Friday letters: More on Glenwood election issues; counseling, gardening, grooming thank-yous

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.

Former mayor says ‘yes’ on airport question

Although I have recently moved to Grand Junction, I lived in Glenwood for most of my life, during which I had the privilege of serving the community in a number of capacities.

Over the years, some local officials and several private developers have had their eye on the airport’s land as a way to add housing, more businesses or to profit in some other way.

Fortunately, and to the benefit of the community, the airport remains. It is a valuable asset that contributes both with regard to public safety and economically with the potential to become even more important in the future. I urge you to vote “yes” on Ballot Issue A.

Bruce Christensen

Grand Junction

Workers need housing

Every business in Glenwood Springs, including major attractions, small enterprises, professional organizations and restaurants, functions only when employees are available to serve customers and guests. Employees need housing.

Diverse housing options increase the housing supply and make it easier for employees to find housing. If you are an employer in Glenwood today, I guarantee you have been challenged by the lack of local available and affordable housing.

Very simply put, there are only a few places left to build housing. Areas that are closer to commercial areas, have infrastructure in place and are close to transit are where we should be building in Glenwood Springs.

For our employees, businesses and the whole city, please vote “No” on B and allow the 480 Donegan project to move forward.

Steve Beckley

owner/operator Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and Iron Mountain Hot Springs

Glenwood Springs

No urgency for annexation

The R2 developers claim if the 480 Donegan property is not annexed now, residents will forfeit their ability to have any say about what happens next, because it is in the county and zoned as commercial property.

This threat of having no recourse and no say as to future planning is not true. There is no urgency for annexation; if it is a good idea today it will be a good idea tomorrow.

Annexation is easy; the hard part is to combine the 19-acre mall property under the “West Glenwood Springs Urban Renewal Plan” with the 16-acre 480 Donegan property into a 36-acre comprehensive redevelopment area and then determine the limitations on how much and what kind of housing can be supported in accordance with the updated Comprehensive Plan.

The annexation ordinance needs to be repealed. The city needs to allow time for the Comprehensive Plan update to be completed, which will provide guidance for a broader vision of West Glenwood that will include annexation. The R2 group has said they are flexible and amenable to expanding their proposal to include the mall property. The R2 group can do this. It is an opportunity for them to come back with a better plan, and if they do not, someone else surely will. The referendum is not about saying no to annexation, but it is about saying no to approval of a project before they have looked at the alternative approaches to West Glenwood planning. How can the city fulfill its responsibility if it preemptively approves a major redevelopment that ignores objectives of the pending Glenwood Springs Comprehensive Plan Update?

The urgency now is to establish the carrying capacity of the existing environment and its ecological significance. This will allow for the evaluation of the constraining factors of the existing environment that could allow for limited development without degrading the existing environment of West Glenwood and the surrounding area.

R2 should withdraw its proposal and return with a plan that responds to today’s realities and the concerns for the character and safety of the West Glenwood neighborhood.

Vote “Yes” on B.

David Hauter

Glenwood Springs

Counting on voters

If you live in West Glenwood, you know. The 480 Donegan proposal, 300 units on 12 acres, is totally unacceptable. It will change the whole character of West Glenwood and beyond. It will be like living in Denver.

Huge impacts on our inadequate infrastructure.

We have had three weeks of strong winds. Fire fuels are tinder dry with red flag warnings. For evacuations, the No. 1 priority for the city of Glenwood, residents would not all be able to escape.

This proposal is way too big, not affordable and will destroy our quality of life. Even though West Glenwood residents live next door to this proposed nightmare, we do not get to vote on it. We live in Garfield County.

We are counting on our city of Glenwood neighbors to vote yes on B to deny the city annexation. Please vote yes on B.

Ann and Michael Hoban

Glenwood Springs

Not Aspen’s flop house

MSNBC recently reported that the No. 1 national concern, according to 21% of respondents surveyed, is the cost of housing; not Ukraine, not COVID-19, not inflation, but housing.

Glenwood City Council approves virtually every development they see. I support affordable housing for our workforce, but not unbridled development that will further crowd our small town. Who doesn’t feel that way? Unbridled growth is not a given. What do existing citizens get out of this development craze?

Tony Hershey’s March 31 guest column on this topic is an absolute must read.

Council’s priority is to the 10,000 people (soon to be 12,600, thanks to council) that live here and elected them, not to those who desire to be closer to their jobs upvalley. And certainly not to out-of-state developers that get rich building apartments and charging outrageous rents. Will we next sacrifice the confluence for this nonsense? Not on my watch.

If Glenwood is serious about affordable housing, then do it the right way. That way is not to put affordability on the backs of developers who can economically dedicate only a fraction of their units to affordable housing and remain profitable. Rather, take a page out of the playbooks of successful neighbors that build limited amounts of truly affordable housing: Aspen, Carbondale and Rifle. Invariably this requires direct government funding along with deed and appreciation restrictions. Glenwood Council always wants to use somebody else’s money, but here they have to contribute.

But we should demand that Aspen do more, because, frankly, Aspen is the problem. It’s not Glenwood’s job to house Aspen’s workforce. Build housing behind the miles and miles of cars that travel north on 82 at 5 p.m. rather than in front of them. There is plenty of vacant land as you drive into Aspen. Find some and get it done. We are tired of being your flop house.

Richard Todd

Glenwood Springs

Donegan doesn’t do it

I’m confused by Alex Sanchez’s column in Tuesday’s (April 19) PI. I applaud his goal of home ownership for our workforce versus prioritization of outside investors, but it is outside investors — specifically R2 Partners out of Indianapolis — who would build and profit from 480 Donegan. Your rent checks will go to Indiana. Only a handful of Donegan properties will be for sale, and the 20% of the units that are advertised as “attainable” are unattainable for most. The remaining 80% of rents are out of sight.

The city has approved development that will soon increase our population from 10,000 to 12,600. Donegan will add another 900 or so, resulting in a one-third increase in population in the near term. Think about that: for every three persons, cars, houses, classrooms and teachers we have now, we will soon have four. On the same footprint.

But it gets worse. A study that only a developer can love shows demand still outstrips supply by 2,000 units. Just because people want to live here, are we obligated to prostitute our town to allow them to do so? These units could yield another 5,000 to 6,000 residents in our city, nearly doubling our population. For every one person, car, fireman, policeman and school we have now, we would need nearly two. Twice as many schools. To be built where?

What is wrong with council? Can’t they count? Ingrid, Tony, save us!

We’re surrounded by mountains, so where do we sprawl? Nowhere. We pile up right here. Quality of life? Ruined, like other beautiful, over-loved places that became overcrowded. Want to live in L.A.? Me neither. But just sit tight, council will pack us in. They are creating a mini L.A. right here.

I say to heck with the developer’s comprehensive plan. There is plenty of open land between here and Aspen. Build there, where the jobs are.

Then build a limited number of truly affordable, deed-restricted units in Glenwood that can be owned by our workforce, funded the way other cities in the valley do it.

Donegan does none of this. Vote “yes” on B to overturn the annexation.

Gary Vick

Glenwood Springs

Bring a better plan

There must be a better plan for 480 Donegan. Bringing in a large housing development for 700-plus people will only add to an already congested West Glenwood.

We see I-70 closed much more often due to accidents in either canyon, mudslides and fires, and our roundabouts and streets turn into gridlock, causing a real issue for West Glenwood residents.

Past experience has shown that people were trapped during the Coal Seam Fire and couldn’t get out of the neighborhood for hours, while flames were close to surrounding them. Public safety should take precedence; can we justify putting peoples’ lives at stake?

Please vote “yes” to repeal the 480 Donegan development.

Mindy White

Glenwood Springs

Counseling thanks

I am writing this letter to express our gratitude to Robyn Hubbard, a Pathfinders clinician, for working with our students at Two Rivers Community School over the past several months.

In January, Robyn offered her expertise in the field of grief counseling to four students directly impacted by the double homicide in West Glenwood. From day one, she showed compassion and a willingness to make a difference. Once our school realized the impact that she could make with our grieving students, we requested support for two other students dealing with loss. She readily agreed.

Each Friday, Robyn came in for individual meetings that every student looked forward to and anticipated greatly. We saw our students’ grief evolve and heal over the 10 weeks they worked with Robyn. Their grief has not been eradicated, but now they have tools to help when grief comes. Thank you Robyn and Pathfinders.

​Amy Spradlin

Glenwood Springs

Garden kudos

The Community Gardens of Glenwood Springs would like to thank several people before the growing season even starts.

The Hotel Colorado made a substantial cash gift just after the new year that will help us implement our emergency water plans in the event that our water system is offline due to fires or flooding in the canyon, as has happened the past two years.

The Pitkin County Landfill donated an entire dump truck load of compost, of which our gardeners will each get a piece. Thanks to Cathy Hall, the program supervisor there.

Pick-up and delivery of the compost was donated by Grand River Construction company. Thank you, Gregg Rippy, for making it happen

Jen VanDyke with the Property Shop has been the go-to person for open house signage and giving us a box to make applications available at the garden gate. She is always willing to do what she can to help.

Marilee Rippy

Glenwood Springs

Grooming gratitude

My beloved K-9 community, I come to you with much gratitude for the privilege of loving and grooming your pets for the last 22 years. While my heart is full, my body is broken.

I was forced to sell The Shaggy Dog last August due to my injuries sustained from dog grooming. Quite sadly, the transition has not gone well, and my staff of many years has given notice. I still remain part time in hopes of training our new employees so The Shaggy Dog can continue to serve your pets in the future.

It may be a bumpy ride over the next few months, but please know I am doing everything in my power to make it happen for our furry friends. We thank you for your patience and support.

Nancy Williams

formerly, The Shaggy Dog

Glenwood Springs

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