Meadows housing project seeks $938,945 in city fee waivers | PostIndependent.com
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Meadows housing project seeks $938,945 in city fee waivers

A request for nearly $1 million in city fee waivers in support of a proposed apartment complex for lower-income residents will be considered by Glenwood Springs City Council Thursday night.The $938,945 request is part of about $1.5 million in total concessions being sought by the developers of a 120-unit rental housing project at Glenwood Meadows. The other breaks would come in the form of a delay in meeting a park requirement and issuance by the city of an infrastructure grant or loan.Developers are proposing to restrict 84 of the units to lower-income families. They have obtained a state grant, federal tax credit and other assistance including $1.5 million in cash from Garfield County.The county contribution came after developers said skyrocketing construction costs over the last year threaten the financial viability of the project.In a Sept. 13 letter to the city, Arny Porath of Spruce Realty said those costs have increased by $6.5 million over the last year as a result of soaring labor and material costs resulting from the area’s boom in development and in natural gas drilling.Porath said the project is at risk of not going forward if developers don’t get the concessions being asked of the city.Porath is asking council to waive more than a half million dollars in water and sewer system fees, about $202,000 in school land dedication fees, and $206,000 in emergency services fees.Developers also want a one-acre park requirement to be delayed until a later phase of the apartment project, which eventually is expected to total 300 units. That would save the first phase $350,000.Last, they are asking for a public infrastructure grant, loan or loan guarantee totaling $220,000.Emergency service fees are not eligible to be waived under a city ordinance allowing for such waivers as incentives for affordable housing projects. However, developers are hoping the city will make an exception because it’s too late to seek waivers for other eligible fees related to parkland and traffic impacts.That’s because Glenwood Meadows, which also includes a commercial component that began opening last fall, already has met requirements in those areas. It donated 210 acres for parks and open space and met requirements to deal with off-site transportation impacts.Developers are seeking the emergency services fee waiver during the same year when the city’s fire and ambulance service has been working to boost staffing following concerns about its response to structure fires.Council approved the 120-unit apartment project last fall, and agreed then to a height waiver restriction to help cut its price tag. However, it turned down a request then for nearly $500,000 in fee waivers, out of concerns about the lost revenue and the appropriateness of subsidizing a private development.Council members more recently have been willing to approve fee waivers for small affordable housing projects. But they say that’s not necessarily a predictor of how they might act Thursday in the case of a far larger waiver request.Developers hope to make their case based in part on a city study conducted late last year showing a current need for more than 500 affordable rental apartments in Glenwood Springs. The study also found 1,200 new rental apartments will be needed by 2015.”Upon completion, the realization of the Glenwood Meadows Apartment Community will have a real and substantial impact on the local housing crisis,” Porath wrote in last week’s letter to the city.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com

Some other agenda items before City Council include: conceptual review of a plan by the owner of the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise on Pine Street to tear down the 35-year-old building there and construct a new one on its foundation. conceptual review of a proposal to develop the last two multiple-family tracts of the Cardiff Glen project in south Glenwood. One of the lots will include 13 townhomes and four single-family houses, and the other will hold 40 townhomes and two houses. Depending on the approval of these plans and the final count of accessory dwelling units, Cardiff Glen will have about 180 to 190 homes at completion. transfer of the duties of the Board of Adjustment and Appeals to the Planning and Zoning Commission, due to difficulty finding volunteers to sit on the appeals board. a public hearing on the 2007 budget.


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