Open space concerns drive Carbondale’s Overlook debate |

Open space concerns drive Carbondale’s Overlook debate

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE – Built-in open space at a proposed new mixed-use residential and commercial development in Carbondale has emerged as a key concern as town trustees continue a public hearing on the proposal.

The Overlook Neighborhood planned unit development calls for rezoning the 13-acre former Mine Services property north of downtown Carbondale from its current light industrial uses. The area would be redeveloped into approximately 160 houses and about 40,000 square feet of new commercial space, plus a possible 50-room hotel.

It would all be interconnected by a series of small pocket parks and tree-lined streets, with main entrances on Fourth Street from the south, at the Rio Grande Trail crossing next to Town Hall, and via a realigned Merrill Avenue from the west.

However, the overall density, as well as the developer’s open space plan using the smaller park areas, are among the major concerns as the Carbondale Board of Trustees continued the public hearing for a third time Tuesday night.

The hearing resumes at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, when trustees are expected to narrow the list of major concerns to be addressed by the developer, John Foulkrod of C’dale LLC, if the project is to be approved.

Foulkrod is also a member of the town council but has stepped down during the Overlook discussions and has not been present at the hearings.

A good chunk of next week’s meeting will also be devoted to taking public comments on the proposal, trustees said at Tuesday night’s meeting.

“The board wants to take the list of issues from each of the board members, and have everyone get their thoughts and concerns on the table,” Carbondale Community Development Director Doug Dotson said after this week’s meeting.

That way the board can determine which issues the trustees have consensus on, and which ones they don’t, he said.

Open space appears to be the one issue where there is some consensus. Any changes to the open space plan would also likely affect the overall density of the project, Dotson said.

“A lot of it is really tied to the amount of open space the town would like to see in the project,” he said. “One thing we heard from the trustees is that they would like to see a bigger park space there to serve the needs of residents and the larger neighborhood.

“And, any increase in open space does affect density,” Dotson said.

The development site is also currently home to the charter Ross Montessori School, which leases land from C’dale LLC for its modular school buildings.

The school, which operates under charter with the Colorado Department of Education, is in the process of looking for a relocation site. But at least one town trustee, John Hoffmann, has expressed a desire to see a school site remain part of the new development.

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