City OKs more Corner Square access, to ire of property owner

The Grand Junction City Council Wednesday night approved plans to build a third entry to the mixed-use Corner Square development at First Street and Patterson Road.

Against the recommendation of the Planning Commission, city traffic engineers and the city’s traffic engineering design standards, council members voted to allow project developers to build
25 3/4 Road within 20 feet of the Baughman family driveway.

The city’s traffic rules require a 150-foot separation between a private driveway and a major roadway. But the council chose to skirt those rules, essentially deciding that the driveway and new road could co-exist without compromising drivers’ safety.

“I could live with both of those being there,” Councilman Bruce Hill said.

The council attempted to strike a compromise by rejecting a proposal to eliminate the first 50 feet of the Baughmans’ driveway, which connects directly with Patterson Road, and forcing them to have access to their driveway via 25 3/4 Road.

But the Baughmans, who have owned the property for 81 years, and their supporters claimed the new road would infringe on their enjoyment of their land. Some questioned whether the third access was even necessary, given access points off Meander Drive and Park Drive.

“The City Council has a duty and obligation to defend the Baughman property rights as vigorously as they seem to be defending the developer’s rights,” said Jim Baughman, a former city councilman and Mesa County commissioner.

The council’s decision will allow developers to build 25 3/4 Road now rather than waiting until the third and final phase of construction at the 20-acre Corner Square, when a restaurant and a series of townhomes will be built.

The council also upheld the Planning Commission’s decision last month to approve construction of a 48-unit apartment complex during the second phase of development. The Baughmans had appealed that decision.

Advocates for building 25 3/4 Road now said the additional access would alleviate traffic on First Street and the intersection of First and Patterson Road. 25 3/4 Road will allow turns in all directions into and out of the project.

Several employees and managers of businesses that were built during the first phase of construction said they chose to locate their businesses at the far west end of the development with the expectation that 25 3/4 Road would be built there. They touted the additional convenience of having a third access point.

Most council members agreed the road is needed now, given the amount of traffic entering and exiting the development.

“I don’t see any point in postponing to me what seems to be inevitable, and that to me is that 25 3/4 Road needs to be built,” Councilwoman Teresa Coons said.


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