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Questions about the Marketplace

Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to the Carbondale Town Trustees concerning the proposed Crystal River Marketplace development at Main Street and Highway 133.

Dear Editor:I attended the Trustees meeting on April 27, but was unable to stay and make any citizen comments. Consequently, I am forwarding this statement for your consideration.We all need to appreciate the time and effort that you, town employees and the P&Z Committee have spent to assure that whatever is eventually built at the Crystal River Marketplace location will be the best choice for Carbondale. However, the approval process seems far from over because of unresolved issues. This is a good thing, because whatever is done with that property will undoubtedly have a major impact on our town.There were several items presented at the meeting which I question and wish to address. First, any trade-off between building height and open space appears to be a false bargain. If a building is too high for the landscape in which it is to be situated, it is too high. No amount of additional open space would mitigate that problem.Second, to say that delays in approval have cost the town additional revenue misses the point of having an approval process and subverts the approval process. I understand that this process has dragged on and some may lose patience, but the process is there for a reason (Can we imagine what we would now have if the trustees had approved a big box, Home Depot as proposed in the past? Probably a hole in the ground littered with abandoned construction materials).Third, I was surprised by the revenue projections for each of the scenarios. The amount of revenue expected appeared to be very small in comparison to the overall environmental impact of the proposal. Certainly, these are hard fiscal times and Carbondale can use additional revenues, but at what price? Personally, I would prefer to see some carefully planned reduction in services or even a tax increase rather than witness the small-town character of Carbondale whither away to be replaced by further suburbanization. I would like to know what the revenue projections would look like if the residential units could not be sold or rented and the commercial properties could not be leased because of the current lack of demand for such space.Regarding the environmental impact of the Crystal River Marketplace proposal, have there been any estimates of the additional traffic on Highway 133 as a consequence of this project? There are already times of the day when the traffic congestion and consequent air pollution from vehicle exhaust and dust reach objectionable and possibly unhealthy levels. We have, as yet, no local air-quality monitoring in place. At what point will we have to build 133 into a four-lane road to deal with the congestion?Thank you for your time and effort and for considering these issues.Steve HesslCarbondale


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