Fruita board rejects 24-townhome project

The Fruita City Council on Tuesday night rejected a 24-townhome project in the south end of the city after neighbors claimed the development was incompatible with surrounding subdivisions and would create access problems.

A handful of the roughly 30 people who attended the hearing applauded after council members voted 5-1 against a concept plan for Garden Estates, a multifamily project that would have been built on a little more than five acres near the Interstate 70 Frontage Road and Kaley Street.

Councilman Nick Kohls was the only one to vote in favor of the project.

Eight residents testified against Garden Estates, raising concerns ranging from their property values taking a hit, to their views of Colorado National Monument being blocked by two-story townhomes, to irrigation water drying up.

But the greatest objection dealt with a proposal to access Garden Estates, at least initially, solely via Kaley Street and the Colonial Glen subdivision.

Residents claimed having only one street to get into and out of Garden Estates would dump too many cars and trucks into a neighborhood inhabited by a lot of children and create a safety hazard.

“If there’s a waterline break, a fire, a small traffic fender-bender, the people in that cul-de-sac are trapped,” Kaley Street resident Kay Fredette said. “This doesn’t seem to me like a good traffic pattern.”

Fredette was one of more than 150 people who signed a petition opposing the development.

Councilman Bruce Bonar said having only one road into the development “would result in excess traffic that would create an adverse effect on the safety of residents.”

Robert Jones, president of Vortex Engineering and Architecture, a Fruita consulting firm on the project, said a second access road would be created at some point through an adjoining property. But he and the city acknowledged they didn’t know when that would occur.

Councilwoman Lori Buck said she didn’t have a problem with access to the subdivision. But she said she didn’t think the townhomes fit in with surrounding properties that either are currently vacant or contain single-family homes.

“There’s a lot of vacant land on (the east and west) sides,” she said. “As soon as you give something like this a toehold, it has potential to spread. That’s my concern.”

Tuesday night’s decision marked the second time the council has turned away a concept plan for the project. The last version of the development called for 30 townhomes, but council members last July said the proposed transportation infrastructure would be insufficient.


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