Carbondale denies rezone application
Special to The Aspen Times
Don’t look for houses to sprout up on the former North Face property in Carbondale.
By a 6-1 vote, the trustees denied a rezoning application for the 25-acre Meadowood Ranch residential project, saying they wanted to give the existing business park zoning one last try.
“I have a dream for this property,” said Trustee Fred Williams. “The town should give it a good chance.”
Other trustees said the proposed housing wasn’t affordable, and that free-market affordability couldn’t be guaranteed.
“I appreciate you looking at Carbondale, but I can’t support this project,” said trustee Mark Whalen, addressing his remarks to applicant Arthur Strock.
Strock, a California developer, wanted to build 258 housing units on Highway 133 south of the fire station, ranging in price from $106,000 to $329,000, and in size from 750 to 1,400 square feet.
Under the town’s new inclusionary housing ordinance, 39 units (15 percent), would be deed-restricted to keep them priced below market value on subsequent sales, to help create long-term affordable housing.
Williams referred to his daughter and son-in-law, and said affordable for them would be $100,000 or less. “This isn’t affordable,” he said.
Facing projected budget deficits starting next year, Carbondale is in the early stages of an economic development push to create more tax revenues and higher paying jobs.
Strock told the trustees the town needs affordable housing for economic development, so employers can hire and retain local workers.
Williams said he preferred to save the land for the town’s new economic development director to use in his or her “bag of tools.”
Trustee Susie Darrow agreed. “I can’t give up on it yet,” she said of the potential for commercial development.
Trustee Andrew Montoya cast the dissenting vote, and argued long and hard for the rezoning.
“You’re not going to have economic development without housing,” Montoya told the other trustees. “This balances what we are trying to do with economic development.”
After the vote, Strock said everyone treated him courteously, and that’s all he could ask. “I wish your town the best,” he said.
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