Uintah Bluffs consultant set for March 13 OWN meeting

       David Whitehead, the consultant for the proposed Uintah Bluffs townhome development, has agreed to speak at the Thursday, March 13 membership meeting of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN).
       His scheduled time frame is 8 to 9 p.m. Before that, starting at 7 p.m., presentations are planned on code enforcement and animal control, according to OWN President Welling Clark. The meeting will be at the West Intergenera-tional Center, 25 N. 20th St.
       Whitehead agreed to Clark's request to talk to OWN during discussion at the Feb. 27 neighborhood meeting on the project at the Clarion Hotel on Bijou Street. That meeting, attended by about 30 people, raised a variety of issues regarding the proposed 57-unit development (28 duplex buildings and 1 house) that would be on a ridge above Bristol Elementary with access onto Manitou Boulevard.
       The chief focus for OWN will be Whitehead's idea, which he announced at the Clarion Hotel meeting, to talk to the city's Citizen Traffic Advisory Board (CTAB) about possible public improvements on Manitou Boulevard. He said he would take it up with the City Council-appointed board - of which he is a member - after several neighbors told him the curving, two-lane road is unsafe now and adding more cars as a result of the development would make it worse. “Cars come flying down Manitou Boulevard,” one neighbor said.
       However, City Traffic Engineering has not found major problems with the development's traffic plan. When Whitehead announced this at the meeting, the news was met with a general groan.
       Whitehead said he would talk to CTAB about “traffic calming,” a city program in which roads can get minor redesigns (such as narrowing or roundabouts) to slow vehicle speeds. A drawback to this idea is that the city currently has a backlog on traffic-calming projects. For example: The number-one priority location (17th Street) has been waiting five years to be built.
       The neighborhood meeting was the second since the development idea first surfaced over a year ago. City Planner James Mayerl, who was also at the meeting, said he called the meeting after receiving several responses to the postcards he sent out in December that let people within 1,000 feet of the property know about the plan submittal.
       The city will not sponsor another neighborhood meeting unless the plans change a great deal, Mayerl said. He does not anticipate the proposal going to Planning Commission any sooner than May, he added.
       In response to other resident questions, Whitehead said:
  • A resubmitted Uintah Bluffs development plan, responding to issues raised by City Planning about the plan submitted in December (including grading, geologic hazards, sidewalks within the project area, fire access and landscaping), is anticipated within a week or so.
  • The developer, Craddock Companies, a longtime area development firm, hopes to start working on the site this summer.
  • The townhome construction will be by Avalon Builders, with the estimated sale price at $300,000 a unit.
  • There would be no increase in drainage down to Dale Street because the project will include a detention pond to hold back runoff during storms. There had been a concern by OWN because another project, for offices on Monument Street (south of Uintah Bluffs) would also be draining onto Dale.

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