Overlook industrial rezoning has its critics in Carbondale | AspenTimes.com

Overlook industrial rezoning has its critics in Carbondale

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE ” Before Carbondale trustees delve into the details of the Overlook Neighborhood proposal, the first order of business is to determine whether it’s even appropriate to rezone what’s historically been an industrial site to accommodate a mix of residential and commercial development.

The majority of trustees tend to believe it is an appropriate change in use for the nearly 13-acre former Carbondale Mine Services property, which serviced the Redstone coal mines for several decades until the early 1990s, and has since become home to a variety of light industrial uses.

The town’s comprehensive plan, which was adopted in the late 1990s, even envisions the site eventually being redeveloped into a mixed-use neighborhood.

However, some citizens who have commented on the proposal aren’t so sure it’s a good idea.

“I feel the proposed mixed use to a majority of residential units will put an unnecessary burden on the town’s resources, with not an appropriate gain,” wrote adjacent resident and former town trustee Mark Whalen in a letter to the Town Board.

The Overlook plan calls for more than 160 residential units, plus 40,000 square feet of commercial/retail space and possibly a 50-room hotel should it prove feasible. If not, that portion of the site could include an additional 35 residential units.

“The town currently has a limited supply of industrial zoned property. … This will create an unfillable vacuum,” Whalen continued in his letter.

Other citizens speaking at Tuesday night’s continued public hearing on the Overlook also questioned the rezoning.

“My concern is whether it’s appropriate to rezone to a PUD what’s been an industrial staging area for 50 years,” Laurie Loeb said. “What’s the health of this property after that kind of use?”

Moreover, the Overlook proposal equates to too much residential growth, too fast, she opined.

“This is a small town, and we’ve talked a lot about preserving small-town character,” Loeb said, noting that the town is currently considering other proposals for hundreds more residential units and new commercial, as well.

“I think this is too much, and I don’t think it’s harmonious with this community,” she said.

Others commented on specific details of the project’s layout, including expressing concerns about pedestrian and traffic flow, open space and building heights that are proposed to exceed 40 feet.

Trustees made it clear they’re in no hurry to fast-track the development proposal, which is being put forth by C’dale LLC, of which town Trustee John Foulkrod is the principal partner. Foulkrod has excused himself from the deliberations and will not vote on the rezoning and development request.

“Whether this takes six meetings or 26 meetings, we’re going to take our time to make sure this is done right,” Trustee Stacey Bernot said.

The public hearing on the Overlook was continued until June 9.