PI Editorial: Developer lawsuit against Glenwood Springs is no surprise | PostIndependent.com

PI Editorial: Developer lawsuit against Glenwood Springs is no surprise

Post Independent Editorial Board

After a tie City Council vote killed a proposed development in Glenwood Meadows, the city of Glenwood Springs now faces a lawsuit.

We can’t say we’re surprised.

The development met what standards and regulations the city has in place — it also had a recommendation to approve from city staff.

Yet some council members seemingly became distracted by the development’s lack of designated affordable housing.

The need for more affordable housing in Glenwood Springs is indisputable. Health care providers, schools, law enforcement agencies and more have all cited the rising cost of housing as an obstacle to hiring.

In March, council members approved an affordable housing policy requiring developments to cap rent on 10% of their units.

In the case of the Meadows development, however, council appeared to mistakenly base much of their decision-making on an ordinance that wasn’t in place when the development proposal was submitted.

Development regulations and code are in place for a number of reasons. Working at their best, such ordinances can improve a community’s quality of life, increase market competition for prospective renters and home buyers and provide clarity for developers on what is and is not allowed.

Over the past, we have seen some council members all too eager to wade into the weeds — in some cases, coming very close if not outright making development requirements on the fly in council chambers. It’s a bad habit, and it has unfortunately led to the lawsuit that the city now faces.

If council’s denial is overturned, the city could be required to pay legal costs for the developer. It could also lead to overreaction from council members and an overly deferential attitude toward developers in the future.

Just as we don’t want overreach, we also don’t want a council that rubber-stamps future proposals. It’s difficult to do, but we believe every one of our council members can indeed walk the line between the two sides. Regardless of the outcome, we hope this lawsuit serves as a reminder for them to do just that.

The Post Independent editorial board members are Publisher Bryce Jacobson, Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representatives Amy Connerton and Mark Fishbein.

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