Red Feather Ridge presents weighty decision for council
Water issues, Garfield County opposition, and resistance within the city’s staff could mark Thursday’s discussion on whether Glenwood Springs should annex Red Feather Ridge. Among city department heads, two expressed opposition to allowing the planned 149-house subdivision, formerly known as Four Mile Ranch, to become part of the city. But each argument was countered by Yancy Nichol of Sopris Engineering. Council’s specific focus will be on whether to approve the extension of the city’s urban growth boundary, or UGB, to include Red Feather Ridge; annex the land; and grant zoning that will allow denser development. The issue will come before City Council Thursday at its regular meeting. In council’s literature on the proposed annexation – which was recommended for approval by the Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission last month – Glenwood Springs police chief Terry Wilson and public works director Robin Millyard stated their concerns. “I do not support the annexation of Red Feather Ridge subdivision into the corporate limits as, in my opinion, it is not a logical extension of the City of Glenwood Springs,” Millyard wrote.Millyard’s main concern is with the subdivision’s water service. “My first impression of the P&Z recommendation regarding water service was the well water was to be blended with treated city water. That situation wherein the city would be co-mingling water of an unknown quality with our treated water is not acceptable to the city,” he wrote. Millyard also raised the issue of whether the flow of well water is sufficient for emergency situations. Nichol answered Millyard’s concerns by writing that the existing water system was built to city standards and any additions would also be built to city standards. Wilson’s comments included line-of-sight issues at the project’s entrances and exits, and concerns about how skier traffic to and from Sunlight Mountain Resort would affect their traffic numbers. He also suggested that bearproof trash cans may be necessary and questioned whether on-street parking would be appropriate. “Nice project, I’m against annexing it into the city,” Wilson wrote. Nichol countered Wilson’s arguments by writing that the project’s line-of-sight is adequate, ski season traffic peaks at different times than other traffic, no on-street parking will be allowed, and the project would comply if the city has an ordinance requiring bearproof trash cans. In a letter to the city planning office, Garfield County Commissioner John Martin pointed out the county’s adamant belief that if the city annexes the property, it should annex the adjacent portion of County Road 117. Martin also mentioned that the proposed density is not compatible with nearby agricultural properties. “The annexation … is inappropriate and will likely result in the county having to initiate legal action to prevent the annexation of the property,” Martin wrote. The UGB, created in 1994, currently draws a line at the intersection of Midland Avenue and Four Mile Road. The new boundary would encircle Red Feather Ridge.Those on the planning board who favored the idea of moving the UGB cited the developer’s offering of open space and parkland, water resources, 23 affordable housing units and a $400,000 lump sum payment to the city to be used as it sees fit. Developers also have offered $2,500 for each home, or $372,500, in traffic mitigation fees.In the pre-annexation agreement, the commission also requested an additional $100,000 to be used as seed money for a Great Outdoors Colorado grant to build a new park that includes active recreation areas such as ballfields. The developer, however, has not agreed to that stipulation. Those on the planning board who are opposed to the project contended that moving the city’s UGB gives the city a dull edge, promotes dense growth in an area that formerly was rural ranchland, foists costs onto the city and creates a precedent for other ranch-to-residential areas to follow.One issue faced by City Council is that the land will be developed no matter what decision they make. It already was approved by Garfield County to be subdivided into 58 two-acre lots, so the decision made by council could allow the land to be built upon more densely. The project calls for 149 single-family homes.Also on the agenda:-On their consent agenda, council will consider the second reading of an ordinance that would provide for the annexation and zoning of the Glenwood Meadows development, located between the new Municipal Operations Center and Community Center on Midland Avenue. Other items on the consent agenda include council’s consideration of an amendment of the city’s municipal code that would change the way equipment and construction bids are done and an ordinance establishing the price structure for the city’s broadband system. -City manager Mike Copp will discuss a report on a municipal parking facility concept design and cost estimate. -Downtown Development Authority board chairman David Osborne will oversee council’s appointment of new members to the DDA board. Those applying include Michael Blair, Bob Zanella, Tom Engel and Ted Hutchinson. -During the planning items portion of the meeting, council will consider granting a major development permit for a new office building at the Gilstrap subdivision and look at amending a major development permit for Wal-Mart to allow a permanent greenhouse and a reduction in snow storage space. -Council will consider an intergovernmental agreement finalizing a land swap between the city and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority. -A resolution will be considered that would establish fees for reserved use of park shelters. -A resolution will be considered that would establish a public hearing date to dissolve the city’s General Improvement District. -A resolution will be considered that would approve the emergency procurement of construction services for the pedestrian underpass on Midland Avenue near the Community Center. -A resolution will be considered that would approve the city’s contract with the Colorado Department of Transportation. -A resolution will be considered that would amend the city’s noise ordinance, providing additional standards for noise abatement. -A resolution will be considered that would vacate a portion of the Palmer Avenue right-of-way and the 19th Street right-of-way, referring the issue to a special election vote.
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