Parachute, Battlement Mesa developments could help with county-wide housing shortage |

Parachute, Battlement Mesa developments could help with county-wide housing shortage

Realtor Brandy Swanson doesn’t mince words when it comes to the prospect of more houses possibly popping up in Battlement Mesa.

“We can certainly use them,” Swanson said of the area’s need for more housing. “We just have a shortage of inventory, kind of like everywhere else in the valley, for sure.”

Currently, there’s a significant residential development in its preliminary stages for the Battlement Mesa area. One developer is reported to be planning a project that will eventually create 350 houses, if all goes accordingly.

Since the area is unincorporated, the Battlement Mesa Service Association board of directors oversees the community’s governmental affairs.

Battlement Mesa Service Association Manager Steve Rippy said the proposal includes building via parcel-by-parcel timeline. The first, smaller parcel, will include single-family units, while the second and third parcels are set to include multi-family and larger single-family units.

It’s fair to note, however, nothing is exactly set in stone.

“My understanding is that they’ve only had two preliminary meetings with the planning department based upon that,” Rippy said of the potential developer. “They’re tightening up their proposal to be able to submit.”

The hope is for construction of the first parcel to begin sometime in spring 2022, Rippy said.

But what is more concrete is that both Battlement Mesa and the town of Parachute do in fact have enough open space to fit the needs of the tight housing market of Garfield County.

In most of Garfield County, the chances of finding a single-family home for less than $500,000 are slim to none. Latest data from the Colorado Association of Realtors show average sales price for a single-family home in the county at $577,500 — a 37% increase from the year prior.

This puts Parachute in an advantageous position. Swanson said the going average rate for a home once it’s built hovers around the $350,000 price point. But that’s starting to creep up a little bit overnight, she added.

“We definitely have a need for that $350,000-ish, $400,000 price point,” Swanson said. “Even Rifle’s kind of priced people out of that. So (buyers) look to Battlement, Parachute to get a little less expensive housing, but it’s, unfortunately, not really available. You know, we just need more inventory.”

Parachute Town Manager Stuart McArthur echoed the same need.

“I just met with somebody looking here, and they’re saying that Parachute’s about the only place that has land for sale, and that we have no housing inventory whatsoever,” he said. “We have a lot of people who are starting to look downvalley at Parachute, and that’s people from all the way upvalley.”

The search for more affordable housing has already created a ripple effect on the area — both residential and commercial.

McArthur said the city is anticipating the submission of a building permit from Love’s Travel Stop, several big parcels are currently up for sale near City Hall and another developer is planning to build nine residential units in town.

Marijuana cultivation is also making a name for itself. Two years ago, a 35,000-square-foot grow operation was built while the city anticipates another 35,000-square-foot operation coming up in the next couple months, McArthur said.

Meanwhile, sales tax revenue alone has increased from 2020, shooting from about $850,000 to just shy of $1 million.

“It’s more affordable, and the opportunities are wide open,” McArthur said.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.