before the Glenwood Springs City Council for a public hearing starting July 17.
The decision came following a series of meetings before P&Z that began earlier this spring to hear the plan by landowner Elk Meadows Properties to annex the land and build a mix of 225 single-family and 188 multi-family dwelling units over the next 20 years.
The proposed development would cover about 13 percent of the larger 506-acre site, 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 proposed to be dedicated to the city or Colorado Parks and Wildlife for open space or a primitive mountain recreation park.
According to Gretchen Ricehill, senior planner for the city, P&Z voted to recommend denial of both the annexation petition and the proposed development plan, as well as a city comprehensive plan amendment that would be required for the annexation and development to proceed.
P&Z Commissioner Michael Blair dissented in the vote, saying the applicant should be given time to amend the proposal to address city staff and P&Z concerns.
The decision follows a Glenwood Springs city staff recommendation for denial of the project, which cited the increased costs to the city to provide services such as extra police and fire protection, as well as to upgrade the city street system in the south part of town to meet the traffic demands of the new neighborhood.
Staff also expressed concerns about the developer’s request to be exempt from the city’s affordable housing regulations through build-out of the project, and about the lack of a transit system and trails to connect the remote neighborhood with the main part of town.
The developer, represented by Gary Menzel and by local land-use attorney Larry Green, countered that the city had underestimated the amount of revenues the new development project would bring into the town to offset costs.
Also, by building modest-sized homes on smaller lots, Glenwood Ridge would provide more affordable houses without a need for deed-restricted housing, the developers have 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.