Parking plan raises worries

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— A proposed affordable-housing project in Oak Creek met with resistance from the Oak Creek Town Board on Thursday night.

While the board had no problem granting the Yampa Valley Housing Authority's request to build four homes and a duplex closer to the front property line than allowed by setback requirements, it did have concerns about the project's parking plan.

YVHA Director Elizabeth Black, property manager Heidi Nunnikhoven and construction supervisor Bob Dresden appeared before the board Thursday to request the setback variance to accommodate deck overhangs. During their appearance, the board and other community members raised issues about parking for the new homes.

The developers want to use on-street parking to save money. However, that idea met with staunch opposition from the board. If the on-street parking were permitted, it would create traffic issues because one of the streets in question is a one-way street. It also would create problems with snow removal in the winter.

"This is not a typical Oak Creek thing," board member Karen Halterman said. "Most people here have driveways."

The developers are concerned the cost of the driveways could make the affordable housing project unaffordable for low-income families. Dresden estimated the cost of creating parking would add an additional $54,000 to the project.

Another issue the board brought up was the slope of one of the streets involved being too steep to consider parking. The board also was concerned about the accessibility of the streets for fire and ambulance vehicles if the streets were clogged with cars and, in the winter, snow.

"We're not going look the other way on codes or safety to make this project cheaper. That's insane," Halterman said.

After granting the developers permission for the 5-foot allowance for the decks, the board decided to continue discussion about the hotly debated parking issue. The board will hold a separate meeting to discuss land use codes at 7 p.m. June 15.

Also Thursday, the board heard a request from Sheila Henderson and Stephen Moore of Enterprise Investments LLC, asking for permission to replat existing vacant lots in Oak Creek into three single-family homes.

Some community members were concerned that the lots are too small for three individual homes and that the new housing will cause even more traffic problems with the existing homes and their parking.

"The board needs to be cautious because these people are from out of town and they're here to make money and move on," resident Larry Bereznak said.

Moore defended their proposal saying that there is a need for affordable housing in Oak Creek and that single-family homes are the best use of land.

Board member J. Elliott said he was against telling people what to do with their assets, noting Moore and Henderson's building plans conformed to codes and requirements.

After a 5-1 vote, the board granted the replat request.

The next Town Board meeting will be at 7 p.m. June 9 at the Oak Creek Town Hall.

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