Last updated 5:56PM ET
December 14, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
203 Condos At Iron Horse Get Thumbs Up
(2007-09-19)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Two years after their first plans were denied by Durango City Council, owners of the Iron Horse Inn last night won approval of a new proposal, to turn the aging motel into a condominium development.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

VICTOR: Following hours of public hearing and debate stretching over two council meetings, city councilors voted just before midnight, 4-1 to approve redevelopment of the Iron Horse Inn, on the north end of Animas View Drive.
The owners want to scrape off the existing buildings and construct 203 one, two and three bedroom condo's.
The development would be constructed according to built green standards, and include a 7 acre park, public transit facilities, parking beneath the units, and an average unit cost of 350-thousand dollars.
Rather than designate some of the units as affordable, the developers propose a unique Transfer Fee program, where the developers initially, and in the future sellers of the units, would pay a 1-percent fee that would be earmarked for affordable housing programs.
It's estimated the fee would generate 3-to-6 million dollars over ten years.
Current Animas View Drive residents have objected to the project, citing among other things, the traffic they say it will generate along the road.
Developers suggest the condos would generate 53-percent less traffic than that generated by the current 157 unit motel operating at national average occupancy.
But several councilors, led by Renee Parsons, questioned the validity of the traffic study noting the Iron Horse restaurant no longer operates and the motel's business is probably well below average.
That prompted Parsons to make a motion to deny the project.
PARSONS: I BELIEVE IT IS THE CITY COUNCILS RESPONSIBILITY TO BE FACTFINDERS. AND IN THIS SITUATION THOSE FACTS JUST REALLY DON'T ADD UP. THE TRAFFIC ANALYSIS SIMPLY DOES NOT WORK, I BELIEVE, IN VIEW OF THE REALITY OF THE IRON HORSE INN RIGHT NOW. WE ARE LOOKING AT WHAT I THINK IS A VERY SERIOUS FLAWED INTERSECTION AT 550, 203 AND ANIMAS VIEW DRIVE. AND ANYONE WHO'S DRIVEN AROUND THERE AND COME UP OUT OF THE IRON HORSE I THINK CAN SEE THOSE ISSUES.
Parsons motion died for lack of a second.
Councilor Michael Rendon then moved for approval of the project.
He says he too is concerned about the traffic study and the price of the units.
RENDON: BUT ULTIMATELY THERE'S A LOT OF GREAT THINGS ABOUT THIS ONE.
Councilor Leigh Meigs also expressed concern about the traffic study, and especially the impact traffic would have on Animas View Drive South.
MEIGS: I'M NOT GOING TO HIT ANIMAS VIEW DRIVE WITH MORE TRAFFIC. BUT I AM HEARING FROM THE DEVELOPER THAT THEY WILL MITIGATE THAT PROBLEM, THEY'LL DO MORE THAN MITIGATE IT, THEY'LL SOLVE THAT PROBLEM FOR US.
Councilor Doug Lyon disagreed with the others saying he thinks the traffic study is valid.
In the end, council voted 4-1 to approve the preliminary plan for the Iron Horse.
Parsons cast the lone dissenting vote after criticizing fellow councilors.
PARSONS: I THINK THIS PROJECT IS THE KIND OF PROJECT THAT THIS COUNCIL CAMPAIGN WAS ALL ABOUT, AND IT SEEMS LIKE MAYBE THE SEA CHANGE HAS TURNED INTO A ???? TIDE INSTEAD. I WILL VOTE NO.
Iron Horse co-owner, Karen Langhart made an impassioned plea for approval prior to the vote noting they've been working at redeveloping the site for six years.
Afterwards she expressed relief the project was okayed.
LANGHART: WE REALLY APPRECIATED THE THOUGHTFULNESS THAT WENT INTO FROM CITY COUNCIL'S POINT OF VIEW AND AGAIN I'LL REITERATE THAT WE TOOK DIRECTION FROM STAFF, FROM PLANNING COMMISSION, FROM CITY COUNCIL TO ARRIVE AT THE DESIGN WE DID. SO WE'RE VERY HAPPY THAT THEY RECOGNIZE THAT.
Langhart says they hope to be back before council for final approval in the next couple of months, and would like to break ground on what would be called North Animas Village, early next spring.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
© Copyright 2017, ksut