Dillon rejects Urgent Care & Residences PUD amendments
DILLON — The Dillon Town Council rejected a series of proposed amendments to the Dillon Urgent Care & Residences development plan during their regular meeting last Tuesday night.
In October 2018, the council approved a planned unit development for the project, which included the construction of a new commercial clinic building containing an urgent care facility adjacent to the Dillon Dam Brewery, along with three workforce housing units to be used by clinic employees. The development also included an 18-unit residential condominium building complete with an underground parking structure.
But developers returned to the council Tuesday night in hopes of making some changes to the plans, which were widely panned by members of the council and public alike.
Eric Smith, an architect with ESA, provided the council with a short presentation on the proposed changes on behalf of the owner Dr. Nizar Assi, which included moving the urgent care building a few feet to the west — which would have slightly infringed on town setback limits — to accommodate a separate driveway for the residential building.
Additionally, the changes included revised parking plans to slightly increase the number of spaces, reducing the overall square footage of signage on the property and revising the residential unit mix. But perhaps the biggest sticking point in the updated proposal was the considerable reduction in planned landscaping on the property. Though, that’s not necessarily the developer’s fault.
Last year the town moved a sanitary sewer main along the east side of the property line adjacent to the Dam Brewery, and required an additional 10-foot wide utility easement along the south property line of the proposed urgent care and residences development, which essentially eliminated the opportunity for widespread landscaping. As a result, the number of planned trees dropped from 40 to just 17.
Smith said he would be willing to work with the town to populate the area with smaller trees or plants, and the town will work to help address the problem as any development moves forward, according to Dillon’s Communications Director Kerstin Anderson.
Regardless, community members dialed into the meeting to share their distaste for the development, many believing it would be an inevitable eyesore.
“The thing that strikes me most about this project is that it has been pushed to the maximum on every single setback or line, horizontally and vertically,” said Kent Willis, a Breckenridge attorney representing property owners in the area. Willis continued to say that the urgent care facility had taken a backseat to the residential development, which he criticized for not including any additional affordable or workforce housing units, and not planning for issues like parking if the units become short-term rentals.
“The (council) ought to be questioning whether it really does fit with the character of the town, the surrounding areas and the neighborhood,” Willis said. “The neighbors would submit it really does not. It needs to be scaled back substantially in all of its aspects.”
David Servinsky, who owns a pair of nearby properties, said the development is at odds with the town’s character.
“I just find it inappropriate,” Servinsky said. “So many people come up from urban areas to get away and enjoy our small mountain town. … I call it the greed factor, which is why they’re trying to make it as big as they can.”
The town council agreed that the proposals had gotten out of hand in regard to landscaping concerns and the necessity of the additional driveway, along with voicing disappointment in how the development plans have materialized so far.
“The initial plan, two revisions ago, seemed like a really good idea,” said Council Member Karen Kaminski. “It was something that would bring something really good into the community. But now they want to change it, and change it and change it. It keeps getting more complex and less attractive.”
“We want to increase density in town, that’s one of our goals, but one of the other goals we’ve identified is to retain our character,” said Mayor Carolyn Skowyra. “… One of the things I’ve heard, and maybe this final amendment highlights for me, is that perhaps this project is too massive for the site it’s on, especially with these changes.”
The council rejected the amendments in a 5-1 vote, with Council Member Renee Imamura dissenting.
The developers still have an approved plan if they wish to move forward without the amendments, although the fight isn’t over for some community members. Servinsky said he believes town officials were “duped” before the initial plans were approved in 2018, and said he’d continue to take steps to stop the development from happening, even if that means going to court to try and get an injunction to stop it.
“I’d look to take this to the courts to see if we can overturn the previously approved PUD because it has a significant negative impact on the neighbors,” Servinsky said. “They may have a right to build, but they need to build respectfully of their neighbors.”
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