Carbondale OKs modular at 190 Main St.
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE, Colorado – A proposed modular commercial structure at 190 Main St., at the southeastern corner of Second and Main, triggered more than an hour of debate at the town board of trustees meeting Tuesday night.
Trustees were worried about issues related to the development, proposed by local contractor and developer Briston Peterson and his sister, Corba Andrews.
The proposal is to remove an old modular building, which in its time has housed a number of entities, including the town’s government offices, Colorado Mountain College, and the YouthZone organization.
“It’s an eyesore,” Peterson admitted at the meeting Monday night. “I’m trying to create some vitality for that corner.”
The existing structure, which has been vacant for years, was recently gutted. Peterson, based on a 2008 approval from the town, planned to erect a 12,000-square-foot building in its place.
But the recession got in the way, financing dried up, and now Peterson and his sister want to pull out the old modular and replace it with a newer one, which is to house their company, Brikor Associates.
One problem for the trustees is that the town’s code does not address modular commercial structures, according to town staff.
As noted by town planner Janet Buck, the board of trustees has approved other modular buildings in the commercial core of the town, although she conceded there is “no clear process” for reviewing such applications.
Buck said Peterson has offered to reappear before the board in five years to reassess the economy and the development potential of the property.
Other difficulties cited by the trustees include inadequate space for off-street parking, in between Peterson’s property and the KDNK building next door.
But the trustees agreed there would be sufficient room if the existing basketball court behind the old modular is removed, which Peterson said he is willing to do.
A neighboring landowner, Carey Shanks, argued that Peterson had not complied with the requirements demanded of other developers, in terms of technical aspects of his development application. Shanks also objected to Peterson’s application for an exception to the town’s land use regulations, which Shanks said is not a process that exists in the town’s land use code.
Another critic of Peterson’s proposal, Nancy Smith, asked, “How’s it going to contribute to the vitality of the downtown?”
She argued that, once approved and in place, the building would remain far longer than the five-year period outlined by Peterson.
“I’m just afraid that it’s going to screw up that whole block,” Smith said. The town has long wanted to spruce up the east end of Main Street by encouraging solid, well-designed buildings for that stretch.
But Rockwood Shepherd, developer of the River Edge project in between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, urged the trustees to approve the application because having Peterson’s office downtown will help improve the business in local restaurants and other shops.
“I think this is so much better than what we have now, it deserves consideration,” said Trustee Frosty Merriott.
Merriott then tried, unsuccessfully, to get Peterson to voluntarily agree to a 20 percent “energy offset,” meaning Peterson would lease solar panels at the Clean Energy Collective solar array to offset the energy inefficiency of a modular structure.
In the end, the trustees voted 4-2 to approve Peterson’s application, with trustees Zentmyer and Merriott dissenting.
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