Carbondale trustees to voice their desires for Marketplace development |

Carbondale trustees to voice their desires for Marketplace development

Gina Guarascio
Carbondale correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE ” After more than 18 months of discussion, Carbondale trustees say they will go on record with what they would prefer to see on the much-debated Crystal River Marketplace property.

The town trustees have spent the last few weeks going over the two options that have emerged from a lengthy design charrette process. The process was meant to save time, money, heartache and headaches. But, both the town and the developer have spent a considerable amount of time and money and a formal land-use application is still some time off.

Trustees indicated on Tuesday, however, that they will decide next week if they “prefer” the flex zone option for the 24-acre site or the Home Depot option. The board’s decision is not binding for developer for Rich Schierburg, though he said he plans to pursue the development option the trustees say they prefer.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, at Carbondale Town Hall.

“At some point we have to make a recommendation or a preference,” said Mayor Michael Hassig, who added that the process shouldn’t “drag on” any longer. He said he expected there would be some sort of straw poll or informal vote next Wednesday to determine the board’s preference.

The trustees have been careful not to pre-judge the proposed developments before a formal land-use application has been submitted.

The board, albeit probably a different board, will make the final decision on the formal application.

Both plans for the property have similar qualities on the north and south end. The conceptual plans show a 60,000-square-foot grocery store on the north side, about 38,000 square feet of auxiliary commercial space bordering Highway 133 and housing or mixed-use development on the south side.

In the flex zone plan, the middle seven or so acres could be developed in several different ways. Possibilities include one or two junior anchors ” national chain stores of 15,000 to 30,000 square feet; housing and mixed-use buildings; a hotel along with mixed-use buildings and residential units; or any other combination of commercial and residential that is at least 25 percent commercial.

The Home Depot option would substitute the flexible zoning area with one big retailer. The pros and cons of the two developments were debated at two separate meetings this month. The flex zone option fits in more with the character of Carbondale, said Town Manager Tom Baker. But, the Home Depot option will bring the town more revenue ” a projected $1.7 million annually versus about $1 million for the flex zone option.

After Tuesday’s meeting, Home Depot representative James Spitzer said the company is still very interested in Carbondale and would like to work with Schierburg. Spitzer said he knows it will be difficult to do business in Carbondale because of the high cost of living for the 100 to 130 employees the store would generate. He said the company has dealt with similar situations in other resort areas like Vail.

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