The developer of two six-story hotels on East Second Avenue south of College Drive will have to negotiate with neighbors before excavating with explosives.
The city of Durango notified neighbors Friday the developer of the hotels, Lamont Companies, must come to an agreement directly with residents before using explosives, said Nicol Killian, assistant director of the city’s Community Development Department.
Lamont Companies requested a blasting permit from the city to help excavation for the planned Hampton Inn and Suites hotel and an AC Hotel by Marriott move faster, she said.
The two hotels are expected to have a combined 200 rooms and were originally approved by Durango City Council in 2014.
Residents who share an alley with the planned hotels have concerns blasting could damage the foundations of their historic homes, resident Deb Morgan said.
“The main issue right now is the integrity of our homes,” she said.
The city is requiring that the developer and residents work together directly on an agreement because the city doesn’t have the expertise to provide neighbors with a 100% guarantee that blasting would not cause damage to property, Killian said.
“Our staff is not equipped to answer all those concerns,” she said.
The city is not required to allow blasting, and Killian said she is not aware of other construction projects in the city allowed to use explosives. The company may continue excavation without blasting, she said.
Resident Josh Rosenthal said the city’s requirement was a step in the right direction.
“It’s nice to see the city is looking out for us on this issue,” he said.
Earlier this month, residents sent a list of questions and concerns to the developers asking for details about how their homes would be protected and requesting certain precautions, Morgan said.
Homeowners were nervous about potential damage to their property after a test blast at the site in May, she said.
“Everything in my house shook,” she said.
The residents asked for their homes to be inspected before the blasting by a third party so damage could be detected afterward. A formal emailed response to residents said Lamont Companies would not complete such a survey.
The residents also requested an escrow account that could be used to cover potential damages, Morgan said.
Franklin Drilling and Blasting said in an email an escrow account would not be provided, but damages would be investigated and repaired. The company has never had a damage claim, the letter said.
However, Rosenthal said homes on his block near the hotels are likely fragile because their foundations were built on river rock and in some areas the rocks are not held together by mortar.
“Ultimately, what I would like is for them to continue with normal excavation without blasting,” he said.