Land Trust gives preview of West St. Vrain project

       Heads of the Rocky Mountain Community Land Trust showed preliminary plans Feb. 9 for a five-unit affordable-housing subdivision at the dead end of West St. Vrain Street's 2500 block.
       The project would consist of two duplexes and a single-family home on a 17,000-square-foot parcel - currently vacant except for an old house that would be torn down - attendees were told at a neighborhood meeting at the West Intergenerational Center.
       The Land Trust, which has existed since 1996, makes houses affordable and ensures their continuing upkeep through a unique method in which the entity retains a quarter ownership of each unit, Executive Director Bob Koenig explained.
       Several residents of the neighborhood attended the presentation, as well as two city planners and three members of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) board.
       The neighbors were mostly concerned about parking and traffic impacts on the 2500 block's cul-de-sac that could result from the development.
       No formal plans have been submitted to City Planning yet. The Land Trust set up the meeting to hear any neighborhood concerns. Richard White of the Land Trust said that preliminary plans call for 10 off-street parking spaces and “fully landscaped” exterior areas.
       The meeting was generally amiable, except when OWN board member Dave Hughes said the neighborhood advocacy group would like to have another one after plans have been submitted and city staff has reviewed them.
       “We didn't have to have a meeting at all,” responded White.
       But Hughes said that OWN wants to “take a position” on the proposal - one which would be formally presented to city officials - and needs a second neighborhood meeting to help in that process. OWN board member Kristine Van Wert suggested visiting the site.
       The property is owned by Derrick and Tina Marie Norwood, who bought it in 2004 and have agreed to sell to the Land Trust, should the city OK its development plan.
       “It will benefit the community,” Mrs. Norwood said of the proposal.
       In answer to a Hughes question as to whether the existing 107-year-old house on the property could be restored, Norwood said no. He described the 800-square- foot building as “run down” and not of any historical value.
       The Land Trust has done other affordable-housing projects on the Westside, the most recent being the 4-acre, 14-home Broadway Bluffs subdivision in the Midland area, near the west end of Broadway Street.

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