Carbondale ‘road map’ brings groups together
Consensus has come a long way in Carbondale.So far, in fact, that on Friday, developer Brian Huster will sit down with some of the people who adamantly opposed and helped defeat his Crystal River Marketplace proposal in 2003 after a divisive campaign.Huster’s former opponents, a loose-knit association known as the Town Mothers, are members of a group that has created a town blueprint called the Economic Development and Sustainability Plan.The plan took 15 months and $100,000 in town funds to create. Groups such as the Town Mothers and those who were in favor of the Marketplace came together to try to forge an agreement on sustainable growth.The economic road map is 61 pages, plus another 74 pages of analysis by Economic & Planning Systems, a consulting firm. It spells out everything from a town vision to new design rules and potential caps on development sizes to prevent big-box retailers. It also includes raising property taxes and some fees temporarily.”It is not necessarily beneficial to accept whatever comes along. It must be consistent with a real community vision,” says one part of the introduction to the development and sustainability plan.The proposed building caps would limit new structures to a 30,000-square-foot footprint and 60,000 total square feet. Anything in excess of that would have to meet environmental and economic sustainability criteria. Environmental considerations would include energy efficiency, stormwater and exterior lighting. Economic considerations would include whether the building would offer competitive wages, whether it offers goods and general merchandise, and whether the business would support local products and services.Town trustees got their first look at the plan last month and have discussed it at regular meetings since. Trustees will eventually decide whether to adopt some or all of the plan, which lists 13 points of agreement and recommendations.The economic road map group said it “believes that it is crucial that our community retains its small-town character.” In coming to its conclusions, the group met with more than 250 people.”Community members spoke over and over about Carbondale’s unique strengths: character, diversity, arts, recreation opportunities, natural environment and alternative energy, health care, nonprofits and downtown,” the plan says.Friday’s meeting is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Carbondale Town Hall. Home Depot representatives will make a presentation at another meeting in a few weeks.
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It’s that time of year — hikers and mountain bikers must be aware that seasonal closures are taking effect on multiple trails in the area today for the winter for the benefit of wildlife.