Carbondale trustees opt for the ‘flex’ plan in nonbinding vote |

Carbondale trustees opt for the ‘flex’ plan in nonbinding vote

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE – Town of Carbondale officials of split opinions ultimately indicated they preferred the “flex” option for developing the Crystal River Marketplace over the Home Depot option.The trustees were split down the middle but Mayor Michael Hassig sided with the flex option.None of the officials came out in strong support of either option in the nonbinding vote to indicate their preference for the development.”Neither of these proposals to me represent the panacea or the disaster,” Hassig said, adding that he didn’t agree with the logic that the big-box alternative would solve the town’s affordable housing, highway improvement and other issues by generating an estimated $700,000 more per year.Trustee Alice Laird sided with the flex option, indicating she believed it is important to preserve the character and uniqueness of the town.”We don’t want to be anywhere USA,” she said.Trustee Russ Criswell, wearing a tie-die shirt, also sided with the flex option. “That option (the Home Depot option) to me is completely off the table,” he said.Criswell called for commercial linkage to affordable housing and green building codes.Trustee Scott Chaplin sided with the flex option. He said the town would not allow the Home Depot option to go through. He said it could cause more delays and be voted down by a referendum.”The large-format proposal is not going to fly in this town,” he said.Mayor Pro Tem Ed Cortez and Trustee Stacy Patch Bernot sided with the Home Depot option.”My preference is that it remains an open space,” Cortez said. “I do not believe the flex option will improve our quality of life.”Bernot said population and demands for service are increasing, and the additional revenue could help meet those needs. She also criticized the flex option for being too risky and having too many unknowns.Trustee John Foulkrod also leaned toward the Home Depot option, stating that he came out in favor of it at the time of the last election and won by a large margin.The purpose of the meeting was to express a nonbinding indication of preferences and possibly give the developers some direction for the future.Conceptual plans for both options show a 60,000-square-foot grocery store on the north side, about 38,000 square feet of auxiliary commercial space bordering Highway 133 and housing or mixed-use development on the south side.In the flex option, the middle seven or so acres could be developed several different ways.The Home Depot option would substitute the flexible zoning area with one big retailer. The flex option was said to fit more with the character of Carbondale, but the Home Depot option is thought of as a “cash cow” that could bring a projected $1.7 million annually over about $1 million for the flex option.Rich Schierburg with Home Depot said he plans to submit an application for development and asked for support. Details of the scope of a possible Home Depot under the flex option were unclear, but Schierburg said people would be proud of whatever he builds and asked for support.There also was some talk of sending the issue back to voters for them to indicate their preference on the issue.

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