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Proposed Meadows changes leave some on council feeling boxed in

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Changes to parts of the Glenwood Meadows design brought a mixed response Thursday from City Council. The developers, who recently announced that Target and Lowe’s have agreed to build stores at Glenwood Meadows, presented these changes to City Council Thursday at its regular meeting. The most-discussed change is the absence of “wraps” – smaller stores built just outside large retail stores to break up boxy appearances.Ward 2 Councilman Larry Emery, whose constituents’ views will be most directly affected by Glenwood Meadows, expressed concern over the design changes. “The visual impact is going to be huge for me,” he said. Emery, along with some of his constituents, lives in the Oasis Creek neighborhood that directly overlooks the future site of Glenwood Meadows.Meadows is a large commercial and residential development that will be located between the Community Center and the Municipal Operations Center along West Midland Avenue. It will be the biggest single development in the history of Glenwood Springs. Council approved 490,000 square feet of commercial and office space, as well as 475 apartments, townhouses and single-family homes.Kirk Beardsley, vice president of Englewood-based retail developing company Miller Weingarten LLC, said some of the design changes would make it difficult for smaller retailers to survive as wrapped shops. The lack of retail wraps will require a variance by the Planning and Zoning Commission because such wraps are part of a set of approval conditions. The city planning commission is set to review the latest version of the project during its Aug. 26 meeting. Miller Weingarten will also request two other variances: one is a redistribution in parking spaces and the other involves a commercial setback. Skip Miller, president of Miller Weingarten, said his firm is trying to replace the wrap stores with “other elements.”Councilman Dan Richardson and Councilwoman Jean Martensen were also concerned that already-approved guidelines aren’t being met in the revised design. “I don’t think there’s enough happening to mitigate that,” Richardson said of the lack of wraps. “We thought we were taking a step toward the future and getting away from the big boxes,” Martensen added. Beardsley said he thinks when the final design is presented, council will be impressed. “We’re quite proud of our project and we think you should be, as well,” he said. “I think in short, the physical project itself is going to be a model for the state.”Thursday’s presentation was a conceptual review, so council made no decisions on the project, just suggestions. But Mayor Don Vanderhoof said when it comes time for variances and permits to be issued, Miller Weingarten “could have a lot of explaining to do.”Contact Greg Mass: 945-8515, ext. 511gmasse@postindependent.comIn other business, City Council:-Canceled its July 3 meeting because of its proximity to Independence Day. -Passed on second reading an ordinance banning firearms in public buildings. -Approved funds for hydroelectric plant door and window restorations. -Approved a bid of $123,574 by Pro Excavation of Silt for the demolition of the old City Hall and Fire Station No. 2. -Considered a long-range transportation plan and prioritized projects for the state transportation plan. -Decided to rescind the parking ban at the bottom of Traver Trail Road; however “for sale” cars are still not allowed. Council also directed the city’s staff to move forward with intersection improvements, including a crosswalk, at that location. -Rejected a proposal by Cardiff Glen builder Tom Stevens for the city to pay for the next phase of development in return for ownership of 27 houses. Stevens suggested that some of those houses could be used for affordable housing. Under previous approvals, 48 deed-restricted affordable housing units must be built within the development, although the arrangement was dependent on the city helping to find grants and programs to subsidize them. -Authorized the purchase of a used 2002 John Deere 6405 tractor. -Approved the sale of the old Glenwood Springs Police Department building at 823 Blake Ave. -Approved the purchase of the old Garfield County shops land at 1015 School St. -Received the first-quarter 2003 financial report.


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