Monday letters: Yet more 480 Donegan thoughts, and a Carbondale pool suggestion

Let council decision stand

I am voting “no” on Ballot Issue B on the May 3 election. I live in West Glenwood. I favor the 480 Donegan project believing the developer has done everything necessary to accommodate public, Planning Commission and Council input; and the project meets Master Plan requirements.

However, it is not my principal reason for writing this letter. We elect officials, such as the Glenwood Springs City Council, to represent us. When they make decisions we do not like, we have the opportunity to vote them out of office at the next election, or even recall them, in accordance with existing laws.

Our City Council approved the annexation of the project. It is untenable to me that a small group of people can get a petition signed to overturn decisions they do not like.

I hope in the future there will be new laws enacted that make it more difficult to get items such as this issue, and amendments to the state constitution, on the ballot.

Glenn Vawter

Glenwood Springs

Yes on A

Show me the money. I’ve lived in the valley since 1976. Almost every year, and many years before, the need for another access across the river from south Glenwood has been discussed.

The well-documented need is real, even more so since the explosive growth in Glenwood.

City staff and sitting councils always look to closing the airport so that “it can be built.”

Closing the airport doesn’t mean the South Bridge will be built. Building it takes funding, which isn’t available today.

The closest the city got to funding was when the 2013 City Council picked a project and then applied for and were granted funds. The grant expired because the rest of the funding didn’t happen. Garfield County will not help fund this project. Yet, Garfield County residents would realize the most benefit.

The Donegan annexation relies on this project being completed for their evacuation plans. It doesn’t exist. Nor will it ever exist without the money.

Vote to amend the City Charter so that this endless cycle of unkept promises ends.

This current council has raised so many concerns that aren’t real because there is no funding. It hasn’t happened for over five decades and may not be built in my lifetime. There has been so much wasted time, energy and money to get input about the airport as if that is what is preventing the project. It isn’t.

Open your eyes. Show me the money. Save Our Airport and vote “yes” on question A.

Stephanie Stanfield

Glenwood Springs

Annexation assessment

Ballot Issue B: Pros/cons conundrum 480 Donegan is front and center in Glenwood. To me, the right ‘answer’ is not clear, but is cloudy.

As I participate in our comp plan revision, review the recent community survey and dozens of comments, listen to commissions and residents, I have heard and distilled some clear priorities here in Glenwood: Take more care of “us;” and need more focus on residents and better balance with tourism by:

Continue to focus on improved roads and infrastructure before other projects.

Find ways to increase owner occupied/for sale and workforce housing-fewer free market apartments.

Seek ways to mitigate traffic impacts-number of vehicles, noise, speed.

Safety — decrease risks from wildfire and other threats. An evacuation plan.

So, what about 480? As I see it:

Pros — Will improve roads, sidewalks and infrastructure in west Glenwood including Donegan and Storm King.

Will create 40 for sale townhomes-4 may be workforce affordable. We have had very few for sale units built over the past decade.

Part of catalyst and funding for city wide evacuation plan and more direct routes to Highway 6 and I-70. No certificates of occupation until the plan is in place.

Sixty deed restricted rentals that may be affordable and somewhat limited to Glenwood’s workforce.

Cons — More density and free-market rental units.

More traffic. Evacuation plan may not be modeled or sufficient for all evacuation scenarios.

Neighborhood and school impacts.

Increased demands for fire and police presence with 600-700 additional residents.**

So, 480 does meet many of the goals, needs and long range plans of the city. At the same time it contradicts some of those very same goals, needs and plans. A conundrum. Review the information as best you can and make an informed vote! Remember, “yes” means no annexation, “no” means yes.

Both the developer and the opposition to 480 will cite many other pros and cons.

Sumner Schachter

Glenwood Springs

Put up story poles

I have tried and tried and tried to avoid writing this Letter to the Editor re: story poles at 480 Donegan. states, “Story poles are poles that tell a story by depicting the bulk and mass of a proposed structure or project.”

When Glenwood P&Z originally unanimously recommended denial of R2’s development project, second on their list of concerns was the lack of story poles. Garfield commissioners said they had “serious concerns” about the project, story poles were brought up at their meeting. Numerous times during City Council public input, people asked about story poles.

R2’s standard reply was and is that they have provided “architectural drawings” that better represent the visual impact of the project.

I disagree.

A lot has been written about the impacts on safety, density, water and traffic from this project.

I’d like to bring up the visual impacts.

Forty townhouses along Donegan Road between Storm King and Mel Ray “28 feet high to the midpoint” (according to Mr. Rosenberg), meaning 32-feet high to the roof peak. That is a significant visual barrier of Red Mountain. Nearly all of the houses along Donegan are one story single family homes facing south toward Red Mountain.

I have been told one of the main motivations for this annexation into the city is because the county has a 25-foot building height restriction and the city’s is 53 feet. R2 is proposing two-, three- and four-story apartment buildings up to 53 feet in height in a neighborhood of single story/single family houses.

Let’s see some story poles to illustrate the true visual impact of this project before approval.

Please vote “yes” on B until we really know what this will look like.

Mark Gibson

Glenwood Springs

Not at residents’ expense

I respect the Diemoz family and believe they have a right to develop their long-held property, but the annexation into the city means we, the current residents, are helping pay for the realization of their plans.

We have every right to influence how our taxes are spent to build the infrastructure that supports this large, dense development. Unlike businesses, we see no possible increase in revenue with this abrupt increase in population, only increased cars, pollution and strain on water supplies, schools and all the taxes that support city services.

This development and development in general must be rethought within the comprehensive plan. Circumstances are changing. Plugging in old statistics for modeling gives a false result. Water availability is and will continue to plummet. Traffic is influenced by rapid growth in Denver’s population as well as increased population up and down the valley. Our strategies and plan must not depend on outdated statistics. The rate of change is rapid and accelerating.

The most recent Glenwood Canyon closure highlights the truth of the dangers of traffic gridlock in an emergency. The 116 roundabout was totally gridlocked. The backup extended to West Glenwood.

Governing entities are criminally irresponsible to ignore the intersection of the inevitable fire and traffic movement.

I will be voting “yes” to deny the current annexation proposal as passed by our city council. I hope the majority of city voters see reasons to do the same.

Barb Coddington

Glenwood Springs

Annexation does affect ‘you’

You have your ballot regarding the airport and 480 Donagan. I’m speaking only to 480.

Why vote? Because you live here. This directly affects you. Voting is the gift of responsible citizenship not available in many other places. It allows your voice to be heard.

Regarding 480 Donagan, current and future needs are unmet in the current plan; 600 to 900 people with daily living needs and vehicles alters Glenwood Springs in dramatic and negative ways — for you.

These ‘future’ residents require food, water, electricity, trash pickup and disposal, police and fire protection, emergency evacuation — safe spaces to live.

Each of these is tenuous now and a massive influx of people will contribute to, not solve problems.

There is nothing wrong with asking (and indeed requiring) that these concerns be fully addressed with completed actions and not just convenient rhetoric to shut down objections. This is the “Sensible” part of those opposed to annexation.

This is not about NIMBYism, a no-growth stance, the Diemoz family, or anything except wise, proactive and thoughtful planning including completion of said planning. It is building successful outcomes, not reactive solutions with unfilled words of promise.

Additionally, it is about being truthful. Saying the benefit is a fire station (that taxpayers can build, staff and maintain) or about a park (do you know how small 1 acre is), or about”‘affordable housing” (the current meaningless buzzword — maybe four units? Seriously?) is all ridiculous. It is about making money for the developer who does not live here and has no intentions of ever living here.

We cannot strangle Glenwood Springs for short- or long-term current and near-term building. We must address these issues with both planning and action.

Wondering why to vote “yes” on B for repeal of annexation? Come sit on Grand Avenue anytime, any day from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Do you want 600-900 more people with their vehicles? More traffic and population needs and pressures? Think!

Or require good planning to retain and save as much of Glenwood’s character as we can? Vote “yes” on B.

Cheryl Cain

Glenwood Springs

Followup Carbondale pool thoughts

Oops, I goofed. In my recent letter I misstated the debt owed by the town of Carbondale. There is only one loan, and that is the remaining financing on the Town Rec Center. My bad.

However, now that the voters approved financing a new town pool, there is a further point to be made. There is an old tradition in small towns to take a thrifty approach to public facilities.

In my humble opinion, the local school district should be involved in a new public pool. One of the selling points of this pool proposal was teaching swimming to the local children. Why not do this in an organized way that is open to all students? But the kids are in school at times when the town pool is closed. This leads me to suggest a winter cover to allow winter swimming lessons and lap swimming. Next, you have school swimming teams and racing. And don’t forget winter use for the seniors.

Extending the use of the pool should increase revenue. Some sort of cost sharing can be done between the school district and the town. Fabric covers are frequently used over pools. I made a search and was “swamped” with email inquiries. The Snowmass Club had an inflated two-court “bubble” for years.

As climate change increases in severity it becomes so important to conserve the public resources.

Patrick Hunter


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