Carbondale clicks on comp plan revision ideas |

Carbondale clicks on comp plan revision ideas

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

CARBONDALE, Colorado – Planning consultant Gabe Preston believes things are on the right track for revising and updating the town’s 12-year-old comprehensive land-use plan.

“I think that most of what the working group has come up with has been well received,” he said Wednesday, following the last of three public input sessions on the plan revisions.

Preston’s company, RPI Consulting of Durango, is leading the update process, which has been under way for more than a year.

The town board of trustees in 2011 appointed 16 people to the working group and directed them to come up with revisions to the comp plan, as it is known.

The three identical public input sessions held April 16, 17 and 18 gave residents the chance to register their opinion of the work done so far.

People at the meetings expressed their views by using keypad voting mechanisms, known as “clicker-polls.”

Preston said that about 90 people participated.

He said he will produce a draft of the proposed revisions in the coming weeks for consideration by the working group – the planning and zoning commission and the board of trustees.

After the comp plan update is completed, Preston said the town intends to embark on updates to the zoning and development-review codes.

During the public input meeting Wednesday, Preston said by 2032, Garfield County is expected to grow by as many as 65,000 new residents – more than double its current population of 56,000 – and by as many as 25,000 new houses.

Carbondale’s share of that growth is unknown, but Preston noted that the town has grown by more than 1,200 new residents since the year 2000, to 6,400 residents in 2,400 homes, condos and apartments, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

To accommodate such growth, Preston maintained, the town has to decide among certain policy options.

The focus, he said, could be to encourage infill development, including redevelopment of existing buildings. Or the town could move to expand its boundaries through annexation and new development.

Finally, Preston said, the town could impose limits on growth rates, perhaps establishing numerical caps on the numbers of new homes allowed each year.

A bare plurality of the April 18 audience, 38 percent, chose a compromise position, preferring a balance of both infill and expansion.

Thirty-three percent went strictly for infill and redevelopment, while 19 percent preferred limits on growth rates. Only 10 percent opted solely for expansion.

At earlier meetings, on April 16 and 17, the public participants had split on the question of how to handle growth.

On April 16, 45 percent favored infill and redevelopment over 42 percent for a balance of the two approaches, with 13 percent for caps on growth rates.

On April 17, the clicker-poll showed 52 percent for a balanced approach, 26 percent for infill and redevelopment, and 22 percent for caps on growth rates.

Preston said the public sessions so far have yielded little support for two of the working group’s suggestions: reclaiming inactive alleys to invite greater use by the public, and installing curbs, gutters and sidewalks along streets that do not have them now.

The idea of reclaiming alleys, according to “clicker-poll” results, was supported by only 5 percent of those attending one meeting, and never garnered more than 11 percent at any of the meetings.

Installing curbs, gutters and sidewalks throughout town never won support of more than 31 percent of respondents.

Other issues covered in the meetings included the mix of single-family and multi-family housing around town, which areas should contain commercial and industrial development, and how parking should be handled as the town grows, among many other subjects.

The outcome of the “clicker-poll” exercises will be loaded onto the town’s website,, in the near future, according to town planner Janet Buck.

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