Official hopes GSHS plans will undergo city zoning review
A Glenwood Springs official says he hopes plans for a new high school will undergo city planning review even though it isn’t required.The Roaring Fork School District Re-1 is exempt by state law from having to submit to local governments’ planning processes. But city community development director Andrew McGregor said that mechanism would provide a forum for public input on the new school.”Certainly we would hope that they would choose to participate in the city’s review process,” he said.Re-1 superintendent Fred Wall said earlier this week that while the district is exempt from zoning review, he believes the high school would have fewer impacts if located in a commercial area rather than a residential one.Re-1 plans to buy properties now housing True Value, the Defiance Thrift Store, Glenwood Gymnastics Academy and some residential rental units to build a larger high school in Glenwood Springs. Voters in November approved an $86 million bond issue allowing for building projects across the Re-1 district, from Basalt to Glenwood Springs.The high school plan has drawn protests from True Value and the gymnastics academy, as well as from Terry Fattor, who owns the property being leased by the gymnastics academy and thrift store.Wall said this week that there’s no chance Re-1 officials would reconsider plans for ousting those businesses. He said the plan voters approved included expansion of the high school onto the commercial property, and the district must abide by that promise.McGregor said he didn’t realize the district’s plans were final.”I guess I was a little bit surprised at their emphatic response,” he said.McGregor said the district presented City Council with a basic layout of the proposed school before the election. However, McGregor had the impression that once the district secured funding, it would take a further look at how the school would be configured.”But they seem fairly well entrenched,” he said.District officials could not be reached for further comment Wednesday.McGregor said the plans presented earlier to the city did include moving the businesses. “But I still got the impression at that time that more specific design issues could be and would be discussed,” he said.McGregor said he didn’t know whether that discussion was to have included the topic of possibly keeping the businesses in place. He said he understands the district’s need for more land, and that its decision to expand its current in-town location rather than look for property elsewhere was a response to the wishes of city officials and citizens.”I guess to some degree we have to flex a little bit to realize that desire,” he said.He said he hopes the affected businesses can find other suitable locations in town.McGregor said one thing that interested him in the preliminary school site plan was the amount of land provided for parking.”That’s always a subjective debate when you’ve got to use so much productive land for something as sort of mundane as parking,” he said.”That’s always a subjective debate when you’ve got to use so much productive land for something as sort of mundane as parking,” he said.
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