Talk of the town: City, county seek solutions | PostIndependent.com
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Talk of the town: City, county seek solutions

Glenwood Springs and Garfield County planners are so jazzed after a rare joint meeting, they can’t wait for another fling.”We didn’t get our groove on until the end of the meeting,” said co-organizer Dan Richardson, a Glenwood Springs City Council member. “I think the meeting was pretty successful.”The meeting, held May 28, brought together the Glenwood Springs and Garfield County planning and zoning commissions, staff planners and elected officials.The meeting’s upshot, Richardson said, is the city and county will continue to huddle to discuss planning issues in several geographical areas where the jurisdictions come together, including the Four Mile corridor and West Glenwood.They will also discuss the development review process, especially for annexations. “We want to get people together at the table, so it’s beneficial to everyone,” Richardson said.At Wednesday night’s meeting, the two planning commissions worked from a report prepared by city and county staff. The report said a good first step would be to improve communication between the two governmental entities.”I’ve been on the Glenwood Springs P&Z since 1996,” said Dave Merritt, also a City Council member. “We talked about meeting, but it never came to pass.”The report suggested the next step is to understand planning problems. “This requires a substantial data collection and analysis effort,” the report said. “It should include demographics, transportation data, parcel information, real estate data, utility information, and other relevant data or community indicators. Another useful tool to consider is build-out scenarios.”The report concludes that sub-area master plans and a new intergovernmental agreement between the city and county could be drafted.”Solutions should be mutually beneficial to the county and city,” the report says. “For example, the county agreeing not to upzone near Glenwood, and the city agreeing to annex roads adjacent to city limits.”Richardson said the first project for the planning commissions will be to look at the Four Mile corridor as a “case study,” but not a master plan. Part of this process will involve talking to Four Mile property owners.”A Four Mile master plan is probably three to five years out,” Richardson said. “For now, this will be a subject of conversation.”The planning commissions will also look at Glenwood’s annexation process, in which private property is transferred from county to city governmental control. Currently, there is no formal process for the county to use in commenting on annexations.”In the past, letters were written by attorneys, saying `This is what we insist on,'” Richardson said. “That’s not very good planning procedure.”The meeting was organized by Richardson, Merritt and Garfield County Commissioner Trsi Houpt.Merritt said the meeting was a good start for opening lines of communication between the city and county. “We needed to sit down and get to know each other,” Merritt said.One thing the planning commissioners did not talk about was Red Feather Ridge subdivision on Four Mile Road. The Glenwood Springs City Council agreed to annex the property, but also put the matter up for a public vote. In a special election June 24, city voters will decide whether to uphold or overturn the annexation.”We tried to stay away from that one,” Merritt said.Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534lburton@postindependent.com


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