RFTA eyes Glenwood Springs hotel property for employee housing

A bus driver boards the local Glenwood RFTA bus in Glenwood town centre.
Chelsea Freelance / Freelance position

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority is under contract for an undisclosed Glenwood Springs hotel property to be converted into housing for bus drivers and other transit agency employees.

And a recently passed City of Glenwood Springs ordinance that makes it easier to complete such property conversions could help speed that up, said Mike Hermes, director of facilities and capital projects.

The operator of the Valleywide bus system that serves the Aspen-to-Rifle area is currently down to 40 drivers, eight mechanics and about a half-dozen administrative positions, Hermes said at the city council meeting. of July 7.

The staffing situation has led to a 13% reduction in bus services this summer, he said.

“RFTA is looking for a faster solution to our housing needs than trying to build our own or working with a developer to build something,” Hermes said during a board meeting break. from RFTA to Carbondale on Thursday morning.

The board discussed the proposed purchase of the lodge in an executive session, but took no formal action. Closing is scheduled for October, so the deal could be made public at the RFTA board meeting in September, he said.

Hermes noted that there are plenty of older hotels and motels in Glenwood Springs in particular that could be repurposed for housing.

“What we would do is buy the property and upgrade it to modern building codes, install kitchenettes and use them as transitional housing for our employees,” he said. “The timeframe to be able to do that is much shorter than building something from scratch.”

The new city ordinance is helpful in that it relaxes some of the usual development code requirements for residential units, including parking.

Since most accommodation properties are already paved from line to line for parking, there isn’t much else to add. The parking requirement for accommodation is lower than for permanent residential units.

Green space requirements for residential development would also be difficult to meet with an accommodation property conversion, Hermes said.

“The new provisions make these things more reasonable and achievable,” he said.

RFTA is among employers in the area that have provided housing for their employees for several years, including owning two properties in Carbondale and several units in the Aspen area.

Senior Reporter/Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or [email protected]

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