Carbondale development will set bad precedent

A recent Glenwood Post Independent article covered the approval of new buildings to replace the Sopris Shopping Center (“Carbondale town board approves Sopris Shopping Center redevelopment,” Feb. 10).

The proposal is in two parts. One is to enlarge the mini storage with a new two-story, climate-controlled building to the west of the existing storage buildings. Second is to construct two three-story residential buildings on the edge of the highway.

On the mini-storage, the climate-controlled space seemed to some town trustees a dubious waste of energy at a time when we are giving more and more attention to energy conservation. The owner said that his customers are looking for this feature to store fine furniture and other climate sensitive possessions. We can assume this feature appeals to upvalley customers.

Oddly, the town only collects sales taxes on leases beyond one month. One can also question why this kind of use is even in the center of our town. The owner said they would pay attention to their energy use.

I also have a great concern for the new residential buildings. You can see from the rendering in the news article that the architectural style, as described by the architect, is unlike anything in Carbondale. They said the building is composed of “mercantile elements.” However, their main deceit is to give the buildings as many different styles, materials, shapes, colors, wall planes, corners, and roof lines as they could. We used to joke that the builder was using up materials left over from other jobs. Or close-outs.

But more than the looks, these buildings set a precedent that is totally at odds with what Carbondale has now and also the goals for energy emission reduction that are the core of the Carbondale Climate Action Plan. In a second letter I’d also like to talk about the height, the traffic, the health hazards, and the visual obstruction.

Patrick Hunter