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Development near Catherine Store dies

Donna GrayGlenwood Springs correspondent

A proposed commercial and residential development next to Catherine Store in Carbondale failed to get support Wednesday from the Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission.The heart of the development was a “neighborhood commercial village” on more than three acres on what is now horse paddocks at Aspen Equestrian Estates. The 20,000 square feet of commercial buildings could have housed everything from a veterinary office to restaurants and retail shops.Developer Jay Weinberg, who built the Aspen Equestrian Estates residential development on the former Preshana Farms polo field, sold it two years ago but held onto the horse paddocks and barns.In all, the development covered 15.2 acres fronting both Highway 82 and County Road 100, also known as Catherine Store Road. Plans for the land included four single-family homes and more than five aces of open space with a large pond and walking trail.Technically, approval for the development hinged on a change to the county’s comprehensive land-use plan enacted in 2000, which identified only residential use for that area.”This is a significant land-use policy change,” county planner Fred Jarman said Wednesday evening in outlining the plan to the P&Z.Among the planning department’s concerns about the application were traffic impacts to both Highway 82 and Catherine Store Road from the commercial “village,” as well as what it viewed as questionable provisions for both water and sewer. The homes would also have replaced three employee housing units.Land planner Ron Liston of Glenwood Springs, who presented the plan to the P&Z, argued that population growth in the area has created a demand for convenient commercial outlets. People naturally go to “the most convenient and easily accessible services,” he said.Catherine Store, which sells gasoline, liquor and convenience-type groceries, has been in operation for decades at the intersection of Highway 82 and Catherine Store Road.Liston also said that developing a commercial shopping area at that location would preclude similar development on the north side of the road.About 20 residents of that area sat through the four-hour meeting to have their say about the proposed development.Bart Johnson of Blue Creek Ranch, across Catherine Store Road from Aspen Equestrian Estates, disagreed with Liston’s assessment.”Commercial begets commercial,” he said, and noted both Carbondale and El Jebel are within convenient reach for shopping.As a member of the Blue Creek Ranch homeowners association, he said the entire group opposed the development.


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