A map of the proposed location of Flying M Ranch south of Glenwood Springs.

Flying M Ranch PUD application denied

Traffic, density concerns cited in denial of housing development

November 15, 2023

Garfield County has denied a rezoning application for a proposed planned unit development (PUD) south of Glenwood Springs. Flying M Ranch, which was proposed for a 32-acre parcel off County Road 154 in the Eastbank subdivision near the Riverview School, was ultimately denied by the Board of County Commissioners. The denial took place in a continued public hearing following an initial public hearing and requested site visit by the board in October.

The board’s decision was based on density of the development and potential traffic and access impacts along Highway 82 and CR 154. The Garfield County Planning Commission had recommended approval of the project, but cited traffic and density concerns in its June meeting. Garfield County Community Development Department staff listed 17 conditions of approval for the project, including a supplemental condition that the applicant supply engineering plans for bank reclamation and stabilization along the Roaring Fork River. Staff also listed five findings to deny the application.

“Finding No. 5 for denial, if the board so wished, was added because the application had not adequately met the Garfield County Land Use and Development Code for 2023, as amended, including but not limited to, Section 7 – 103, compatibility; Section 7 – 107, access; Section 4 – 113, rezoning criteria; and Section 6 – 401, PUD development standards,” explained Garfield County Planner John Leybourne.

He added that traffic and associated road improvements have been concerns discussed throughout the process.

The proposal included 146 two-story market-rate rental townhomes; 12 townhomes exclusively available to Roaring Fork School District employees; 10 accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in the commercial district; eight home sites with ADUs in a single-family residential zone; a preliminary estimate of 12 deed-restricted affordable rental townhome units; and a 12-bed hospice home with two worker dwelling units.

“We’re being pushed really hard for more housing in this county,” said Commissioner Tom Jankovsky of his support. “Traffic and loss of rural character are real issues, but I think the housing benefits outweigh the deficits, in my opinion.”

“All the people who are from that area that spoke today are adamantly opposed to this designed project and that carries a lot of weight with me because those are the neighbors,” said Commissioner Mike Samson. “That’s their neighborhood and they’re concerned about it.”

“Have we lost our rural character? Absolutely, but we lost it a long time ago. I know I’m hanging onto the past and that has been my nature to try to stabilize the community and really make the right choices,” added Commissioner John Martin. “We’ve lost that rural character in Glenwood Springs. We are now Breckenridge or Aurora. I see the same buildings in Aurora as I do in Glenwood Springs, and I don’t want to see that anymore.”

The board denied the application, 2-1, with Commissioner Jankovsky in opposition to the motion for denial.