Traffic impact fee reconsideration stalls
Glenwood Springs City Council has shut the garage door on the idea of reviving traffic impact fees.The decision comes just weeks after it had agreed to look at reinstating the fees as a condition of lifting a development moratorium in south Glenwood.The moratorium had been put in place early this year to give the city time to plan to address sewage plant and transportation needs. Council is moving forward to end the moratorium, but decided Thursday it didn’t want to pursue the traffic impact fees as one of its transportation solutions.The fees are charged to help offset the traffic impacts caused by development. The money helps fund off-site road improvements.Council members Chris McGovern and Joe O’Donnell said the fees would further drive up housing costs. Their colleague, Kris Chadwick, feared the fees would cause developers to take their projects outside city limits, resulting in sprawl.Mayor Bruce Christensen noted that city voters just passed a transportation tax in November.”Maybe we need to put this on hold for a while and see what our tax generates,” he said.The city charged traffic impact fees beginning in 1994, but ended the program in 1998 because it wasn’t seen to be working. One concern was that it was deterring commercial growth.In moving forward on lifting the moratorium, council on Thursday also dropped another controversial condition: stipulating that the city should restore transit service to south Glenwood by Jan. 1.The elimination of that condition incensed council member Dave Merritt, who represents south Glenwood and has long railed against the service cut. It was made last year for budgetary reasons. Others on council feared that the dispute over whether to restore bus service could derail lifting the moratorium if the condition wasn’t dropped.Merritt ended up voting against lifting the moratorium. He argued that council has come up short on responding to transportation needs in south Glenwood and also delayed plans to relocate the city’s sewer plant.”We have significant problems that have not been addressed,” he said.”I think we are holding the citizens of south Glenwood hostage on this.”While the council majority decided to move forward on ending the moratorium, Christensen got council to informally agree to direct the city Transportation Commission to look into the matter of restoring bus service to south Glenwood. He noted that council had committed to revisiting the issue this year.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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