Carbondale P&Z takes up Overlook proposal
December 18, 2008
CARBONDALE The proposed Overlook Neighborhood is back before the Carbondale Planning & Zoning Commission for a fifth time on Thursday as part of an ongoing preliminary public hearing on the project.The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Carbondale Town Hall, 511 Colorado Ave.The project calls for between 169 and 221 smaller-scale residences, 40,000 square feet of new commercial space, and a possible 50-room hotel on the 12.9-acre former Mine Services property north of Town Hall between Merrill Avenue and the Rio Grande Trail. If the hotel is not built, additional multi-family residential units would likely be built.Project developer Cdale, LCC, represented by manager John Foulkrod, is asking for high-density residential zoning for the property, which would allow between 16-18 units per gross acre. That would be roughly equivalent to the Carbondale South Condominiums, located between Carbondale Middle School and the firehouse.The project also calls for narrower streets than what are typically allowed, a variance for building heights of up 56 feet, rather than the 35 feet spelled out in town code, and a reduction in the usual open space requirement.The P&Z previously agreed to reduce the common open space requirement and reduce the parking mitigation in favor of a higher density, close to downtown, near to transit, pedestrian friendly new urbanism development, town planning consultant James Knowlton points out in a staff report that was to be the basis for Thursdays continued Overlook discusssion.Density also has economic, social and environmental implications which are important to consider, Knowlton continued. Density is not a panacea for modern land use planning annd a vigorous conversation is important to understand both the advantages and disadvantages of high density, infill projects.On the plus side, he noted, Infill development can increase opportunities for neighborhood interaction and community cohesion. More people add vitality and diversity to a community.The other side of this social component is more people strain existing community resources such as schools and parks. More people mean more rules and regulations, Knowlton wrote in his report.P&Z could make a recommendation to the Carbondale Board of Trustees on the Overlook proposal as early as Thursday’s meeting, or continue the hearing until January.