South corridor parcel rezoned to highway commercial

A 1.35-acre parcel of land was rezoned from rural residential to highway commercial at Tuesday’s meeting of the Grand County Council. The decision was made by a five to two vote of the council.

“The portion of the property that would actually be rezoned is very small” due to steep slopes and a spring easement, according to Community Development Coordinator Mary Hofhine. Furthermore, Hofhine said, “It only has access off the highway commercial part [of the property].”

A member of the audience, who identified himself as a Grand County resident, made the case for the rezone as well.

“I have a lot of respect for our housing situation in Grand County. Affordable housing is an issue not just here … There’s a right place for residential housing and there’s a right place for affordable housing and then there’s other places that really don’t fit too well … [this property] is the back end of a commercial lot. It backs up to a hill … this property is much better used for the community as a highway commercial lot,” the individual said.

Council Vice Chair Curtis Wells noted that the council has been dedicated to the issue of affordable housing and is moving forward with both an assured housing policy and a high density overlay plan.

“I think affordable housing is something that everybody is on board with … but if we adopt a no-net-loss policy, good planning goes out the door … we’ve got a highway frontage property in … the southern corridor. I think applying that paradigm of ‘get an affordable house anywhere you can get it’ is really inappropriate when applied to this circumstance because it ignores the fact that this is a commercial area.”

Council Member Evan Clapper disagreed.

“With the work that is going on in other areas … I’m hesitant to start changing things from one designation to another while that work is still in progress. So not to say that this might not make sense in the future, but I’m not ready to do it today,” Clapper said.

The council voted five to two to rezone the parcel, with council members Jaylyn Hawks and Clapper opposed.