Pair of proposed subdivisions could 
add hundreds of homes in GJ, Fruita

QUICKREAD

ROOFTOPS ON THE RISE

Grand Junction’s residential housing market is rebounding as fast as rounds from a nail gun.

The city recorded 330 new planning clearances in 2016, which is up from a five-year low of about 210 planning clearances in 2011.

Grand Junction saw nearly half of that activity in the fourth quarter of 2016, when 166 of those planning clearances were granted. Developers must obtain a planning clearance for approval to build.

The trend continued upward into the first quarter of this year, with an additional 135 residential units past the planning clearance stage. Ninety-one residential units received planning clearances in the same period last year.

Grand Junction has 1,300 single-family lots pending approval or under review this year, according to city officials.



Two of the biggest planned housing developments ever proposed in the Grand Valley would add nearly 600 rooftops in Fruita and Grand Junction.

Planning for the 271-unit Iron Wheel subdivision in Fruita west of the Fruita 8-9 School and the 303-lot Weeminuche subdivision north of Interstate 70 in Grand Junction signal a resurgence of demand for single-family homes, said Robert Jones, president of Vortex Engineering and the project engineer on both developments.

“The single-family market of 2017 turned on the front burners,” he said.

The Grand Valley hasn’t seen the current amount of activity in homes being planned, designed and under construction since 2007 or 2008, Jones said.

“I hope we continue to see that through 2018,” he said.

The Iron Wheel Subdivision is wending through the planning process. It’s the first example of a development using Fruita’s community mixed-use zone, which requires residential development to combine with open space and community services.

“No one’s been quite able to pull this off yet,” Jones said. “There’s quite a few developers who are watching this project.”

The proposal by developer Cody Davis aims to build four eight-plex, two-story apartment complexes. Homes and lot sizes will vary, with smaller homes and lots to resemble construction like those in downtown Fruita. The largest planned homes in the development will be on lot sizes of roughly one-third of an acre.

Construction is expected to occur over six to eight years, depending on demand, Jones said.

“I could easily see 30 homes a year,” he said.

The development includes open space, walking trails and a park.

In Grand Junction, the proposed Weeminuche subdivision by developer 26 Road LLC envisions 303 single-family homes on a 151-acre parcel between 26 and 26 1/2 roads south of H 3/4 Road.

The development’s proposal did not clear its first hurdle. The Grand Junction Planning Commission last month voted 4-2 against a planned-development zone for the project. The issue now heads to the City Council for a Nov. 1 hearing, but the applicant must receive a super majority of councilors’ votes — at least five votes from the seven-member board.

A few dozen neighbors protested the plan at the Planning Commission meeting for a number of reasons, including its density, the increased amount of traffic the subdivision would bring and its lack of conformity with other neighborhoods in the area.

Planning Commission Chairman Christian Reece said while the city’s zoning plan technically allows for the subdivision’s density, because of other stipulations the density would be higher than the proposed two-residential-units-per-acre zone. She said at the meeting she believes the city’s comprehensive plan “got it wrong.”

“I do not believe that our current infrastructure can handle that type of growth in that part of town,” she said. … “I don’t believe it’s in our community’s best interest.”

After receiving feedback from a number of neighbors in the area in the spring, the applicant scaled back its original plan of building 389 single-family homes on the site and agreed to work within in the default zone of R-2.

Plans for the Weeminuche subdivision originally surfaced about a decade ago.

In 2008 the City Council approved an outline development plan for the site to build 362 units on the site, but that plan timed out. The council at that time allowed a rezone of the property with a default zone of four residential units per acre.

Jones said he’ll continue to “charge forward to City Council,” and the applicant has the option to legally challenge the city if it doesn’t approve the subdivision.

Most lot sizes planned for the development come in at 12,000 square feet, but some lots are as big as six-tenths of an acre. The developer has plans to retain as open space a little more than 20 percent of the property — 33 acres — for parks and trails, and a pond is planned for the center of the development, Jones said.

The subdivision could build out in 16 to 17 years, or sooner if the demand is there, Jones said.

The north Grand Junction parcel represents one of the largest remaining parcels of developable land for homes in the city, he said.


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