Key mixed use downtown Carbondale development moves ahead
Carbondale’s Town Council has taken its first look at what could be a substantial addition of residential and commercial buildings in the middle of town.
Trustees unanimously approved rezoning of a property at the northwest corner of Main Street and Colorado 133. The 6.4-acre parcel is vacant, a space just south of where the proposed City Market would go, if that repeatedly delayed project comes to fruition.
The project partners held an open house in June, and the rezoning application was the council’s first look at the project, still in its infancy.
The board unanimously agreed to rezone the property out of an obsolete “planning community commercial” zone into a the new “mixed-use” zone district that was established with the town’s new Unified Development Code.
The developer has plans for a complex of apartments, mixed-use buildings and a central open space. This property would be bordered by the proposed City Market to the north, Main Street to the south, Hendrick Drive extended on the eastern edge of the development and a newly constructed road, Shorty Pabst Way, on its west. The conceptual plans also show a couple of “flex buildings,” which could be used to house commercial and residential space.
Janet Buck, Carbondale’s planning director, said she looks at this development as creating a buffer between residential units to the south from developments to the north.
Trustee Ben Bohmfalk said he was concerned about the development becoming a “bulky property” that’s much bigger than the town’s normal block sizes.
Bob Schultz, a consultant on the project, said the development has been designed to work well alongside a new City Market, or to stand alone if that doesn’t happen. Schultz emphasized an open green space that’s been drawn into the center of the development. The drawing also include a pocket park and playground squeezed between the buildings. Designing the common area in the middle has been a “tug of war” between green space and the cars, said Schultz.
Those who work in the field, Schultz said, know “you start with great ideas, then you have to accommodate all the cars.”
Briston Peterson, part of the ownership group, said he would like the town to eventually bend on the parking requirement and grant a variance allowing the development to build fewer spaces, “to reduce the sea of asphalt.” He points to other projects that successfully regulate the number of spaces used by tenants through assigned numbered spots.
Mayor Dan Richardson said that he, too, would like to see reduced parking, but would want to feel extremely confident that it would work, as the town gets lots of complaints that Carbondale parking doesn’t work.
The conceptual design shows three-story townhomes along the development’s southern edge, serving as a continuation of Main Street, but Schultz said there could also be an apartment building or studios above garages “to create some modestly priced opportunities.” Public comment also indicated some demand for three-bedroom units, while other residents want the developer to conduct a traffic analysis, he said.
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