Attorney on both sides of the fight | AspenTimes.com
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Attorney on both sides of the fight

Jon Klusmire

Attorney David Myler says he’s comfortable fighting for development on the Park East property in Glenwood Springs while simultaneously working to keep the Cattle Creek Crossing project from getting off the ground.Myler said the two projects are so fundamentally different that he won’t feel strange working to defeat Cattle Creek while continuing with efforts to get some sort of project completed at Park East.Myler and James Kent were recently retained by the Roaring Crystal Alliance to work with the citizens’ group to derail George Hanlon’s second attempt to develop Cattle Creek Crossing, a planned residential and commercial project located adjacent to Aspen Glen in Garfield County.In addition, Myler has been working with Chaffin/Light Properties LLC, on the Park East project, located next to the municipal airport in Glenwood Springs. The firm’s first effort at Park East, which called for 94 single-family lots and 18 duplex lots, was recently rejected by the Glenwood P&Z, a ruling upheld by the City Council.The biggest difference between the two projects is that Park East “is an in-fill housing project” located in an existing town, Myler said. And despite the recent rejection from the city, “something is going to be built there.”On the other hand, initial indications are that Cattle Creek Crossing will contain up to 350,000 square feet of commercial zoning to complement about 500 homes. Hanlon hasn’t submitted a formal plan to Garfield County for the project, but has been meeting with neighbors and other focus groups about the plan. Cattle Creek a `new town’ “Commercial development, especially on that scale, should be located in existing towns,” said Myler, of the Cattle Creek plan.Creating “a new town” in between existing towns is a classic example of unnecessary sprawl development, he said.The potential negative impacts of approving that much commercial development at Cattle Creek, Myler said, is what made him decide the project isn’t just a bit of bad planning, but could potentially stifle commercial growth in existing towns.Carbondale, to cite one example, has ample room downtown and along Highway 133 for additional commercial projects, noted Myler. But attracting developers and businesses to Carbondale would be more complicated, and involve much more risk, if there is the possibility that similar businesses, or larger ones, could crop up at Cattle Creek, he said.”That much commercial at Cattle Creek would squash the market” for commercial development, Myler said, adding he doubted there is enough demand to justify another substantial chunk of commercial land in the valley.”Even 100,000 square feet of commercial is enormous,” said Myler, adding that 100,000 square feet of commercial development “is even too much to be considered a ‘neighborhood commercial’ zone to support the residential component of the project.” `Merit’ in Park East With about 20 years of experience working on housing projects, in both the private and public sectors, Myler is on firmer ground when it comes to Park East.He said the strictly residential project “had some merit” as a way to provide more free-market homes to meet the growing demand for housing in Glenwood Springs. He said the initial plan was geared to keeping home prices down by keeping lot sizes small, thus allowing for more homes at lower prices.He stressed he isn’t a planner, just a lawyer, so the layout and design of the project, which drew considerable criticism, wasn’t all his doing.Nonetheless, Myler said Chaffin/Light Properties hasn’t given up on developing the property.He said the team got the message “loud and clear” that the development can’t encroach on the existing hillside preservation zone, and that the community will closely scrutinize any development on the parcel, which is visible from Highway 82.The group will be back with a new proposal, Myler said.”We’ll probably erase everything and start with a clean sheet of paper,” Myler said, “and try to figure out what might work on that parcel.”Initial indications are that the project will be scaled back, but Myler noted that by reducing the number of homes or density on the project could mean building a project containing higher-priced homes.He didn’t mention any time frame for completion of the new design for Park East.


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