A proposed subdivision that has raised some controversy near Florida Road and Colorado Avenue won over city officials this week.
A few Durango city councilors praised the courtyard design of the subdivision on Jameson Drive and the alternative it offers to homes that face the street or a parking lot.
“I think it will be a popular place to live,” Mayor Sweetie Marbury said.
It also fills a need for housing within the city, she said. The city’s recently approved housing plan calls for increasing housing density and reducing parking standards as key strategies to address the city’s housing shortage.
The small subdivision, called Jameson Court, is planned to be built on the former Puckett Electric property. The 10 homes will be accessed via two shared driveways behind the structures.
Durango City Council approved the project 4-1 Tuesday after hearing from neighbors who are concerned about the traffic and parking problems the new homes could cause. It was the council’s final vote on the project.
Marbury praised the changes developers made to the project after it was initially denied by Durango Planning Commission. The developers eliminated the right for two homeowners to add apartments to their homes and added one on-street parking space.
“They have really listened to the neighbors,” Marbury said.
Councilor Dean Brookie voted against the project, saying it would add too many homes to a narrow street that does not meet city standards.
“This is a pocket neighborhood accessed essentially through a pocket neighborhood, at the detriment of that first pocket neighborhood,” he said.
Developer Dan Smith said he developed student housing projects in California that incorporated the courtyard design, and it provided a place for them to meet, socialize and study.
“Pocket neighborhoods like this one are an attempt to bring people together,” he said.
The new development is a call back to designs from the 1920s and 1930s that faded with the onset of suburban sprawl, he said.
Jameson Drive resident Blake Fredrickson said he is concerned too many homes were planned for the lot, and he disagreed with the developer’s prediction it would promote community.
“It is difficult to feel comfortable in a space that is watched 24/7 at very close range by your immediate neighbors,” he said.
Other residents said they are concerned parking in the subdivision will not be sufficient. The developer plans to write into the homeowners’ association covenants that residents must park in their garages, but neighbors said they do not think those rules will be enforced.