Neighborhood groups organize in response to growth plan

A plan that will guide how the Grand Valley grows in the next 25 years proposes a number of significant changes that have raised the eyebrows of some neighborhood groups.

Two groups, Orchard Mesa Neighbors in Action and the Seventh Street Historic Residential District, will host a meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Western Colorado Chapter of the American Red Cross, 506 Gunnison Ave. The meeting is open to all city and county residents.

Grand Junction city officials are pitching several land-use changes as part of the comprehensive plan, which has been two years in the making. Among them:

An emphasis on higher-density housing, which would reduce sprawl and accommodate growth that is projected for the valley. The overall residential density could double under the plan.

The establishment of large village centers in downtown Clifton, Whitewater and the intersections of U.S. Highway 50 and Colorado Highway 141, 29 and D roads, 24 and H roads and 29 Road and North Avenue. The centers would promote a variety of land uses, including retail, office and residential, and encourage people to live close to where they work and shop, officials say.

Numerous alterations to the development-review process, which would allow projects to move through the planning department more quickly. That proposal concerns some residents, who say it could lead to land-use changes that only have to be approved administratively and not in a public hearing.

Encouraging taller buildings in downtown — and possibly elsewhere — with a mixture of uses.

Vicki Felmlee, a member of Orchard Mesa Neighbors in Action, said she and others have multiple questions about the comprehensive plan, including what prompted its creation and how the city and county will cooperate in adopting and implementing it.

“Is there a concern there? I don’t know if there is or not. I don’t even know if I’m concerned. There’s a lot I don’t know,” she said.

Felmlee said the meeting is intended to allow people to review the plan and ask questions. She said city and county representatives have been invited to the meeting.

“We feel it’s important to at least give people the opportunity to show up. We want to strip the emotion away and be as informational as possible,” Felmlee said.

The city and county are expected to adopt the plan by the end of the year.


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