Carbondale rejects 8th Street Village
CARBONDALE – The Carbondale town council cited density concerns and neighborhood impacts in voting 5-2 Tuesday to reject a New Mexico developer’s plans for a low-income apartment project on 8th Street.”With great sadness, I have to say the local impacts do outweigh the public benefits,” Mayor Michael Hassig said.Trustee Scott Chaplin was one of the two trustees who voted for the project. “This project does fulfill a niche, and I believe we really need this in Carbondale,” Chaplin said. “No, this is not a perfect project, but this is not a perfect world, either.”No sooner had trustees turned down the proposal, however, than they began discussing ways for the town to take a leading role in the arena of affordable housing.”I think we need to be a little more serious about the town taking the lead on affordable housing,” Laird said.The Carbondale planning department staff recommended denial of the 8th Street Village project, in part, because the planners felt it would have failed to meet the needs of so-called “critical workers,” such as teachers and other public-sector employees, who typically fall in the middle income bracket and wouldn’t qualify for the low-income rental units.Trustees, however, rejected that notion. While acknowledging a need to address the housing needs for workers at both low- and middle-income levels, trustees said the neighborhood impacts were the overriding factor in denying the project.”I, too, am an advocate for affordable housing, but I think this project comes at too great a cost for the community,” Laird said. “I think we’ve learned from past experience that you can’t force these kinds of projects on the people who are most affected.Reed said he remains committed to building housing in the area, including a 44-unit project with 29 low-income apartments in Rifle which is already approved.He didn’t rule out exploring further options elsewhere in the Roaring Fork Valley, possibly even Carbondale. But he said he’d need a better idea about the level of support for a project going in.For more in-depth coverage on this topic, pick up this week’s edition of the Valley Journal, on newsstands now. For more in-depth coverage on this topic, pick up this week’s edition of the Valley Journal, on newsstands now.
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