Carbondale fine as is | AspenTimes.com

Carbondale fine as is

Dear Editor:

Why I will vote “no” on the Village at Crystal River referendum:

Having followed much of the process that got Carbondale to this point, there is no question in my mind that I must vote against the current plan for the Village when it comes to a vote. In a nutshell, here are some of my reasons:

1. The performance improvement fee (PIF) is a tax to pay for the estimated $2.3 million to $2.4 million for public improvements such as traffic circles to mitigate the impact of the mall on Highway 133 traffic. It is a regressive tax. The tax (on groceries) will be a burden for an estimated 23 years on the members of our community who can least afford it.

2. We do not need more housing and commercial space in Carbondale. I see no need for another bank, City Market or a restaurant with drive-through as proposed by the developer. I am satisfied with the current City Market. I can find most groceries that I want at the current City Market and it is easy to get quickly in and out if you are in a hurry (not true for the one in El Jebel). I am strongly opposed to any more fast food franchises in Carbondale. By the way, how does a drive-through comport with Carbondale’s vehicle idling ordinance?

3. The current Village plan does not fit with the ideals of Carbondale regarding sustainability, small town character, diversity, etc.

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4. Whatever economic stimulation and jobs this project will create are largely fleeting and illusory. How many additional, permanent jobs will result from moving the City Market across the street?

5. I have seen too many communities where the downtown core has suffered as a result of the development of malls on the periphery of the downtown. I am concerned that the same could happen here.

6. I don’t trust the developer. He has threatened to sue Carbondale if he doesn’t get his way. This seems to be a desperate position to take. I’m sure he will lose a lot of money if this development doesn’t move forward and he has to sell the property at a loss. But in these hard economic times, how many Americans have not lost money on their investments? Much of the plan is “to be determined,” which suggests to me that the developer doesn’t have a clue how he will be able to eventually complete the project.

7. This will be a “sea change” for our lovely, small community. Is it really in our best interest to compete with Glenwood Springs and El Jebel? Why should we want to become like them? Carbondale is unique. We should keep it that way. I believe that the same tired, old-fashioned model of building yet another mall, in the long run, will not enhance our social or economic well-being.

Steve Hessl

Carbondale