Carbondale trustees want fewer houses in ‘Village’ plan
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE – While town trustees disagree with the developer of the proposed Village at Crystal River project on the number of houses that should be allowed, the plan got a parting endorsement from outgoing mayor Michael Hassig Tuesday night.
“Having sat through the first application, I would encourage this board, in the weeks and months that follow, to assiduously work toward solving these issues,” said Hassig, who is term-limited and will be stepping down from the mayor’s seat after the April 6 election.
The public hearing on the Village at Crystal River Planned Unit Development (PUD) was continued until April 27, when Carbondale will have a new mayor and at least one new trustee.
Current trustees Ed Cortez and Stacey Patch Bernot are vying for the mayor’s seat, while three candidates, incumbents John Foulkrod and Frosty Merriott and newcomer Elizabeth Murphy, are running unopposed for three trustee seats.
The developer of the Village proposal, Rich Schierburg of Denver-based Peregrine Group Development, had lobbied for the Carbondale Board of Trustees to make a decision on his Planned Unit Development (PUD) application before the election in order to avoid having the issue become too politicized.
Hassig urged his fellow town board members who will continue the debate to not let a good deal slip away.
“You won’t encounter a better applicant, and somebody who has demonstrated a willingness to listen, who has shown an extraordinary amount of patience and who continues to respond positively to the suggestions that this board makes,” Hassig said. “I despair at losing an opportunity for something I think is worthwhile to the death of a thousand cuts.”
Hassig also referred back several years to his involvement with the former plan for the 24-acre development site on Highway 133 known as the Crystal River Marketplace.
That plan, which called for a big-box style commercial development, was shot down in a highly contentious citizen referendum election in 2003.
Now, Schierburg is proposing a mix of 125,000 square feet of commercial dispersed between several buildings, including a new grocery store, plus 16,000 square feet of office space and up to 268 residential units in his PUD zoning request.
Some trustees, while mostly favorable to the rezoning plan, are concerned about losing too much commercial zoning to residential, and have asked that the number of residential units be whittled down to around 160.
Another concern is a proposal for two four-story buildings that could end up being entirely residential. Town planning staff has recommended that commercial uses be required on the ground floor, with the opportunity to rezone for residential use after a period of time if commercial demand doesn’t exist.
“If I can attract more commercial, that’s exactly what I’m going to do,” said Schierburg, who will be relying on a public improvement fee on retail users to pay for a variety of on- and off-site infrastructure.
“This thing does have to make financial sense,” he said. “We can micromanage it to the point that it doesn’t make financial sense at all.”
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