New development plans for West Glenwood parcel formerly known as 480 Donegan
The parcel of land in West Glenwood that people came to know as “480 Donegan” in recent years has a real address and a new application for development.
The controversial parcel of land behind the Glenwood Springs Mall, where city voters last year rejected a large residential development, is actually located at 214 Center Drive. Owners, Diemoz Construction, recently sent Garfield County an application to build three new buildings, including a self-storage facility.
The application for the Cooper Minor Subdivision was submitted to the Garfield County Community Development Department on Feb. 23, proposing to construct the new buildings under existing county zoning. The application, which has not yet been deemed complete, was obtained through an open records request by the Post Independent to the county.
The former plan put forth by R2 Partners to annex the property into the city and build 40 townhomes and 230 apartments was approved by City Council in 2021, but overturned in a referendum brought by city residents in an April 2022 special election.
Under the new proposal with the county, the parcel is broken into three lots. Lot one is 3.2 acres and already has two current commercial buildings.
Lot two encompassing 7.9 acres, is where the application aims to develop the storage facility and two other “flex” buildings.
Recent changes made during a pre-application conference summary indicate that the buildings will be 25 feet tall or less.
“The new site plan reflects an increase in storage square footage going from approximately 110,000 sq.ft. to 145,000 sq.ft.,” the proposal states.
Lot three, which is 4.7 acres, is stated to be determined for future development.
The other two buildings in the application for lot two would be flexible for office or warehouse space.
Building B is planned to be 34,000 square feet, with 10 potential office or retail fronts and 10 warehouse space to the back of the building. Building C is planned to have 20,350 square feet with eight potential office or retail fronts and eight warehouses in the back of the building.
“The flexunits will have office space at the front and warehouse/storage space at the back,” the application states. “The self-storage building will also include three apartments to house employees of the self-storage facility or one or more of the tenants in the flex buildings.”
Under a special use permit, the flex units can be used for wholesale, retail, personal service establishments, general service establishments and offices, according to the county documents.
The storage facility is estimated to be 102,600 square feet.
The Post Independent was unable to contact a representative for Diemoz Construction for comment.
Some neighbors of the property who opposed the 480 Donegan plan said the new development plan is more fitting for the area.
“When we, residents of West Glenwood and neighbors of the 480 Donegan project, organized to oppose the annexation and housing development project, our objections were specific to what we saw as a colossal mismatch of that project with the property, neighborhood and community,” Laurie Raymond, a resident of West Glenwood wrote in an email reacting to the new proposal.
Residents of West Glenwood fought the annexation and brought the referendum to allow voters to decide on the annexation plan.
The referendum was successful, halting the annexation and the housing development.
The current application states that it fills a need for storage facilities, along with retail or office spaces and is also in agreement with both the county and city’s comprehensive plans.
“There was a total lack of sufficient existing infrastructure to support evacuation of the huge influx of people and vehicles in the event of wildfire — a historical hazard in that location,” Raymond wrote. “The developer’s mitigation proposals were ridiculously inadequate. The target population was not the existing workforce or the essential workers currently priced out of the home market, but mid and higher level professionals.”
A storage facility does not entail the same hazards, but the specifics of the plan will determine the local response, she said. Although the area is prettier left as is, residents expect there will be a change.
“We’ve become accustomed to the fact that we are not allowed to value beauty over ‘real world’ imperatives,” she wrote. “A storage facility is useful. It presents fewer life-threatening challenges in the event of a needed emergency evacuation. But it isn’t beautiful.”
The development complies with county code, and does not seem to cause any major impact to the area except the potential of overnight flood lighting, which is not regulated by the county, documents state.
The project is also to include a sidewalk, curb and gutter on the northern boundary adjacent to Donegan Road.
“The most recent planning application for Cooper Minor Subdivision has not been determined to be complete and additional submittals and/or revisions may be required as part of the completeness review process,” county officials wrote as a disclaimer with the open records request.
The application does not require a public hearing because it is a minor subdivision, meaning it can be approved by county staff.
“My sense is that the community would hold its nose and accept it unless the specifics are too egregious,” Raymond wrote. “For myself, I would be sad, and going forward feel less love for Glenwood Springs as my home.”
Post Independent reporter Cassandra Ballard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-384-9131.
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