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County rezones property despite `leap frog’ fears

The Garfield County commissioners rezoned a parcel to allow a small commercial development on Highway 6 & 24 Tuesday, despite Commissioner John Martin’s fears that it could lead to leapfrog development west of Glenwood Springs.”I’m afraid you’ve opened a can of worms that could start a domino effect to New Castle,” Martin told rezoning applicant Rocky Gabossi. “I’m crossing my fingers and will wait to see what happens.”Martin voted against rezoning the 6.5-acre parcel, which is west of Canyon Creek and next to New Creation Church.Commissioners Larry McCown and Walt Stowe voted for the rezoning. “It’s probably the best and highest use for that land,” McCown said.The commissioners’ vote changed the property from agricultural/residential/rural density (A/R/R/D), to commercial limited (C/L).Gabossi told the commissioners the property will be used for a mini storage business, Precision Cut and Design, Roaring Fork Log Furniture, and possibly offices for the Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Division of Wildlife.Early in the meeting, Garfield County Planner Fred Jarman told the commissioners C/L zoning allows a wide range of uses, including a motel, school, library, medical clinic, wholesale and retail businesses, bank, beauty shop, mortuary and theater.Planner John Taufer, who represented Gabossi, said his client will use covenants and a property owners association to ensure that only the uses outlined in his plan are allowed.McCown asked whether the county could attach conditions to the rezoning approval to ban unwanted uses, but county attorney Don DeFord said a conditional approval can create problems. “It becomes very difficult to track. Everything becomes its own zone district,” DeFord said.As he often does, McCown played the devil’s advocate early in the question and answer session. He asked how Gabossi can guarantee the plan he presented is the one that gets built, and pointed out that a subsequent owner would not be bound by his plan.”How are you going to keep these other uses off?” McCown asked.Taufer replied that Gabossi is a Garfield County native, and indicated he will stick to his development plan.Gabossi made his own pitch for the rezoning late in the meeting. He pointed out fill dirt was taken from the property for Interstate 70 construction, and now it can’t be used for pastureland because nothing will grow.”It’s all weeds,” Gabossi said.Taufer noted that the county changed its zoning to allow the New Creation Church, and a 10-acre parcel just east of that is also zoned C/L.”That church has really altered the landscape,” Taufer said.In exchange for the new zoning, Gabossi said he will help upgrade County Road 138, which accesses the property. The Colorado Department of Transportation denied an access permit from the property directly onto Highway 6&24.After the meeting, Gabossi explained why he applied for rezoning rather than a planned unit development, which is site-specific zoning. “This was the easiest way to do it,” Gabossi said. “A PUD gets much more complicated.”In other county commissioner business from Tuesday’s meeting:-The commissioners continued review of the Lake Springs Ranch PUD until next Monday, so staff can review the applicant’s plan to upgrade County Road 114. The proposed Lake Springs Ranch PUD includes 210 housing units on 441 acres just north of Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley campus, according to the application, filed by the Berkeley Family Limited Partnership. There will 198 single-family lots of up to 1.5 acres, and four multi-family lots, and 151 acres of agricultural land or open space. The Spring Valley Sanitation District will provide sewer service. Individual wells on each lot will provide water.


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