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Potential REI site layout approved with conditions

Durango Design Review Board to discuss sporting good store’s building plans
Architectural rendering of what the “unnamed sports store” will look like from its southwest parking lot. The project’s building design will go before the city’s design review board on April 12. (Courtesy of Hillside Architects)

The “unnamed sporting goods” store that many say is a Recreation Equipment Inc. has taken another step forward in the development process.

The Durango Planning Commission has conditionally approved the site layout for the sporting goods store.

The store proposal calls for a 22,000-square-foot building on 2.3 acres at Turner Drive and U.S. Highway 550. The Coca-Cola facility and Homewood Suites by Hilton are to the north of the property, and Morehart Murphy Auto Center is to the south.

While there has been no formal announcement that the property on Turner Drive will be an REI, it has been strongly inferred from evidence that includes being mentioned by name in a Jan. 11 city design review board meeting.

Another indicator is a quote from the Community Development Department’s staff report on the site layout:

“While the specific retailer has been unnamed by the applicant, aspects of the proposal (including the title of the retaining wall plans) provide strong evidence that the retailer is Recreational Equipment, Inc.,” the report says.

Furthermore, the Local First Foundation held a meeting in March to discuss the local business impact of an REI coming to Durango, and many of the building’s design features resemble other REI stores.

One of the conditions of approval from the planning commission was a traffic impact study for the development. If the study shows that the project will increase traffic along Turner Drive by 20%, a Colorado Department of Transportation access permit may be required.

City Planner Dan Armentano said in the meeting that the community development department was not anticipating a need for a CDOT access permit.

Armentano later said if there is need for a CDOT access permit that it could trigger improvements along the frontage road near Turner Drive. He did not specify what those improvements would be but said they are likely to be minimal.

Another condition was that the applicant update the building’s design to align with the standards outlined in the Land Use and Development Code and the Commercial Design Guide as determined by the Design Review Board.

The concerns for the building design came during the Jan. 11 design review board meeting where the board advised the applicants to include a corner feature to the building. Armentano said that could be anything from an awning to windows in order to fall in line with the city’s Land Use and Development Code.

“If we’re looking at it from either the street, especially the street, and then the parking lot as well, we want to have a clearly identifiable entrance to the building,” Armentano said.

The building’s early design only offers an identifiable entrance from the parking lot and not the street. The code recommends a design that makes the building identifiable from the street.

Another condition was that the applicant had to submit a review of the proposed stormwater infrastructure and drainage report as well as obtain a city stormwater permit.

Armentano said based on the constraints of the sight and the size of the development, the applicant does not have the ability to store all of its stormwater detention above ground, which calls for an underground stormwater detention facility.

In order to do this, the applicant requires administrative variance from the community development engineering division, which has been conditionally approved.

“It looks like that’s going to be an acceptable feature once they get us a little bit more information,” he said.

With the approval of the site layout, the building design will go before the city’s design review board. If the building design is approved, it will be put in front of community development staff for a final submittal review.

The Durango Herald emailed REI’s public relations department for comment but did not receive a response. In January, REI spokeswoman Meghan Behrman told the Herald REI had not made an announcement about a Durango location.


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