8th Street Village sparks complaints
CARBONDALE – Although the affordable housing project known as 8th Street Village still has a chance to win town approval, residents from the surrounding neighborhoods were vocal in urging its defeat. The Carbondale Board of Trustees voted this week to continue the public hearing on the proposed 50-apartment project until its Oct. 12 meeting. The board specifically was looking at whether to allow the 2.2-acre parcel to have its zoning changed from industrial to a planned unit development zoning that would allow high-density. The zoning change must be granted for the project to be built. The two-building complex is slated to be built on the west side of Eighth Street across from Cleveland Avenue. Apartments. It would be rented to people who earn 40 to 50 percent of the area median income, or AMI. That translates to an income of $12,000 to $31,000 per year for a family of four. The apartments would consist of 24 two-bedroom, one-bath units that rent for between $485 and $621; and 26 three-bedroom, two-bath units that would rent for between $559 and $716. While making a motion to continue the meeting until Oct. 12, Carbondale Mayor Michael Hassig requested that the development company, Jonathan Reed and Associates of Albuquerque, N.M., come back with a description of what it sees as the long-term future of the project, as well as some context of the two buildings’ height. “Give us some idea of the bulk and mass of that project,” Hassig said. “I find it always more informative to look at these things in place than to stare at drawings and speculate as to what they really might mean.”Most area residents objected to its size, density and the amount it would increase traffic along Eighth Street, although there were a few people who spoke on its behalf. Genie Dries, who lives near 8th Street Village’s proposed location, said she agrees with the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission recommendation that the project should only be allowed to have medium density – which would allow about 34 apartments instead of the proposed 50. “We’re being selfish, but we worked hard for what we do have and we would like to be considered, too; that we want to keep our peace and quiet and our medium density,” she said. Longtime Carbondale resident Terry McShane also urged the trustees to go along with the planning board’s recommendation. “P&Z recommended 6-to-1 to deny,” he said. Susan Asam, vice president of underwriting for the nonprofit company that would finance the project, Homestead Capital, insisted that the apartments are needed and that the buildings would be first-class construction. “What we are at the end of the day is a company that wants to put beautiful, affordable homes in communities that need them to stabilize families and to provide safety and stability for families,” she said. Mary Sadlowski told the Board of Trustees 8th Street is the wrong place for such a large project. “My issue with this project is that the neighborhood cannot handle a spot zoning of that density,” she said. “I’m a big proponent of affordable housing, but it’s just the wrong spot.”Matt Vickers, who lives on nearby Colorado Avenue, questioned who would benefit from the project. “There’s no restriction on residency or employment. There’s no guarantee the people of Carbondale will benefit,” he said. “We can’t control it if it really benefits our community.”The application will be revisited at the Board of Trustees’ next regular meeting on Oct. 12. Contact Greg Massé: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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