Uintah Bluffs is back – meeting Dec. 20

       Nearly five years since the Uintah Bluffs townhome development was first proposed, a neighborhood meeting is scheduled Tuesday, Dec. 20 to allow public review of the latest plan.
       The meeting will start at 6 p.m. at the Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou St.
       “Uintah Bluffs” is the name that developer Matt Craddock has assigned to about 13 acres on a mostly flat mesa above Walnut Street (including Bristol Elementary) to the east, Uintah Street to the north and Monument Street to the south. The new proposal envisions sites for 13 four-unit townhomes (52 units in all) on either side of a single private road coming in from Manitou Boulevard on the west.
       “I'm pretty excited about it,” said Craddock. “This has less of a footprint and more open space than before. I wish it hadn't taken so long, but this design is certainly a lot better.”
       Craddock is with Craddock Companies, which is doing business as “Uintah Bluffs LLC” for this project.
       Earlier proposals to the city, asking for roughly the same number of units, had been submitted by a former LLC consultant between 2007 and 2009. These plans had met with criticism from city officials. Concerns had included construction on unstable slopes, fire safety and the need for extensive grading.
       Regarding the LLC's newly revised plan, Mike Schultz of City Land Use Review said he needs to study it in greater detail, but praised Craddock and his team for having “minimized the disturbance of steep slopes, provided some private open space and added guest parking; they are also re-addressing fire-access issues.”
       The developed area - including buildings, paved areas and “common recreation areas” - would take up roughly 20 percent of the 13 acres, the plans show.
       Craddock said that in revising the plan he has also tried to be responsive to the people in the surrounding neighborhoods. His most recent proposal a year and a half ago - presented at a neighborhood meeting but never submitted to the city - suggested 120 apartment units. “Based on the feedback from neighbors at the meeting, they were open to the development, but wanted me to trim it back,” he said. They also wanted to see construction that was similar in style to the older neighborhoods around the mesa, he noted.
       For inspiration, Craddock turned to the Gold Hill Mesa “traditional neighborhood development” residential project off Lower Gold Camp Road and 21st Street. One style he was impressed with was J.M. Weston's fourplexes. “I love what they're doing,” he said. “I like it that the units are main-level living. That allows four units in one building, so you don't need the big heights of apartments.”
       Craddock also lauded the G.J. Gardner house at Gold Hill, which has received kudos for incorporating extremely low energy usage into its design.
       Craddock Companies is not in the building business, but chooses builders to partner with, Craddock explained. However, he did not give a timetable for beginning construction at Uintah Bluffs.
       Schultz pointed out that the formal request to the city is only for a planned unit development (PUD) zone change and development plan approval. A plat would still need to be submitted to allow work to start.
       In any case, assuming that no major issues come up at the neighborhood meeting, the Uintah Bluffs LLC request could go before Planning Commission at its meeting in March, Schultz said.

Westside Pioneer article