Letter: Unexpected Blake decision
Regarding City Council’s unanimous approval of the Glenwood Multifamily 79-unit apartment complex next to Walmart, please consider the following regarding this project’s impact and the procedure employed by Council to approve it:
1. Councilor Godes made a motion to open the ‘Blake gate,’ outside of the project’s major development permit and five design variance action items on the meeting agenda. As his rationale for doing so, Councilor Godes encouraged an immediate Council vote to avoid further community discussion and public comment. Council subsequently voted to approve the gates’ opening and potentially convert Blake to a one-way, southbound street between 24th – 26th Streets.
Council previously declined to open the Blake gate during bridge construction, citing “… permanently opening, (the Blake gate) and essentially creating a back way to Walmart and the other businesses in that area requires more thought” (Councilor Leahy), and “… we can’t just unlock the gate and see what happens” (Mayor Gamba).
Departing Councilor Trauger, who approved all motions pertaining to the project and the Blake gate opening immediately before announcing her departure, implored all affected residents to return and petition Council after-the-fact with traffic or road-condition concerns.
Councilor Godes concurred, imposing the burden on residents to “hold [Council’s] feet to the fire” regarding the consequences of Council’s see-what-happens decision.
2. Council also approved developer’s request to strike P&Z’s recommended permit condition to improve substandard road conditions on both Blake and 26th Street after informing residents that there is no room in the current year’s budget to make any necessary road improvements.
Mayor Gamba suggested an additional stop sign might be within the city’s budget but would likely be ineffective as a traffic calmer. Clearly, the addition of a stop sign will have no effect on the existing infrastructure’s ability to accommodate the four-fold traffic increase projected by developer’s traffic engineers in some affected locations.
City Council’s eagerness to approve this project and tie its approval to opening the Blake gate without adequate notice to the public of that intention is disappointing. The residents of Glenwood Springs deserve better; it may be your neighborhood next.