Glenwood Springs voters have overturned city leaders’ annexation of a 16-acre parcel of land, effectively killing a plan to build 300 new homes in the increasingly expensive and under-housed Western Slope city.
Unofficial results released late Tuesday show residents voting to repeal the annexation 1,437 to 904.
Opponents of the proposal say they hope city leaders learn from those results and now start to trust and respect their constituents who have long opposed the proposal called 480 Donegan.
“It should have been our elected officials who recognized that we were correct in judging the 480 project to be wrong for the time, … wrong for the location, and wrong for the community,” Laurie Raymond, a local small-business owner and member of Glenwood Springs Citizens for Sensible Development, wrote in an email.
Raymond and other opponents said the proposal for relatively dense townhomes and apartments on the west end of Glenwood Springs would have made evacuation during a wildfire much more difficult.
City staff have said they were working with federal and state officials to create emergency access points to Interstate 70 to address such concerns. But Raymond said such fixes should be made before projects like 480 Donegan happen.
Other opponents of the proposal told CPR News in April they simply didn’t want the new project.
Backers of the proposal, like Mayor Jonathan Godes, said it would have expanded housing options for the city’s workforce and helped make Glenwood Springs more affordable. The proposal included 60 affordable housing units, starting at $1,250 a month.
Godes decried the vote result as an indication that residents “have little interest in providing housing for our working-class people.”
“These decisions make us less diverse and less vibrant,” he wrote in a text message.
“However,” he added, “this is the will of the voters and they have spoken.”
A spokeswoman for the developer behind the project, Cincinnati- and Roaring Fork Valley-based R2 Partners, said the property, located behind the aging Glenwood Springs mall, will now be developed as a commercial park in Garfield County.
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