Rifle looks to jump-start potential housing development near Stillwell Avenue | PostIndependent.com

Rifle looks to jump-start potential housing development near Stillwell Avenue

Una vista de dónde podrían ir las posibles viviendas en Stillwell Avenue en Rifle.
City of Rifle

Rifle is currently looking to turn a series of vacant lots into new residential development, a city official said.

Rifle Planning Director Patrick Waller told Rifle City Council during a workshop last week that Stillwell Avenue just west of the Garfield County Fairgrounds and Events Center is currently mostly a dirt road and doesn’t have the infrastructure necessary to encourage development.

“Staff is looking to solve an issue that the city has had for a long, long time,” he said. “I think maybe some people don’t even potentially know. So, we’re in the beginning stages of trying to figure it out.”

The city is specifically trying to come up with a cost savings mechanism by hooking up sewer and water connections to the area with the aims of incentivizing developers.

“The reason that there’s vacant lots is because there is no road infrastructure in place,” Waller said. “There’s a gravel road of varying levels of quality in that location.”

One of the parcels is currently owned by Garfield County and was originally going to be used for fairgrounds parking, Waller said.

But since they remain vacant, Waller said the city continues to receive inquiries about the property. Without sewer and water connections, however, building currently poses too much expense for any prospective developers.

“Most of the folks who come in and want to put something out there, it’s generally a manufactured home, modular home, something like that,” Waller said. “Those are the questions that we’ve got.”

Waller said the city could potentially build out the road and add utilities, with an initial estimate from City Engineer Craig Spaulding being about $600,000 for the project. Any developers will then essentially pay back the city when they start building.

“The idea is, we sort of act as the bank, fund that project up front and pass an ordinance that then requires each of those folks to pay at the time of building permit for their frontage onto the street,” Waller said. “They kind of reimburse the city and make us whole in that.”

The spot is currently limited to single-family housing, and city staff is also proposing to allow for higher density housing.

“The property owner could do a triplex or a duplex,” Waller said.

City leaders discussed the possibility of the county giving the land to Rifle for development. 

“If the county gives us that and we only recover $300,000? That $300,000 would be worth it to give access to new homes in there, in my opinion,” Mayor Pro Tem Brian Condie said. “Then it doesn’t put the full burden on the developer.”

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