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Meadows housing decision delayed again

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Developers of a 60-unit low-income rental housing project on Wulfsohn Road will have to wait a little longer to get their approvals and start construction on what would be the first residential units at the larger Glenwood Meadows development.

Continuing concerns about the adequacy of an access road to serve the proposed Glenwood Green Apartments forced Glenwood Springs City Council to continue for a second time their consideration of the matter Thursday night.

City planning staff also needs more time to review and respond to a suggested new condition offered by the developers, Steele Properties of Denver, related to a one-acre public park that is to eventually be built in the area.



The delay was frustrating for Councilman Todd Leahy, who said he wants to see the project approved and the economic benefits of new construction realized as soon as possible.

“The developer has made a valiant effort to come forward with something that we’ve said we want out there,” Leahy said. He said he believes the applicants are being treated unfairly.



Steele is proposing to build 60 apartment units in three buildings on 3.5 acres within the residentially zoned area at Glenwood Meadows. The developer obtained $11 million in federal low-income tax credits to build the project, and is under the gun to start construction so those credits can be used.

The one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments are to be made available to qualifying tenants who earn 40 to 60 percent of the area median income.

Leahy’s frustrations were directed at a flurry of last-minute suggestions regarding the access road, which he said are outside city code requirements.

One suggestion from the fire department would have the developer construct a secondary road access to improve emergency access to the site.

“I would have a hard time supporting that, because it’s not in our code,” Leahy said. “We’re just making stuff up to throw at people.”

Steele is asking that the city, rather than the developer, own and maintain the road leading up the hillside to the apartments.

Eventually, the road is intended to be one of three primary access points into the unbuilt larger residential neighborhood at the Meadows.

For now, though, it would only serve the Glenwood Green development, and is proposed to be built to neighborhood street standards.

Council did put to rest, at least tentatively, the road ownership question. Council voted 4-2 to reject a motion by Councilman Leo McKinney that the developer maintain ownership of the road.

By default, that means the road will be a city street, if the project is ultimately approved.

McKinney said he remained “unconvinced” that the road design would be adequate to eventually serve the larger development.

The original 2005 Meadows approval allowed for up to 475 residential units to be built on 52 acres of the hillside south of Wulfsohn Road.

Glenwood Springs landlord Carole Brown spoke against the Glenwood Green project at the Thursday meeting, citing a current glut in the rental market.

“It would be unconscionable to put something like that in now,” she said. “There are rentals available everywhere, even at Machbeuf.”

The Machbeuf Apartments in West Glenwood also offer low-income rentals.

“I would implore you to please not let a project like this go when those of us in private enterprise are having a hard time making a go of it,” Brown said.

Regarding the park, the developer has offered to identify a one-acre site where it would be built, though not until the next phase of development. The Glenwood Green project is to be located on just a part of a larger 17-acre parcel zoned for multi-family residential units.

A proposed condition of approval related to the park was presented to city planning staff on Thursday, and had not been formally reviewed before Thursday night’s meeting.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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