Gunnison approves composites facility that could employ 200
By Robert Stevens
GUNNISON—Plans for growth and development dominated the discussion at the last Gunnison City Council meeting.
There are plans to open a large business in the industrial park as well as a proposal to construct a 20-unit apartment complex in the city beginning in April.
At the Thursday, Feb. 4 regular council meeting, Jeremy Taylor and Jimmy Seear were present in person and via Zoom, respectively, seeking a conditional use permit for a building for Future Comp, a company specializing in composite technologies.
According to Gunnison Mayor Lori Nay as well as plans presented at the council meeting, the building would be 100,000 square feet and would initially accommodate 50 workers, with the potential to expand to 200 employees.
The council asked Taylor and Seear about plans for access, because currently the only access is Cemetery Road. The representatives from Future Comp told the council there was a plan in the works to put in a road to the east of the building, and they would be working with UDOT to have the road run directly to U.S. 89.
Gunnison City Councilman Shawn Crane asked if the proposed road would be turned over to the city for general use to access the industrial park. But Taylor and Seear declined to commit at this time.
Nay suggested that Gunnison City and Future Comp consider working together toward a Community Development and Renewal Agency (CDRA) that would facilitate the development of roads serving the industrial park area.
“I would like to formally say that developing that road is a big deal for us,” Nay said. “That Cemetery Road handling all that traffic, as we are looking to grow, is a big expense for us because we know it’s got to be expanded. Developing that other road would be huge, and we are really encouraging you to do that.”
Councilman Rod Taylor said he had gone over the conditional use permit and found the plans for sewer and water to be in good order.
Future Comp is paying for the cost of the meters and installation, as well as the cost to run the lines to the building. Taylor and Seear requested an exemption to hook up only culinary water and forgo pressurized irrigation, which was approved.
The cost to the company for water and sewer impact fees was $18,607.60. The council unanimously approved the conditional use permit for Future Comp to build and open in the city industrial park.
“This is a great conversation to have,” Nay said. “It’s a very exciting plan and we look forward to working with you.”
Housing development was also central to the Feb. 4 council meeting. Local landlord Martha Larsen appeared to discuss her newest project, a 20-unit, affordable apartment complex that will be known as Valley West Apartments. Larsen currently owns and operates the Foxwood Apartments in Gunnison.
“Look at the need for housing in Gunnison right now,” Larsen told the council. “I have over 15 on my waiting list for apartments right now. I also have a couple tenants who would be perfect to move over to these apartments when they’re done.”
According to Larsen, the apartments would be available to rent at the cost of $380-$750 per month, and to qualify, applicants must prove they have steady income and pass a criminal background check.
As the council went over building plans for the new complex, it was discovered that the center building (out of three total) was 3 feet shy of meeting the 20-foot setback requirement. The council informed Larsen the setback would have to be compliant for her conditional use permit to be approved.
In addition to the correct setback, Larsen also needed to pay for meters and water lines running to the complex, and obtain four water shares.
Because pressurized irrigation had never been run to the property before, a pressurized irrigation assessment fee of $2,625 was required.
Finally, the impact fees for water and sewer would cost $74,430.40, which must be paid by April 30. The council agreed to approve the conditional use permit if all these requirements were met on time.
Concerns were raised by the council and mayor about the condition of the Foxwood Apartments.
“I think that we need this housing really badly, but I want to say a few things about the current apartments [Foxwood]” Councilmember Stella Hill said. “I have a friend who lives there and her apartment is well taken care of and is nice and everything, but I am hoping we can work on the outside appearance of the apartments a little bit.”
Larsen told Hill the Foxwood Apartments had more than 20 children living there, and it can be very hard to keep the place looking tidy. She said her son, Nicholas, would be managing the new apartments and would be onsite two to three days out of the week to address property maintenance.
“I was really glad to see a lot of landscaping on this plan,” Nay said. “Sometimes people include it on their plan and don’t follow through with it so I would just like to say on the record that I would like to see this happen like you have here.”