Carbondale to get new City Market, fuel station
Carbondale trustees approved a subdivision for a new City Market and fuel station just north across Main Street from the existing grocery store. And many Carbondalians support the move to keep tax dollars flowing into town.
The construction start date is still a little fuzzy, said Joe Schiel, project manager for Galloway and Co., but work could begin as soon as late summer. Construction on the grocery store is expected to last nine to 10 months, he said.
Many of Carbondale’s City Market shoppers Thursday morning supported getting a new store. Otherwise, they feared, Kroger — City Market’s owner and the nation’s largest grocery chain — would take the new store, and tax dollars that come with it, elsewhere.
Randy Vanderhurst, a former Carbondale mayor, said he was in town government during discussion of a previous, failed plan for the property, and he supported City Market’s first proposals.
Carbondale is reliant upon sales tax, and even the current City Market is the town’s biggest sales tax producer, he said.
Trustees as well were concerned about tax leakage. Already shoppers go to out-of-town stores, such as in El Jebel, when they could be spending in Carbondale, said Mayor Stacey Bernot.
What would be even worse is to have the new City Market decide to build at a proposed development at Cattle Creek, said Trustee Frosty Merriott.
Vanderhurst said Kroger has used the threat of taking its store elsewhere “like a sledgehammer” for years in negotiations with the town.
Allan Bomersback, a City Market shopper, said he’s not generally in favor of big development, but the town is in a position of either approving the project or losing a great deal of revenue.
The trustees’ approval included a special use permit for a fuel station on the eastern side of the property next to Highway 133. That should have a substantial impact on gas prices, which run 20 to 30 cents a gallon higher than Glenwood Springs’ lowest prices. When a City Market fuel station opened in 2014 in Rifle, fuel prices dropped 20 cents a gallon overnight.
The town needs a new, bigger grocery store due to the area’s population growth alone, said Diane Bauldridge. But, she noted, City Market gas stations tend to offer prices so low it could put local gas stations out of business.
Bob Greybar from Redstone said it’s “about time” Carbondale got a new City Market, considering the town is trailing behind Rifle and El Jebel in adding grocery stores.
His wife, Anita Greybar, looked forward to the bigger selection the larger store will bring, not to mention aisles that aren’t so cramped.
And having the gas station means that local shoppers won’t have to travel out of town to redeem gas points that City Market awards for shopping at the store.
The new building will be just under 60,000 square feet, compared with the 44,000 square feet of the current City Market.
A retail store will be adjacent to the grocery store to the north, but it may be constructed on a different time line. The approval allows Crystal River Marketplace, the owner, two years to construct the retail building if it doesn’t go up at the same time as the grocery store. The owner can also ask for a one-year extension past that date.
The owner doesn’t yet know what businesses might be in the retail building.
The project architect, Mark Breetz, has called the planned City Market one of the greenest grocery stores Kroger has ever built.
The entire store will have a system monitoring its energy use, which Breetz suggested locating in a highly visible place like a public seating area.
The application also includes plans for energy and resource conservation systems for the building’s lighting, HVAC, refrigeration, plumbing and irrigation.
The developer is also looking into using off-site solar power, though several trustees were pushing for rooftop solar or solar in the parking lot. But a more costly grade of steel would be necessary to support the weight of solar panels, said Breetz.
Marty Treadway of the Community Office for Resource Efficiency suggested working with the developer on using locally produced renewable energy, and the planners agreed to meet with him later.
Trustees have been pushing for a crosswalk spanning the highway north of the Main Street roundabout, pedestrian access issues being a primary concern for the board.
But the crosswalk will have to wait until after the grocery store is built.
Town Manager Jay Harrington said a crosswalk would need approval from the Colorado Department of Transportation, which will require a traffic study.
Before the application got to the Board of Trustees, planning commissioners pushed to make more room for Pabst Way, the trail that will run north and south on the west side of the building. The site plan includes pedestrian and bike connectivity to the store, including paths between parking lots to minimize the areas where pedestrians must cross the path of vehicles, said Carl Schmidtlein of Galloway Planning.
TREES AND WATER
Pushing the building east also opened up space for more vegetation along Pabst Way. The application initially envisioned about 70 trees across the property, but to meet the town’s requirements the plans now have 128, he said.
Bioswales will be installed throughout the parking lot to funnel rainwater into a water quality pond at the northwest corner of the property, and native plants on the property will conserve water. Bike racks will be spread across the front of the building, and the southern parking lot will include an electric car charging station.
Also at the request of the planning commission, the back of the grocery store was redesigned for a “four-sided” look, adding more windows, rear corner towers, brick treatment and vegetation, said Breetz.
Some trustees wanted Kroger to support a local coffee shop instead of putting a Starbucks in the store. Trustee Katrina Byars said the Starbucks has the potential to shut down Carbondale’s local coffee shops.
But Kroger has a national agreement with Starbucks for any new grocery store to include a corporate coffee shop, said Breetz.
Communities have applied for exceptions to this rule, but Breetz said he only knew of one out of a dozen requests across the country that has been successful.
Trustees also want a bus stop servicing the new store and surrounding area on Hendrick Drive, but Bernot has said the town will have to negotiate that with Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, which wants the stop on Highway 133.
Trustees will still have to approve an ordinance for the subdivision and a subdivision improvements agreement during their regular meeting March 16. Crystal River Marketplace will also have to apply for a building permit.
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