Carbondale weighs in on Cattle Creek development |

Carbondale weighs in on Cattle Creek development

John StroudPost Independent Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE – Carbondale trustees are joining their Glenwood Springs counterparts in asking for a cooperative approach with Garfield County on the latest plan to develop part of the controversial Cattle Creek property, now known as River Edge.The trustees “encourage and recommend that an inter-governmental agreement be developed to allow for more collaboration with Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Garfield County on how the Cattle Creek area may be developed in the future,” the town board suggested in a letter to county planning commission members and county commissioners.”Since it is unlikely that the IGA can be agreed upon quickly,” the letter acknowledges, “the board asks that the county make time during the River Edge land-use process to allow an opportunity for cooperation.”Several concerns, both from the Carbondale Planning and Zoning Commission and trustees themselves, were discussed by the Town Board on June 28. Those concerns were outlined in a letter, which was approved by the Carbondale board Tuesday night.River Edge, proposed by property owners Carbondale Investments LLC, calls for 366 single- and multi-family residential units on 160 acres of the larger 280-acre site. It’s located across Highway 82 from the Cattle Creek Road intersection. The proposal goes before the Garfield County Planning Commission on July 13.Carbondale and Glenwood Springs were given the opportunity to offer comments on the plan. Even though the area lies outside the three-mile area of influence for both towns, each has asked for a formal IGA.Among the concerns is the fact that the new proposal leaves open the question of what will happen to the remaining 120 acres, which is subdivided into separate parcels.The current plan itself does not call for any large-scale retail commercial development. However, past development plans for the site did include a substantial commercial component, prompting objections from the two nearby municipalities.”A development plan for the entire site will need to be reviewed, not just this one parcel, as each of the three parcels will affect the surrounding areas,” the Carbondale letter states.The town’s P&Z, in its comments to the Town Board, noted that the other two parcels could result in an additional 500 to 600 residential units.”The impact of the potential development needs to be considered in a cumulative manner, rather than taking a piecemeal approach,” the P&Z letter said. “It would be difficult to endorse anything for this parcel unless there is a master plan for this area.”The Glenwood Springs City Council, in its comments sent the county regarding River Edge last month, had similar concerns.Carbondale, in its letter, also questions the need for more residential development in the current market, given the amount of approved but unbuilt homesites in the area between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.”Construction of more homes may provide for an influx of jobs for a very limited amount of time,” the Carbondale board notes in its letter. “Once the homes are built, there is no guarantee that they will be sold in a time frame that is beneficial, thereby negating the benefit of the temporary jobs created during construction.”Other concerns expressed by both Carbondale and Glenwood Springs officials relate to the impact on the resident elk herd that winters along the Roaring Fork River in the vicinity, and how large-scale residential development would affect wildlife.The Cattle Creek property has been the subject of four different failed development plans since the late 1990s, one of which included a large commercial component and another an 18-hole golf course.The River Edge plan proposes that about 50 percent of the 160-acre site be committed to open space in some form, including several tracts set aside for gardening and orchards, according to the development application submitted to Garfield County planners earlier this