Wednesday letters: Some final thoughts on W. Glenwood annexation, airport question
Not a good legacy
What would Adolph say? The former patriarch of the Diemoz family. He and his son Floyd have built many of the structures in Glenwood over the last 70 years. Floyd’s sister Francis is an architect, so the family roots run deep in the valley.
Two things of note: Fire seems to be a legitimate concern considering the 1994 Storm King Fire and the 2002 Coal Seam Fire that threatened and consumed parts of West Glenwood. The building on the Front Range, Glenwood, Grand Junction and the concerns of the character of Aspen, are human warehouses, polished in appearance, but are no more than future tenements. Simply by their density and quality of construction, they are fire hazards. The human element gets lost in the money.
Second, another human element of concern is the increased traffic on Grand Avenue that Midland Avenue will only be a poor second to, not to mention commuter traffic being “the” overbearing element to fire. This is all commotion, when there is plenty of land for a shorter commute upvalley. David Hauter puts planned development in perspective in his Earth Day letter.
The Diemoz family means well, but the development in its present form is not a lasting legacy, without a broader concept. Ask yourselves, “Would I want to live there?” Future residents would vote for something better.
The latest flier from the claimed “Glenwood Citizens for Sensible Development” tells people: “Don’t be deceived by the developer’s false promises,” which is fascinating, as the flier is full of misinformation. It states that by voting “yes” on B “the City, County, and community will have time to collaborate and create truly affordable housing…”
It has been clearly stated that a “no” vote on B allows for annexation of the property in West Glenwood and continued planning and review, while a “yes” vote means no city annexation and no more discussion regarding housing.
Another dramatic statement regards the land donation for a fire station. The flier says “We will have to pay to fund it (the fire station).” The city has been looking to purchase land in West Glenwood for years in order to build a new fire station, and no matter where it is built, “we” the taxpayers will pay for it. In a city memo dated May 25, 2021, Glenwood Spring Fire Chief Gary Tillotson states, “Additional property taxes generated from this development (480 Donegan) will help fund the construction of the new fire station.” It is also quite ironic that a group that has used fear of fire as a main point of opposition is now balking at having to pay for a fire station.
Yet another misleading statement involves the city’s evacuation plan. The flier states, “Only preliminary steps toward the plan (evacuation) have been taken.” The reality is that CDOT and the city have formulated a plan, and it is set to be implemented this summer.
Lastly, Tina Schrader’s recent letter called out the “questionable campaign practices” related to 480 Donegan and states the “Vote Yes committee … have followed every aspect of the fair campaign practices act to the letter.” That is quite a bold statement as the group’s door hanger and yard signs did not note anywhere on it who paid for it — which is in violation of campaign practices.
Before voting on May 3, please examine closely which side presents facts and which side muddies them.
Hershey’s right, again
As usual, Councilman Tony Hershey hit the mark in his April 1 column, “A counterpoint to those supporting 480 Donegan annexation.”
If you agree with him, and with me, that this project is just too large for our community, especially concerning the lack of roads to handle it, especially with fire season now year-round, please join me in voting “yes” on Question B. We simply do not have the infrastructure to support it at this time.
Normally when we want to vote against something we would vote “no,” but the wording on this question makes this different. A vote of “Yes” means “no” to the 480 Donegan annexation.
Please vote “yes” for no annexation.
I wonder what hidden agenda Mayor Godes has for his very obvious desire for the 480 annexation to go through. He appears to be spreading “alternative facts,’’ also known as untruths or lies, in an attempt to scare the community into voting against their own best interest.
Posting self-serving “political” messages on local community websites is kind of shady, too. This is the kind of thing that we have unfortunately come to expect in national politics but hope that it doesn’t “trickle down” to the local level. So, “Your Honor,” what’s in it for you?
I am writing to correct a wildly incorrect talking point that the 480 Donegan critics have been circulating. There have been claims in more than 10 recent letters to the editor that there will be anywhere from 700-1,200 new residents at the proposed annexation. They are saying this math will grow the town’s population somewhere between 10% and 30%. These numbers are pulled out of thin air in an attempt to scare voters, but they are not realistic (where would they all park?) or legal (fire code and the city certificate of occupancy wouldn’t allow it).
Also, why didn’t any of these critics care when 300 units (the exact same number as 480 Donegan) were approved at the Meadows recently? Not one person spoke out in opposition to that development and the so-called “rampant” growth they claim about 480 Donegan. Do those 300 units somehow create less population growth than 480 Donegan’s 300 units? Is it that the Meadows is not in their backyard?
Let’s set the record straight. 480 Donegan would have 40 townhomes with three bedrooms, 120 one-bedroom, 111 two-bedroom, and 16 three-bedroom apartments. On-site management would ensure safe occupancy levels and the industry average would estimate about 527 residents. The critics will have you believe that there will be four residents per unit. Does anyone think the Loft’s 200 occupied units have 800 residents living there?
The Facebook group for the critics includes comments such as no one will “monitor how many live there. One will sign the lease. Five will live there. Slums will emerge. Devalue our land and erode our community.” This post was liked or loved by six members of the group. Another wrote that an “increase in crime is inevitable with (this) type of density.”
Slums? Crime? Devalued land? Are these ugly tactics what this community is about? Don’t fall for their false talking points. Get the facts and vote “no” on B.
Disgusted with anti-annexers
I am a member of the FB group “Citizens for Responsible Development,” or should I say the group formerly known as “West Glenwood Pasture Development.” They changed their name and made the FB group private after kicking out people that didn’t agree with them. The leader even told people to lie about where they lived the next time they gave public comment. I joined thinking that it was a community group to help get the best possible outcome for the neighborhood and the city.
Boy, I was wrong.
I have seen vitriol, wild accusations, name-calling, and subtle racism in their posts, public comments and letters to the editor. Many are too vile or profane to print. “We got to think about who we let in,” said one, and “people that aren’t educated tend to commit more crimes” opined another, both leaders with the West Glenwood Pasture group. “I’ll see you after the meeting (mayor) Jonathan… you can all go to hell” shouted an angry supporter at that same public meeting. Scary.
They accused the Diemoz family of being liars. A group leader called Floyd’s granddaughter Erica on the phone to harass and intimidate her. They sent out a mailer with campaign violations on it, and I just received another mailer with false information claiming the mall is under contract with another developer. Why the need to deceive? Disingenuous.
They seem to have zero problems with other developments like the 300 units at the Meadows. That didn’t have 60 affordable housing units, land donated for a park and firehouse, or a possibility to redevelop the mall with a grocery store. It wouldn’t revitalize an entire area of the city. Seems like 300 units that are “not in my back yard” are not worth even mentioning, while 300 units close to my house are grounds for war. Hypocritical.
The last straw for me was that they have never put forth one alternative idea. The PI Editorial Board pleaded with them months ago to come up with a plan. It is no surprise their plan is simply “no.” Please say “no” to the vitriol, the hypocrisy, and the worse of Glenwood. Vote “no” on issue B
County side of the road
Not many people know that 480 Donegan is actually County Road 130. Those of us that live along this county road and behind it can’t vote on city issues. That’s about 2,000 of our friends, family and neighbors that can’t vote on this ballot.
Please vote “Yes” to keep 480 Donegan/CR130 in the county.
Vote yes to repeal the annexation of County Road 130.
Let’s hold our public officials accountable.
480 Donegan untruths
The 480 Donegan annexation is a complex issue. It is not fair to the residents of Glenwood Springs to have to wade through the information presented by the developers, some City Council members, and the group campaigning against the repeal of the annexation (Mayor Godes April 22, Council Member Dehm April 15, Mayor Godes Imagine Glenwood Facebook group, 480donegan.com, noonb.vote).
Many claims made by the above mentioned are not true, but there are no repercussions for disseminating untruths.
If this development is essential to the revitalization of the mall, one would think that R2 would purchase the mall property alongside 480 Donegan and seek to align the entire project with the city’s Comprehensive Plan. Instead, there is an urgency for 480 Donegan to be annexed now, with the existing 11-year-old Comprehensive Plan being updated this year (visionglenwood.com). Promises of new retail amenities and a new grocery store cannot be made regarding developers who do not and may never own the mall property.
If this development is the only alternative to a warehouse district under county control, why isn’t that reflected in the existing approval from the Garfield County Board of Commissioners? Any change to the current Commercial/Limited zoning requires hearings before the BOCC and provides the opportunity for public input.
If safety is a primary concern, why is the city approving developments of this size and magnitude in this area before establishing and implementing an effective evacuation plan? We have had plenty of examples of what happens when fires happen here. Access-line breaks to I-70 do not matter when I-70 is gridlocked or closed. Land for a new West Glenwood fire station does not matter when there is no way out, no available emergency services members, and no equipment to deploy.
The property owners have the right to sell and develop their land. And we, who live in and around our community, have the right to accurate, factual information about this development. Isn’t it time to consider the facts and the bigger picture?
In support of 480 Donegan
I moved to Glenwood Springs in September of 1978 to practice law with the Delaney and Balcomb Law Firm. I am currently retired.
Outside of my law practice, I was very active in helping many community activities, including nonprofit community and regional organizations, serving on boards and as a volunteer. I was asked to serve on several regional transportation and land use entities.
I volunteered to serve on several Glenwood city commissions and boards and was selected to the Planning & Zoning Commission, on which I served for seven years before I ran for election on the City Council at large, which meant that I represented all the wards in the city. I served two four-year terms on the council from April 2007 to April 2015.
What I learned from this community and regional volunteer service was how our state, county and regional governments are organized and mandated under State of Colorado Statutes and even the U.S. Constitution and federal laws and regulations.
I have read the R2 Application and attended several, but not all, public meetings and hearings.
Here are my thoughts about the R2 Partner’s submission (for 480 Donegan):
1. I have personally researched the work and public reputation of the developer and applicant, R2 Partners, and found they are very experienced in the planning, development and construction of housing and commercial projects, like this and enjoy public recognition nationally.
2. This project has been closely reviewed and approved by the Glenwood Springs P&Z, which conducted several public hearings of this matter when it was heard by them, and recommended for approval by the City Council.
3. I believe the city staff has reviewed this pending application and has found that it complies with its regulations and design standards.
4. I believe the issues of fire and traffic congestion and safety have been addressed by the city staff.
I personally have tried to read most of the public documents in this matter and support this development as approved by the City Council.
David R. Sturges
Vote ‘Yes’ on Airport Question A
On May 3 we will vote on a City Charter Amendment that requires voter approval for certain future changes to the airport.
Some Council members have repeatedly introduced motions that could ultimately result in airport closure, releasing the land for unspecified development.
On March 17, 47 days before the election, the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem scheduled a Council vote that could have significantly modified or eliminated the runway. Council voted 5-2 to foil this blatant attempt to preempt public control of the airport prior to the election.
Last February, staff presented misleading data during a listening session that made the airport, which is safe and generally self-funding, seem expensive and dangerous. At that session:
1. Presenters stated that obstacles near the airport “will need to be removed or mitigated.” There is no regulatory or safety requirement to do so. Many “obstacles” were in fact low trees that might grow taller, someday. The City Engineer confirmed these points at the March 17 Council meeting.
2. Presenters showed budgets prepared without input from the Airport Board who strongly disagreed with any need to remove obstacles and with the magnitude and necessity of expenditures.
3. Presenters omitted the regional economic benefits of the airport (including 202 jobs and $36 million of annual business revenue) detailed in a 2020 CDOT Aviation study which may be found on their website.
Decisions regarding the airport are too important to be left to varying councils and staff.
Whether you are for or against the airport, a “Yes” vote on Ballot Question A gives you ultimate control of this issue.
Remember, this is not a specific vote for or against the airport. It is a vote to have such a vote in the future.
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