Friday letters: More 480 Donegan views
Special Election Note: The deadline to submit letters related to the May 3 Glenwood Springs special election is April 25. Now that the ballots have been mailed out, only one letter per writer, per topic, please. Our 350-word limit will be strictly enforced.
480 Donegan issue
Here is a summary of what has been happening in West Glenwood and what you will be asked to vote on in this election. There is a 16-acre vacant pasture behind the Mall in West Glenwood. Plans have been submitted to develop that land. The development, named 480 Donegan Road, plans on placing 300 housing units in the pasture.
This housing project will add 700 to 1,000 more people in West Glenwood. On Nov. 4, 2021, the City Council voted 4-3 to annex the pasture into the city.
A group of concerned residents organized to reverse the council’s ruling to annex the field. The group successfully obtained the required signatures to temporarily stop the annexation. By law, the city has to put the annexation up to a vote of the people. Ballots will be mailed. You will have three weeks to send or deliver the ballot to the court house or the drop box on Eighth Street.
Voting ends on May 3. A yes vote will stop the annexation. Without annexation, the 480 Donegan Road development will not happen.
This election is pivotal. It is broader and has more implications for the city and indeed the valley than I have laid out here. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit the developers’ website, 480donegan.com, or the Glenwood Springs Citizens for Sensible Development website, gscsd.org. Decide for yourself.
I hope this summary is helpful as there are a lot of moving parts. I am hoping you vote yes on Issue B.
A yes vote will prevent annexation and cancel this project. A no vote will allow the project to proceed. The ballot is confusing. Don’t be confused, vote yes to stop the development.
Devil is in the details
Obfuscation and deception? I found many items of interest related to the Diemoz/480 Donegan approval including the amount of traffic and dearth of public-use space. The 1980 business center traffic study estimated 2,956 daily trips using Storm King Road with just 85 trips on Donegan Road. R2’s study, 300 residential units, estimates 2,188 trips per day. Are these realistic numbers? There was an earlier requirement for intersection improvements at Donegan and Highway 6, but no longer. The GarCo application included a recommendation Storm King Road be four lanes to serve the commercial development. No traffic infrastructure improvements are required with the 480 project.
R2 shared a slide designating “parkland” between Donegan and their project; more a “parking strip” rather than usable parkland. They propose a clubhouse and pool; the same was proposed at Cardiff Glen but never built.
The main requirements of the approved PUD relate to building heights, density and parking. No guarantee amenities will be built. The 1 acre of parkland “gifted” to the city is less than half the size of Gregory Park, the largest in West Glenwood. Glenwood Park area has over 10 acres.
R2 publicly stated the zoning of this property is Commercial General. It is Commercial Limited that “provides a limited range of commercial uses …compatible with surrounding residential uses.” They also state “there is no third option to ‘start over.’”
I beg to differ. Parks and Recreation Director/Commission and Re-1 were never involved in the process, nor Habitat for Humanity. More public-
use land could have been gained. City Council, instead of asking for more, gave more in the form of 30 additional units than R2 proposed.
Ads touting 480 as “100% renewable energy” is misleading, as city electric is already 100%. And “net-zero landscaping.” Fake plantings and artificial turf maintained with battery-powered equipment?
The Comprehensive Plan is being updated. The West Glenwood Mall and 480 need a master plan including both adjoining parcels. Vote “yes” on B to seek better options and uses for this parcel. The city should focus on what is already within city limits rather than annex more.
House your own
Why has Glenwood Springs taken on the burden of providing ever more apartments in order to subsidize the businesses that serve Aspen?
Aspen and its employers should be building their own workforce housing — preferably upvalley. Alternatively, they could pay their employees enough to rent at market rates — again, upvalley. The resort’s rich visitors can just pay more for stuff.
We are under no obligation to continue to ruin our town so rich developers and business owners can get richer at the expense of our residents.
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