Town-owned lands likely to be annexed into Carbondale | AspenTimes.com

Town-owned lands likely to be annexed into Carbondale

John Colson
Post Independent
Aspen, CO Colorado

Jury Jerome/Post IndependentThe town of Carbondale is preparing to annex the Mount Sopris RV Park, in the foreground, and may consider annexing some commercial properties along the west side of Highway 133, at left, beyond the river, if property owners are willing.

CARBONDALE – Town boundaries are likely to expand somewhat to the north in the near future, as the Carbondale Board of Trustees prepares to annex two town-owned properties adjacent to the intersection of Highways 133 and 82.

It appears likely that the town will soon annex the properties known as Gateway Park, just west of the Highway 133 bridge and on the north bank of the Roaring Fork River, and the vacant land on the east of the highway and north of the river, known as the Soderberg property.

Both properties have been acquired by the town but remain outside the town limits.

But the trustees are leaning away from a proposal to unilaterally annex commercial properties along the west side of Highway 133.

“I’m not in favor of forcing people,” said Mayor Stacey Bernot at a trustees work session Tuesday, referring to the idea that the town could annex commercial properties against the owners’ wishes.

The commercial properties being discussed include the Red Rock Diner, Thunder River Lodge, Garcia’s Mexican restaurant and store, and the Cara Blanca tire shop, among others.

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The only business owner to speak up at the meeting, Bob Olenick of the Red Rock Diner, said he opposes annexation because of the cost of hooking up to town water and sewer services.

“As a business owner, if I all of a sudden have to pay tap fees, in the economy right now, it’s a burden,” Olenick told the trustees. But a decision on annexing the diner property would be up to the property owner, the Robert and Susan Fattor Trust, he added.

Trustee John Foulkrod said the commercial properties represent “loopholes” in the municipal boundary. More than one trustee mentioned the potential tax revenues represented by the businesses there.

The trustees also talked about the Mountain Valley Mobile Home Park, to the west behind the commercial properties, but only in passing.

Engineer Chris Lehrman, of the Schmueser Gordon Meyer engineering firm, said he had not been instructed to include the trailer park in his assessment of the annexation situation, and had little information to provide to the trustees.

“The police department was not in favor of us annexing the mobile home park, anytime,” Bernot noted.

But all the properties in question, including the trailer park, “for all intents and purposes … are part of Carbondale, but they do not contribute to the sales tax base of the town,” Foulkrod said.

He suggested there may be ways to get around the burden of paying tap fees, such as by using sales tax revenues of annexed commercial properties to pay off the tap fees.

“As for the trailer park, I mean, we take care of the trailer park” with police and fire protection services, he continued.

But others on the board did not agree.

Trustee Ed Cortez said the town should explore the annexation idea with the property owners and businesses involved, before making any move to annex unilaterally. His fellow trustees generally agreed.

jcolson@postindependent.com

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