Voters strike down West Glenwood annexation
Nearly 16 acres in West Glenwood, aka 480 Donegan, will no longer be brought into Glenwood Springs city limits after residents voted Tuesday to repeal the City Council’s November annex decision.
The second question on Tuesday’s special election ballot, a referendum for annexation repeal, was brought to the city by a group of residents dissatisfied with the proposed development’s public engagement process, safety implications and potential density.
After months of concessions by the developers, R2 Partners, and conversations among council members, the public and the property owners, council voted 4-3, or about 57% in favor, Nov. 4 to annex the property.
In a stark reversal, about 60% of nearly 2,400 Glenwood Springs residents voted to repeal the council’s decision Tuesday.
Glenwood Springs Citizens for Sensible Development spokesperson Laurie Raymond said she opposed the development from the outset, after attending the developer’s initial public engagement meetings in 2020.
“We’re hoping City Council learns from this experience that they need to listen to their constituents and trust the community,” Raymond said. “Affordable housing is important, but we don’t believe this was the right solution or the right time. We will really be engaged in this issue going forward.”
Mayor Pro Tem Charlie Willman was initially on the fence about the development, but after seeing the concessions made by R2 Partners in their final proposal, responding to public comment, the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission suggestions and council members’ desires, Willman voted to approve the annex.
“I think it’s too bad,” he said. “I think the annexation was a good idea for the city. The voters didn’t think so, and it seems some people think we are growing too fast. We need to go back to the drawing board and decide how we move forward next.”
R2 Partners responded to the vote via email.
“(The Diemoz) family appreciates all the support we received,” R2 spokesperson Kathleen Wanatowicz wrote. “This property will be developed in Garfield County as a commercial park.”
Council Member Ingrid Wussow voiced concerns about the project’s density and impact on residents in both the city and West Glenwood throughout the annexation process.
“I’m disappointed it ever came to this,” Wussow said. “In an ideal world, we would have found a balance between fire evacuation, a need for housing and traffic safety. We gave the community a decision, a hard decision, a black and white decision, and they responded.”
Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at email@example.com.
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