City Market set to give new meaning to ‘green’ grocer |

City Market set to give new meaning to ‘green’ grocer

CARBONDALE, Colorado – A planned new grocery store at the proposed Village at Crystal River development in Carbondale will be the “greenest” grocery store in the state of Colorado, the lead project official assured town trustees at a continued public hearing on the proposal Tuesday night.

“They are very open-minded about this,” Rich Schierburg of Crystal River Marketplace LLC said of the City Market grocery chain, which plans to build a new store on the 58,000 square-foot site set aside for that purpose in the larger Village plan.

“They want to build as green a store as possible, but they don’t want to spend stupid money,” he said, referring to some of the other energy sustainability requirements town staff recommended be included as conditions of approval for the project.

Specifically, one recommendation calls for 10 percent of energy use in all buildings within the development to be generated by renewable energy, such as rooftop solar panels.

Schierburg said City Market/Kroger officials had indicated to him that, based on past experience installing solar on some of its stores, the payback is too long.

The preference would be to put that money into building the new store to higher energy efficiency standards to begin with.

In addition to seeking Energy Star certification, the grocery chain is willing to build to the more stringent Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards, he said.

Formal LEED certification would not be pursued, however, as the estimated $232,000 to obtain certification would be better spent on actual energy efficiency features, Schierburg said.

Proposed environmental and energy efficiency practices took up the bulk of the discussion during the continued public hearing for the Village at Crystal River plan Tuesday night.

It was the first substantive discussion on the development proposal itself since early in the year, as the developer and town trustees have been embroiled in legal issues surrounding the public hearing process.

Carbondale Trustee John Foulkrod recused himself from the hearing in March under public pressure due to an alleged conflict of interest. After that, Trustee Frosty Merriott was on the hot seat over conversations about the proposal he had on the local public radio station outside the formal public hearing. Merriott was also asked to recuse himself, but declined.

After the Tuesday discussion, the hearing was continued yet again until July 5. But town trustees appear closer than ever to reaching a final decision on the development.

The plan calls for a total of 125,000 square feet of commercial/retail development on the 24-acre site just west of Highway 133 and north of Main Street in Carbondale. It would also include 15,000 square feet of office space, and up to 164 townhouse, condominium and live/work units, including 24 proposed employee housing units.

Trustees were generally happy with Schierburg’s representations on the energy efficiency concerns.

“Considering where you’re coming from as a developer, I appreciate what you’ve done here,” Trustee John Hoffmann said.

Added Trustee Ed Cortez, “I appreciate the spirit of compromise you’ve brought to the table today.”

Trustee Elizabeth Murphy suggested that, if the town board and the larger community desire formal LEED certification for the grocery store, the town split the cost with the builder.

In addition to working with City Market to adopt the higher building efficiency standards, Schierburg also agreed to develop the project according to the relatively new LEED Neighborhood Development site standards; to seek LEED credits for alternative modes of transportation; to encourage LEED new construction standards elsewhere in the project; and to set aside 25 percent of the project’s open space for urban farming, such as gardens and orchards.

Remaining issues to be discussed include a range of project engineering concerns, as well as a proposed public improvements fee on retail sales within the project to help pay for required public amenities, such as Highway 133 improvements.

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