Carbondale development activity slowly picking up

John Colson
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE – As the days warm up in the midvalley area, building and planning officials here have reported a modest uptick in activity, as developers appear poised to get back to work now that winter is waning.

“I’d say on the building side we’ve seen a slight uptick,” said Town Administrator Jay Harrington. “On the planning side, it seems to be mostly a matter of projects that match the underlying zoning” and so do not require significant review.

“It’s not exactly a building boom, but it’s better than it was two years ago,” Harrington added.

Town planning director Janet Buck confirmed on Friday that the town has received development review documents, or is expecting them shortly, from the developers of four projects here.

Developer Frieda Wallison of Basalt last week submitted the Master Plat for Thompson Park, where she plans to build up to 45 residential dwelling units along Highway 133 opposite the intersection with Weant Boulevard.

The Master Plat, Buck explained, lays out such predevelopment details as the dedication of public improvements and the assignment of title to the town for the historic Thompson House, as well as such matters as the landscaping plan for the project.

But, Buck added, the actual construction of homes cannot begin until the submission of the plat for Phase I of the project.

Deadline for submission of the Phase I plat, Buck said, is not until March 9, 2017, “but [Wallison] can submit any time she wants to before that.”

Wallison said on Friday that she currently has no firm construction schedule in mind for the project.

Also in the early review process is the sketch plan for the Sopris Center expansion, a redevelopment proposal for approximately five acres on the east side of Highway 133 at Colorado Avenue.

Buck said the planning staff is still reviewing the sketch plan for completion, along with conducting meetings with representatives of the property owner, California endochrinologist Dr. Ron Stein.

Buck said the town is expecting to soon receive a packet of building permit applications concerning the relocation and expansion of the Roaring Fork Family Physicians clinic and office, currently at 1340 Highway 133.

The doctor’s office, which has been at the same location for more than three decades, is moving to another site on Highway 133, between Sopris and Euclid avenues.

The practice has been purchased by Valley View Hospital, and is being expanded as part of the deal between the partners at Roaring Fork Family Physicians and the hospital.

Buck said the doctor’s office does not need to go through normal development review, but will go before the Board of Trustees with a request to vacate certain easements on the site left over from an earlier development effort.

Another expected new development, the Main Street Market project at the old Village at Crystal River property, has yet to be formally submitted to the planning department, Buck said.

Harrington said there are a couple of other applications expected to come into Town Hall soon, including a proposal to finish off the stalled Mountain Sage Townhomes development on Main Street.

Only 14 of the 26 approved residential units were built before the bottom dropped out of the housing market in 2008 and the developer’s bank was seized by federal regulators.

The project was only recently bought out of bankruptcy, Harrington said.

Finally, Harrington said, building official John Plano told Harrington recently that there is a “spec home” project at a location in town.

“We haven’t seen a spec home in forever,” Harrington remarked.