Red Feather Ridge takes flight again
Red Feather Ridge is back. Less than three months after withdrawing the development and annexation plan, the subdivision’s developers have reapplied for annexation.
The proposal is slated to go before the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday, Oct. 29.
The new application for annexation and subdivision is largely the same as the former, with some modifications.
The main change, according to city planner Mike Pelletier, includes 17 acres for a much-needed cemetery, taking the place of a passive recreation area.
The last application was pulled before City Council could vote because, as project spokesman Guy Harrell said on Monday, “I just could not count a fourth vote.”
“We’re going through the entire exercise again,” Harrell said. He is representing MidFirst Bank of Tulsa, Okla., which gained title to the former Four Mile Ranch in foreclosure.
The bank is trying to recoup its investment through development, Harrell said. But he has been contacted by local people who urged him to bring the project back.
“The reason we’re reapplying is because we were encouraged to reapply,” he said. “We made some changes that should satisfy a whole lot of people.”
Like the last go-round, one of the main issues will be the question of whether to annex the property and extend the city’s urban growth boundary, a line drawn around the city within which dense growth is supposed to be contained.
While some on City Council said the extension of the growth boundary is the next logical step in the city’s growth, others said annexing the proposed 149-lot development would open the door to dense growth in an area now characterized by fields and old farmhouses.
Red Feather Ridge consists of a subdivision with open space and park land. MidFirst Bank has offered $400,000 to help fund a roundabout at the Midland, Four Mile and Airport roads intersection; $2,500 per house for transportation improvements; and up to $100,000 toward the construction of a park. The development also would include 23 affordable-housing lots.
If annexed, the city also could have control over the development – something it won’t have if Red Feather is developed within the county – as well as the water rights that come with the property.
But concerns about traffic, long-term costs to the city and extending the urban growth boundary before its time doomed the project in its last incarnation.
In the forthcoming version, Pelletier said the developers have added the cemetery land, funds to engineer the park and pay a grantwriter to seek funding for park construction or equipment.
“Everything else is the same,” Pelletier said.
If City Council declines to annex the property, or if the application is again withdrawn, MidFirst Bank could still use an already-existing Garfield County approval to develop 58 two-acre lots.
But that would be the last resort, Harrell said.
“I personally believe you can sell smaller, cheaper lots faster and easier than the two-acre lots,” he said.
He believes this, he said, because that’s what the market in Glenwood Springs is demanding.
“The bank isn’t going to make any money, they’re just losing less,” he explained.
If the subdivision is approved, Harrell said he feels it would be good for the community because those with lower incomes would have a chance to buy a home in the city.
“We really thought it was good for everybody,” he said.
The long-term cost to the city was another oft-stated concern for council members.
Developers countered that argument by pointing out the dedicated land alone is worth $10 million. And along with that, the other concessions make the project a financial winner for the city.
After the project was withdrawn on Aug. 1, Glenwood Springs Mayor Don Vanderhoof blasted those who were poised to vote against the project, warning that Glenwood Springs could be is on its way to becoming “a complete elitist town like Aspen.”
Harrell said he would release more information on the project when it comes before the Planning and Zoning Commission on Oct. 29.
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