Commission approves zoning change for Island Cove
The Durango Planning Commission unanimously approved a change in the zoning of the Island Cove property

Commission approves zoning change for Island Cove

The Island Cove mobile home park is safe for now. The property's new owner plans to build townhomes on a hill next to the park but has no immediate plans for the park./ Photo by Jennaye Derge

Tracy Chamberlin - 12/07/2017

It’s the first step. Plenty of meetings and presentations still stand between re-zoning and actual construction of three town-homes on a property adjacent to the Island Cove mobile home park. But the park’s property owner can now take those next steps.

On Monday, the Durango Planning Commission unanimously approved a change in the zoning of the Island Cove property.

The specific decision before the Planning Commission was to rezone a section on the eastern side of the property. Under current zoning, it’s split between medium and low-density residential, while the bulk of the property is listed as high density.

The idea is to consolidate the medium density into the high density area, and rezone the low density to medium. The property owner also asked for a minor boundary adjustment. These changes would allow the owner to build three townhomes on a hill – referred to as the upper bench – sitting between Island Cove and Animas Place in the Riverview neighborhood.

Following a public meeting in early November, nearby residents raised concerns about the impact the townhomes and the driveway would have on traffic and the surrounding neighborhood. The proposed driveway to the townhomes would connect to Riverview Drive, in the same location where a trail currently cuts between Christ the King Lutheran Church and single family homes along Animas Place.

During the meeting Monday, city staff said the trail, and therefore access to the open space it leads to, would have to remain even if development moved forward.

Specific designs for the townhomes and driveway will need to go through additional review and approval by the city. 

Also, there are no plans to redevelop the mobile home park or displace its current residents.

In fact, the property owner’s agent, Cynthia Roebuck, who spoke at the commission meeting, said by being able to develop the upper bench, the property owner wouldn’t feel the pressure to do something on the entire property.

“So, really, this is a great step forward,” she said. “(It) allows him to do something with the parcel, to get some kind of return, and not feel pressured to develop everything at once.”

The Island Cove property came up for sale in June 2015 after its previous owner passed away. Almost immediately, concerns were raised about the future of the mobile home park and its residents. For many, Island Cove is a rare find in Durango – in-town affordable housing.

One of the reasons city staff gave for approval of the rezoning and boundary adjustment, which paves the way for construction of the townhomes, was the need for more such housing.

A public hearing on the issue will take place at City Council’s Dec. 19 meeting.