Wednesday letters: Glenwood’s comprehensive plan, 480 Donegan development, Glenwood water, we need transparency and accountability from RFSD, vote for Teitler and Kuhlenberg, and 5B mill levy override will support teachers
The day after sending my last letter to the editor, Glenwood Partnerships and the Diemoz family took out two half page ads in the Post Independent. One pulled many quotes from the GWS comprehensive plan, and the other ensured that they and the city have enough water for the proposed development at 480 Donegan in West Glenwood.
But what I found most captivating in the PI that day was the wonderful piece about the “Fertile Crescent” in Emma. For those who missed it, the article was about the inspiring young farmers utilizing the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails program to assist in jump-starting their careers. What beautiful partnerships have been created with this innovative program.
Coincidentally, two turns of the page later were the Diemoz ads. I say coincidentally as something that caught my attention within the Fertile Crescent article was that the land in Emma was predominantly farmed by families that came from the Aosta Valley region of Italy, the very place the Diemoz family hailed from. I found that so interesting.
Thankfully, these types of partnerships between governments, organizations and community are taking place, as this is what will pave the way for the future. We see them happening up and down the road from us. The town of Silt, Aspen Valley Land Trust and Highwater Farms. The Farm Collaborative and the city of Aspen. And now the Coffman Ranch. I’m grateful to the forward-thinking leaders and landowners in this valley that get it. Those are the special places each town needs.
As far as the comp plan goes, Carbondale can teach us a lot. In Glenwood Springs we have community outcry that our comprehensive plan needs to be updated before making such significant decisions. Whereas, in Carbondale, “The town decided it was time to update the 2013 Comprehensive Plan and to check in with the community to see if the goals and strategies … still hold true.” Plenty is happening all around us that we can learn from. The question is will we before the opportunities are gone?
Listen to those impacted
City Council should listen to West Glenwood residents. The proposed development in West Glenwood that sits on the valley floor apparently causes developers and some in City Council to salivate, as is evidenced by the amount of high density housing already here, being built, in the pipeline, and one enormous proposal that we’re vociferously fighting against: 480 Donegan.
We’re not anti-growth, but we agree with Planning and Zoning’s assessment that 480 Donegan is “incompatible” with the area for myriad reasons.
West Glenwood is about one-third of Glenwood Springs’ population, yet our concerns seem to be overridden for the profit of a few. Any upside to 480 Donegan is deleted by dire long-term effects that include the entire corridor. Adding 332 two- to four-story housing units will pile onto existing problems for those now living here and for those whom developers R2 Partners wants to add.
In 2020, water restrictions were enacted several times. Mayor Godes said, “We have a historical infrastructure that needs a significant investment.” Then, in a CNN interview, in 2021, Godes said, “If that happens [wildfire] in our corridor … we’re talking about a thousand lives lost.” Why add 700-plus lives to this count? Godes continued, “Don’t come here and contribute to this [lack of water]. How are we providing water for these new people?” Building R2’s monstrosity ensures new people will come here, Mayor Godes. We implore City Council to listen to Mayor Godes’ own words and deny this development.
A traffic study conducted during the 2020 COVID shutdowns doesn’t realistically reflect traffic in this area. The addition of a minimum of 2,200 trips per day on the streets poses a safety threat for the adjacent schools and already congested neighborhood streets. Open space is nearly nonexistent in West Glenwood. Public parkland provides for our kids, our health and well-being and for the environment.
The Glenwood Springs police and emergency services are understaffed now. Add 700-plus people and that problem multiplies.
City council, please do better for your constituents; 1,700 of us signed a petition against 480 Donegan. Listen!
Annie and Carl Uyehara, Bobbie Meriwether, Jamie and Bob Darian, Erin and Ken Wiencek, Trary Maddalone LaMee, Genevieve LaMee, Elizabeth J. Phillips and Walt Krom, Cheryl Gallo, Maura and Paul Carlson, Anna Bernstein, Don and Jenny Bassett, Greg and Sean Jeung, Bess Wynn, Fran and Lisa Orosz, Randy & Annie Stephens, Karleen Clark, Todd Hurst
480 Donegan development
(This is a portion of a letter addressed to the members of Glenwood Springs City Council and contained in the packet for Thursday’s meeting.)
As you are poised to render your final votes on the two related agenda items concerning the 214 Center Drive Annexation Petition and the 480 Donegan Road Zoning/Rezoning application, I wanted to share a “few” more thoughts and concerns that have come to mind.
One is the concern for the future of the West Glenwood Sanitation District and their facilities. Is there any thought that the city may have to take over the sanitary sewer needs of West Glenwood Springs in the future? Already the city provides water and electricity for much of the un-annexed areas.
Along with this concern is other future development and possible need to annex more of West Glenwood, including redevelopment requests and perhaps most importantly the future of the parcels west of Ami’s Acres where a modular home development is anticipated. Will the city be asked to extend water service and thus per code annex more of West Glenwood Springs?
The past history of the city providing water to West Glenwood Springs without requiring annexation is interesting. Now, per code, annexation is required if water, but not sewer is provided. Will the city be asked to provide domestic water service and thus annex even more?
And, related to sewer is my simplistic research/recollection there is a possible “threshold” of 10,000 in population where “storm water treatment” is required. Glenwood is now officially at this residency count. And it may be worthy of consideration related to any decisions forthcoming if a possible issue and great expense.
Doesn’t add up
I was interested in the half page ad in the Friday Oct. 1 issue of the Post Independent showing the water capacity and usage chart that was paid for by Glenwood Partnership, LLP and the Diemoz family.
Something doesn’t add up. While I appreciate the significant difference between owning water rights and being able to actually deliver treated domestic water, I don’t understand the disparity between the quoted “Plant Capacity” and the “City Summer Water Usage Maximum.” If our maximum summer usage is less than half of our plant capacity, then why have we been under watering restrictions all summer?
Time for a change
The Roaring Fork School District has not been accountable for years. With Rob Stein at the helm, the board bows down to his every wish. Rob Stein is under the students, parents and the community as well as the school board. However, he railroads the school board, students and parents every chance he gets.
We need board members who won’t bow down to his demands. Chase McWhorter is not from the educations system, so he will not be bullied by Rob Stein. It’s time that we take our district back and demand change. Chase McWhorter is the board member to get us back on track.
It’s time for parents and students to demand transparency and accountability from the district. We won’t be pushed around anymore. Vote for a board member who will demand the same, vote for Chase McWhorter.
Jon Nell Reeds
For Kenny and Kathryn
I’ll be voting for Kenny Teitler and Kathryn Kuhlenberg for Roaring Fork Schools Board of Education. Kenny and Kathryn are uniquely qualified to serve our community. With decades of combined education experience between them spanning pre-K to college, both understand what it takes to deliver quality education for every child.
As a two-term former school board member, I can tell you that our schools are well-managed community institutions with staff who are dedicated to ensuring every child reaches their full potential. Contrary to some of what’s been written, our finances are also well-managed. Witness the recent bond refinance and constant efforts to direct funds to teachers and staff, no matter the fiscal realities we face.
The opportunity before us is not one of better management, it’s one of innovative education to inspire children and recognize the unique talents every teacher brings to the classroom. To drive success you must understand education and be willing to get your hands dirty asking hard questions in the boardroom.
Kenny Teitler and Kathryn Kuhlenberg will work every day for our entire community.
Support 5B for teachers and staff
I am writing to urge voters to support 5B this November to honor our exceptional teachers and staff in the Roaring Fork School District.
As the CEO of Mountain Family Health Centers, and as a resident of the Roaring Fork Valley with children in the Roaring Fork Schools, I regularly see the impact that high-quality teachers have on our community, our staff, and on my family.
Our children attend the Riverview K-8 school, and last week my wife and I were able to experience a bilingual “super scholar” ceremony with our children at the school. Each time we enter the school, I’m struck by the bi-cultural joy, learning and energy vibrating throughout.
Unfortunately, we know our schools and teachers are in a staffing crisis. Year after year, we explain to our children why their favorite teacher moved away from the district. The teacher’s spouse couldn’t find a job to support ballooning rent. Daily commutes from Rifle became too much to bear. Family health insurance was much more reasonable back in Denver. Like a broken record, we repeat to our children why their heroes loved teaching but couldn’t afford to live in the community they serve.
The data tells the story directly. We live in the third highest cost of living school district in Colorado. Roaring Fork School District ranks in the bottom third statewide in per pupil state funding; 75% of teachers in the district work two jobs to make ends meet.
All of the neighboring school districts have passed voter-approved mill levy overrides, meaning our neighboring districts are able to provide more competitive compensation to teachers compared with the Roaring Fork School District.
The 5B mill levy override will support the Roaring Fork School District in being able to offer teachers a living wage by increasing property taxes costing average homeowners approximately $3.50 per month per $100,000 of home value.
As our schools face persistent teacher shortages and severe educational service reductions, this is an investment in our children, teachers and schools we can’t afford not to make.
I ask our community to vote yes on 5B.
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Kuhlenberg for school board