Guest opinion: Midland plan is irresponsible development
Developer Craig Helm is asking for more, yet again, from our City Council after being denied on the first go-round. At the Thursday, Dec. 15, council meeting, he will ask to be granted the go-ahead on his plan to pack even more density than current zoning allows at 2225 Midland Ave. with an annexation agreement to maneuver around current zoning.
Mr. Helm plans to plop down a hotel-looking apartment building with 103 bedrooms in the middle of a single-family home neighborhood. If City Council allows this after setting the newly imposed building moratorium on Midland, it would be setting a dangerous precedent for more irresponsible development and associated negative ramifications — not only for today, but for years down the road. Talk about slippery slopes.
A fair assessment by some is that we need more affordable housing in Glenwood Springs. But the issue has to be about smart, sensible growth in locations appropriate for apartments and multifamily dwellings that are adjacent to bus stops, shopping and employment. This Midland location does not meet any of those criteria. And whether or not it is actually “affordable” is questionable.
Currently, there are 263 multifamily units already approved by the city but yet to be built. With an average of two bedrooms and/or two people per unit, this will accommodate an additional 5 percent of the current population of Glenwood Springs. This percentage does not include any new single-family home builds or another appropriately located apartment development of approximately 72 units in the early stages of planning with the city.
This “let’s in-fill anywhere at all costs” mentality will get this quaint town into real trouble. If City Council members are not concerned about density, they should be. By supporting such irresponsible growth, they would be compromising the beauty, small-town charm and breathing room that has given this town what we love most about it.
And, oh, traffic on Midland is not horrible enough, so let’s add to the daily gridlock up and down this already-overtaxed, dysfunctional artery by approving hundreds and hundreds and hundreds more car trips every day. Sounds like a public safety perfect storm of traffic, congestion and accidents. The infrastructure on the Midland corridor simply cannot support this unnecessary increase in traffic. When is enough enough?
There are also huge negative environmental impacts with this project. The geology of this tract of land is not conducive to such a project. It sits on an alluvial fan that is constantly moving toward the river. This issue may exist all around Glenwood Springs, but has historically caused large-density projects major problems on the west side of Midland. So approve another high-density development in this area of town and expect different results? And what about this highly traveled wildlife corridor? Just too many negatives to list in this letter.
We have heard no citizens throughout town voice support for this ridiculous plan, but quite the opposite. We hear adamant opposition. Residents would welcome appropriate, responsible building of five to six single-family homes on this parcel, as that scale project is what is in character with the neighborhood.
City Council, we implore you to stop this needless development. Now is your time to really show who you are, who you are willing to stand up for and what is best for this town; haphazard, irresponsible growth or protecting the quality of life and investments for your current residents? Foster this city’s future now. Citizens and City Council: Say no to irresponsible growth. Say no to Mr. Helm on Thursday, Dec. 15.
Randy Rippy and Julie Wilson live across Midland Avenue from the proposed development.