Informal plan for Uintah Bluffs calls for 120 apartments

       Developer Matt Craddock presented an informal plan July 20 for considerably more homes than previously proposed in the on-again, off-again Uintah Bluffs residential project.

The photo looks north from the Monument Street intersection with Manitou Boulevard. The access to the planned Uintah Bluffs development is proposed to come into the boulevard about where the left arrow marking the tight curve is now. This is one of the traffic issues that was raised by residents at the neighborhood meeting July 20.
Westside Pioneer photo

       About 30 people, who had been notified by city postcards, attended the neighborhood meeting at the Westside Community Center.
       The new plan suggests about 120 units in an apartment-style configuration in which the units would initially be rented and later be sold, Craddock explained.
       The roughly 13-acre parcel is located in a never-developed plateau with some trees, scrub oak and other low vegetation west of and above Bristol Elementary. Uintah Street is on the north, Manitou Boulevard on the west and Monument Street on the south.
       Neighbors were not pleased with the number of units, but seemed placated by Craddock's willingness to listen to suggestions. Even though he would like to move forward on a plan that would allow him to earn a profit from the land, I don't want to make a formal submittal until I have something that makes sense and that the neighborhood can agree with, he told the group.
       Two previous plans, submitted by a former Craddock consultant between 2007 and 2009, had been respectively frowned upon by city staff chiefly because of unstable slopes, excessive grading and fire-safety issues. The first had called for 57 and the second one 48 units.
       Craddock's new plan puts several buildings in almost no areas with unstable slopes or heavy grading needs, and it addresses fire safety in terms of a turnaround at the dead end of the one street and putting sprinkler systems in the buildings, he said.
       He added that he hopes to set aside several acres as open space, including a portion that would allow a trail connection with Bristol Park, next to Bristol School.
       A main point of dispute was traffic impacts. According to Craddock's traffic consultant, Jeff Hodsdon, apartments/condominiums have fewer children, leading to fewer vehicle trips per day. This means that 120 units wouldn't result in noticeably more traffic than 57 or 48, he said. But residents weren't convinced, and in a phone call the day after the meeting Craddock said he thinks the 120-unit idea probably would lead to more traffic than the previous ones - about 300 trips per day.
       Another concern is where the Uintah Bluffs access road is proposed to come in - at a tight turn on Manitou Boulevard a few hundred feet north of Monument Street.
       The attendees - chiefly residents from that area - made it clear they are not happy even with the current traffic situation. They complained about speeders on Manitou Boulevard, cut-through traffic using the boulevard between Uintah Street and the downtown and the lack of sidewalks on the boulevard as well as on Monument Street (which is used by numerous children walking to Bristol School).
       Resident Brian Little predicted that a new development would add to the Monument Street traffic, because it's the fastest way from that part of Manitou Boulevard for motorists on their way to northbound I-25. Monument also has issues with a narrow point at the bottom of the hill and on icy days cars can't make it all the way to the top, residents said.
       City Planner Mike Schultz said that as part of the development approval process, mitigation for some of these issues could be considered, and Craddock said he was willing to do that.
       Craddock said he expects to hold another neighborhood meeting before he submits a formal plan.

Westside Pioneer article