Residents give Red Feather the blues |

Residents give Red Feather the blues

Post Independent Photo/Jim Noelker

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Political activism was alive and well here in 2003.

A good example of that activism ” and the No. 1 story of the year as voted upon by the staff of the Post Independent ” was the debate and eventual vote on the proposed development infamously known as Red Feather Ridge, a 149-lot subdivision located on lower Four Mile Road.

The debate started in 2002 when Oklahoma City-based MidFirst Bank sent representative Guy Harrell to Glenwood Springs to try and sell the city on the idea of more densely developing the 132-acre property.

Garfield County already had approved a plan to build 58 homes on the site, but MidFirst Bank proposed to almost triple that number, with 149 homes.

In June 2002, the Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-2 to recommend approval for extending the city’s Urban Growth Boundary, a line that differentiates between dense development and more rural, spread-out growth, to allow for the development.

But just as that version was about to be shot down by City Council in August, Harrell withdrew the bank’s application.

In October 2002, Harrell and MidFirst came back with a new plan that included more amenities for the city, including 90 acres for open space, park and recreation and cemetery uses. City Council approved the revised plan, and voted in favor of annexing the land.

But under intense public pressure, council also immediately ruled that the plan should go to an election of the people.

MidFirst also offered $400,000 to help fund a roundabout at Four Mile and Airport roads, $2,500 per house for transportation improvements and $100,000 toward building a park. The development also would include 23 affordable housing lots.

On Jan. 8, 2003, City Council voted 4-3 to extend the Urban Growth Boundary ” a boundary drawn around the city separating dense development from rural ” to include the Red Feather Ridge development.

Soon thereafter, a group formed, calling itself Community Voices for Responsible Growth. The group circulated a petition stating its opposition to council’s vote to extend the UGB and the annexation of Red Feather Ridge. The group also opposed council’s ability to change the Glenwood Springs Comprehensive Plan without “broad voter input.”

After a four-month campaign that included yard sign thefts, a debate, numerous letters to the editor and political wrangling on both sides, Glenwood Springs voters shot down the annexation in a special election held June 24 by an almost 3 to 1 margin.

Almost as soon as the votes were tallied, Harrell announced that the subdivision would be put on the market as a whole, rather than trying to sell the plots one by one.

As of Tuesday, the land was still on the market, but Harrell said three out-of-town groups have expressed interest in purchasing the land and it could be sold within the first three months of 2004.

“It’s been on the market for four or five months,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of interest.”

He said MidFirst Bank is looking to sell the land in a way “that will not embarrass us.”

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

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