Friday letters: Correction to Wednesday letter, 480 Donegan, flawed process, city sold out, 5B thanks, fix the streets, and tax ballot proposals
A letter to the editor published Wednesday both contained incorrect information and quoted someone who is not a public official without providing notice or asking for permission. In response to the letter, the city of Glenwood Springs released the following statement from City Manager Debra Figueroa:
“The South Canyon Landfill is a valuable community asset for the city of Glenwood Springs. A recent letter to the editor incorrectly implied that the landfill was dangerously close to being full. While this is not the case, we also want to emphasize that waste diversion is and should be taken seriously.
The city is in the process of preparing for a future conversation with City Council about ways construction waste can be more efficiently managed and processed. Part of this conversation are waste pricing and fees, potential regulation for acceptable construction waste, and requirements for how buildings are deconstructed. Expect to see more information on this discussion in 2022.
To be clear, the city has not received plans for the demolition of the West Glenwood Mall. If the mall in West Glenwood were hypothetically demolished, unsorted debris would not completely fill up the landfill.
The life expectancy of the currently permitted operating area of the South Canyon Landfill is estimated to be six years at current service levels and regulations. The city of Glenwood Springs recently submitted an application to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to expand the landfill onto city-owned land surrounding the existing operating area in South Canyon.
The objective of considering changes to waste pricing and policies is to give staff tools to better manage incoming waste, including ways to more sustainably accept and process debris. An example of this might be working with construction permit holders on how to properly sort deconstructed materials for an efficient use of the landfill and reuse of all materials available.
We are very fortunate to have our own city-owned landfill as a resource, and we as a community need to be aware that this is a finite resource and exercise stewardship of how we use this space. Waste diversion is top of mind for staff and we look forward to working with City Council on paths forward for our landfill.”
Slap in the face
What a slap in the face City Council delivered to the citizens of West Glenwood and Glenwood Springs in reference to the 480 Donegan Project you voted to annex Oct. 21.
Why you would add units to the requested approval of the developer is beyond me. You have continuously been reminded about all of the safety issues involved, the highest being wildfire threat and evacuation, and have chosen to add units?
What happened to City Council since Mayor Jonathan Godes’ quote with CNN last year, “If wildfire happens in our corridor, we’re talking 1,000 lives lost.”
How much public park did you get for this great negotiation that seemed to be so important — I read up to 1 acre? Really? Looks like green space on the rendering; not usable public park space.
How about safety and cost to the city as a criteria basis instead of the “affordable housing” excuse, which in this particular developer’s case has morphed to “middle class” housing.
I applaud the council members who had the foresight to deny this — you do listen. To you who voted to approve, read the articles in the Post Independent from the Coal Seam Fire and then drive out here again during any incident. You might get a clue! Oh wait, we already have gridlock right across from the existing Center Drive Business Park during Two Rivers school drop off and pick up!
The “process” of the major annexation and development proposal in West Glenwood Springs has been very disturbing and convoluted — following the actions of the developer, City Council and city staff. The basis of my research is from the Glenwood Springs Municipal Code, the regulatory framework guiding the city. This development alone on 12.28 acres could represent close to 10% increase in the population of Glenwood Springs (9,963, U.S. Census 2020).
Using Title 070 Development Code, 480 Donegan/R2 would house 890 residents. Combine this with the many other recently built, approved and under construction residential units within the city and the increase will be huge — projected at 3,379 more people in the city, a 34% increase in population! What will the 2030 Census total be? This is the track our city leadership and staff are barreling down.
The “process” the city followed has been very questionable and benignly neglectful. Why was the Housing Commission asked for comments on the proposal and not the Parks and Recreation Commission and the P&R director? There is a real shortage of park land in West Glenwood. The number of residents here per code requires a park land dedication of 6.23 acres (offset by exclusive resident-only space and off-site improvements like sidewalks and bike lanes).
R2 offers just 1 acre of public park land and up to 1 acre to build a new fire station and “pay their way” out of dedicating more needed and usable park land. Likewise, the code projects 120 students from this project with a school land dedication of 0.53 acres or fees paid in lieu of. Our Re-1 School District was not asked for input. The district is investing in staff housing. They could have had an opportunity at 480 and perhaps the city could have received land upon which to build employee housing as well.
For many, the actions by council and staff are a travesty, least among which is overturning their Planning and Zoning Commission’s unanimous recommendation for denial and not reaching out to the Parks and Recreation Commission and staff. Our community is on course to be unmanageable, unsustainable and unattractive with such haphazard, intense unmindful growth. Can we “afford” such growth? Will city infrastructure, staffing and revenue support such growth? Same with other associated entities such as our schools and health care?
Whose City Council?
My parents moved to Glenwood Springs in 1975. I was 3 years old. The Eighth Street Bridge, only one lane, required cars to wait on each end, proceeding over the Roaring Fork River one direction at a time.
It is surreal to now look back at the changes, growth and development of the past 46 years. Some have enhanced the prosperity and sense of community. But in the past few years, many have brought increasing distress to this magical place and its wonderful people.
Our current population of approximately 10,000 (2020 Census) is plagued by land prices so high, those who work here can’t afford to buy or rent — even at “affordable” rates. And yet, 1,300 units of new housing have been approved by our City Council and are underway; 1,300 units will be built and occupied in the coming years. At a modest two residents per unit, this will constitute a 26% increase in our population. Has anyone been driving in and around Glenwood recently? How does the town absorb that shocking, 26% increase in people, traffic, noise? — our resources are completely strained as it is.
And still, the City Council has justified the additional 300 units (600-plus new residents) right in the most vulnerable neighborhood where wildland/urban interface and history of wildfires threaten current residents, who lack adequate infrastructure for evacuation. I believed that City Council was responsible for and responsive to the citizens who elected them, not to the developers, not to the tourists, not to these outside interests. To those City Council members not doing their job, I honestly do not know how you can sleep at night.
By approving the 480 Donegan project, this City Council has again, sold out this once very special place where I always felt blessed to call home. I can no longer afford to live there, and haven’t for 10 years. My heart is truly hurting. Glenwood Springs will forever be my home. And I will always mourn this clear and continued destruction of my town’s soul.
5B approval thanks
A big thank you to voters in the Roaring Fork School District for a decisive yes on 5B, which will help pay teachers and staff a living wage, allowing the district to recruit and retain great people. We are deeply appreciative of all the campaign volunteers and generous donors who helped to make the campaign a success.
Basalt Junior Girl Scout Troop #1690 said it best with their campaign signs: “Teachers are Worth it and Students Deserve it!”
Autumn Rivera, Mark Gould,
5B Campaign Committee co-chairs
Nice streets, or nice new campground?
Thanks, Glenwood Springs City Council, for ignoring our streets once again, leaving them in terrible disrepair, and instead setting your sights on yet another touristy trophy — South Canyon.
Nice job! That’s what your constituents want — crappy streets and a new campground for out-of-towners.
Keep up the good work.
Wary of tax ballot proposals
Over the years I have become increasingly wary of ballot proposals that start with the phrase “Without imposing any new tax.” I find the phrase to be somewhat disingenuous and deceptive.
If a new tax is not being imposed, why are we voting on it? Being a pet peeve of mine, I tend to vote against such measures.
What this phrase really means is your taxes are about to be reduced and you are voting not to reduce them. The ballot should read something like “By not lowering your current tax obligation.” Meaning if the measure does not pass your taxes will be lowered. I think this would be closer to the reality of what is being asked of the voters.
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