On Tuesday, Aug. 27, Paonia resident Lynn Mattingly’s plans for a development on Clark Avenue in Paonia were rejected by the Paonia Town Council by a 4-2 vote. Mattingly’s proposal was to turn the end of Clark Avenue into a cul-de-sac surrounded by lots that would allow for six “modest residences,” with a separate lot for a single-family unit. This rejection followed four hearings on the subject by Paonia town council and the Paonia Planning Commission.
Mattingly’s plan was mainly rejected for a lack of clarity on the project, most glaringly the fact that there were no contractors involved, meaning there were no real blueprints for the seven proposed homes. Both Mayor Pro-Tem Chelsea Bookout and Trustee Karen Budinger said they would have liked to have seen more complete plans, and other trustees indicated the desire for more of a plan as well, though Budinger stated she liked the idea of the cul-de-sac.
“The cul-de-sac to me looks like a Godsend for anybody living on Clark,” Budinger said.
In the absence of blueprints, Mattingly brought up Homeowners Association, or HOA, policies that would require each home to have at least three parking spaces. This requirement was not backed by any sort of enforcement for the parking spaces being used, and members of the public raised concerns about more frequent on-street parking on the narrow street.
Also, on the chance that all parking spaces were to be filled, the plan included no additional parking spots, while no parking was to be allowed around the edge of the cul-de-sac. This caused concern that the amount of street parking along Clark Avenue would increase, coupled with an increase of traffic on the street due to the extra housing. Clark Avenue is narrow enough that vehicles are limited to one direction at a time when cars are parked on the street.
“It seems to put a lot of congestion down at the end of a one-way street,” trustee William Bear said. “If there were fewer units, it would be a great project.”
Multiple members of the board and public stated that Clark was currently “a mess,” due to the unpaved condition and the amount of potholes, and that the project would only make it more of a mess because of the likely increase in street-parking and traffic. In the event of a road going all the way through to Colorado Avenue, Clark Avenue would essentially stop being a neighborhood and start being a heavily trafficked road.
“I agree that development in town in a responsible way is a necessary thing and I don’t doubt the integrity of the applicant,” Bookout said. “But I do question the continuity of the entire project and the potential integrity of the developers, that we have yet to know who they are, when that will happen, what they will design, how it will fall into place… To me, that amount of questions is hanging out there, yet to be determined.”