West Glenwood Springs annex vote postponed until October | PostIndependent.com

West Glenwood Springs annex vote postponed until October

The future of West Glenwood development was again put on hold by Glenwood Springs City Council.

Council members voted 5-2 at a special meeting Tuesday to continue discussion about annexing about 12 acres in West Glenwood for residential use, north of the Glenwood Springs Mall.

Despite council closing the public comment portion of the annex and zoning proposal Tuesday, many residents still attended the meeting, some of whom wore teal bandannas — the signature flair of the residents opposed to the development.

Council Member Shelley Kaup voiced full support of the development, dubbed the 480 Donegan Project, in its current iteration, which has been modified extensively since the developer began the land use application process in January.

“I believe the developer is being very responsible in responding to the desires of the community,” Kaup said. “I believe the developer is working in good faith to give a lot to the community.”

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R2 Partners, the real estate company leading the development proposal, made several concessions throughout the permitting process, including offering to donate land for a new fire station, create public green space within the development and reduce the density of the proposed number of units.

“I think it’s important to note that when we first came to you with this proposal, we intended to build 415 units — none of which were townhomes,” R2 Partners Co-founder Barry Rosenberg said, responding to several council comments about the density of the project.

As proposed to council Tuesday, the development could now be a mix of townhomes and apartments with a total density of about 300 units, which meets the housing diversity requirements of the city’s comprehensive plan, Rosenberg said.

Mayor Pro Tem Charlie Willman and council members Ingrid Wussow and Paula Stepp expressed concerns about building hundreds of residential units in a space slightly larger than 12 acres.

“By some accounts, this could attract as many as 1,000 more people to the area,” Willman said. “It’s a really good concept, but it’s too much in a little place.”

Rosenberg said R2 Partners manages 135,000 rental units across the country, and the company would not allow 1,000 people to live in 300 units, many of which are one-bedroom or studio apartments.

“We are long-term players, we are long-term thinkers, and this isn’t going to become dorm rooms,” he said.

Council Member Tony Hershey said he was opposed to the development, because it could create too much stress on the city’s water supply.

“I’m not anti-growth, but it needs to be smart growth,” Hershey said.

Hershey also said increased traffic and additional stress on the city’s infrastructure were major considerations in his stance against approving the development.

Mayor Jonathan Godes said he supported continuing the conversation, because the area needs affordable housing.

“We can ask the developer to reduce the density, but a decrease of 100 units would mean 20 less affordable housing options for our residents,” Godes said, citing a potential requirement of the development to provide 20% of their units at rental rate based on a percentage of the area median income.

Willman made a motion to deny the annexation and zoning of the 480 Donegan parcel, and Wussow seconded the motion. Before council voted on Willman’s motion, however, Kaup made a motion to continue Willman’s motion, postponing a vote until at least Oct. 1. Godes seconded Kaup’s motion, which passed 5-2, with Hershey and Stepp voting against.

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at ifredregill@postindependent.com.

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