Carbondale branch library project gets OK from P&Z
CARBONDALE, Colorado – The town’s Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended approval for a new county library development plan, despite objections from another town advisory board and some residents over the need to cut down four tall spruce trees.The P&Z on Thursday unanimously recommended approval of a plan, which is part of the Garfield County Library District’s program to rebuild or expand its six libraries throughout the county.The new library is to be built on an abandoned tennis court next to the building that used to be the Carbondale Middle School and, before that, the historic Carbondale Union School.The orange brick building now houses Bridges, an alternative high school, and the Roaring Fork Family Resource Center. The tennis court was recently purchased by the library district. The adjacent parking lot is to be shared by the library and the school facilities.As proposed, the new library will be about 13,000 square feet in size, with a maximum roof height of 25 feet.The P&Z vote was taken after roughly an hour and a half of debate, according to town planner John Leybourne. He said the only significantly controversial part of the proposal has to do with removal of the trees.Earlier in the week, the Carbondale Tree Board voted unanimously to oppose the plan, maintaining that the trees are an important part of the town’s visual landscape and ought to be preserved.The trees in question are an east-to-west line of Colorado blue spruce that separate the historic school building from the old tennis court and adjacent parking lot.According to Leybourne, the library district plans on cutting down two trees immediately next to the site of the new building, and two others a little further to the west.Leybourne said the tree removal will:• Permit the sun to shine into a large window at the building’s southern end, a solar-energy feature that will help keep heating and lighting bills down.• Enable the library district to replace an underground culvert carrying town ditch water, and to relocate underground utility lines, both of which lie under the two trees.The two trees farther west, Leybourne said, also are in the way of the utility relocation work.Leybourne said the majority of the speakers at the P&Z meeting, apart from Tree Board members, seemed to accept the district’s reasoning for taking out the trees.Another existing north-south line of trees along Third Street might interfere with some of the solar gain for the library building, Leybourne said.But those trees are on city property, he said.”There’s really nothing on the books for those trees to be removed, at this time,” he said.The library proposal will go before the Carbondale Trustees on March 13, with recommendations for approval from the P&Z and the town’s email@example.com
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