P&Z recommends denial of Meadows proposal
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. The Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning commission does not want to see a large retail building between the community center and Glenwood Meadows.The commission on Tuesday recommended denial of a major development subdivision and variance request by Miller Weingarten Realty. Glenwood Springs community development director Andrew McGregor said there were a number of issues raised about variances and technical aspects of the project.”I think the larger issue in (the commission’s) mind was that the retail development was not consistent with the intent of zoning on that property,” McGregor said. “The zoning encourages a more diversified set of land uses.”He said the application included one large, prominent retail building with an indeterminate number of tenants, and also a small restaurant on the lot on Glenwood Meadows property.”When Glenwood Meadows was originally envisioned, that property was zoned with hospitality uses,” he said.Among those were plans for a public-private partnership on a conference center, he said, but a feasibility study concluded that would not be financially viable without large amounts of subsidies.The “C4″ zoning still allows for many other uses, according to planning and zoning commission member Marco Dehm. Dehm is one member who voted to recommend denial of the proposal.”When that annexation agreement was put together, P and Z and everyone worked really hard to make this enormous amount of land the most beneficial to Glenwood Springs,” he said, adding that some other areas of Glenwood Meadows zoned for housing and mixed use haven’t fulfilled their original intent.”All they do is come back with retail, retail, retail because it makes the most money,” he said. “This was saying we should really stick to the plan of what Glenwood Meadows was supposed to be.”An annexation agreement for the site in question called for a maximum of 25 percent retail use, and the proposal would have basically been 100 percent retail, Dehm said.Former planning and zoning commission member Russ Arensman, who is seeking election for a city council seat, submitted a letter to the commission recommending that the long-term health and vitality of the Glenwood Meadows development be considered, and not just the possible sales tax revenue that retail development could immediately bring.He wrote that Glenwood Meadows was originally meant to be all about balance and variety.”It was not supposed to become just one huge big-box retail complex with a few restaurants sprinkled around the periphery,” he wrote. “The developers vowed to also attract significant amounts of residential, office and hospitality users. … Sadly, it is steadily turning into a retail-only ghetto, surrounded by a sea of asphalt parking lots. And too much of any one thing is not a healthy, viable land-use strategy.”Miller Weingarten is good at what they do and has been very successful so far, McGregor said. With the city council’s mission being wider than the planning and zoning commission’s mission, there may have been some potential desire to see more commercial retail at Glenwood Meadows, he added.”Certainly the lure of sales tax generating businesses is a very appealing one,” he said.A representative for Miller Weingarten who attended the meeting couldn’t be reached.Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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