Crystal Marketplace developer lists reasons for withdrawal
Brian Huster withdrew his Crystal River Marketplace development application in part because Carbondale is “hopelessly divided on this subject,” said a letter sent from Huster’s attorney to the town.”Our client had hoped to bring a high quality, vital project to Carbondale that would have benefited the Town for decades to come,” the letter continued.Carbondale folks were scratching their heads about the possible reasons for the withdrawal on Friday, after the Glenwood Post Independent ran a story about Crystal River Marketplace’s action.A spokesperson for Huster had not returned phone calls for the story on Thursday, nor had town staffers. Late Friday afternoon, Carbondale Town Hall faxed the Post Independent the withdrawal letter. It was addressed to Town Manager John Hier, and is reprinted here in its entirety.”Dear John:”This letter is being delivered to you on behalf of Crystal River Development LLC, applicant for the Crystal River Marketplace Subdivision (the Applicant). Pursuant to our telephone conversation earlier today, we regretfully submit this withdrawal of the Application. Consistent with the withdrawal of the Application, the applicant hereby declines to submit an appeal to any of the conditions contained within the Planning and Zoning Commission’s conditional approval of June 4, 2002. Please send us final bills through today for all consultants employed by the town in relation to this project and they will be paid promptly.”Our client had hoped to bring a high quality, vital project to Carbondale that would have benefited the Town for decades to come. Unfortunately, however, due to the fact that the Town is so hopelessly divided on this subject, coupled with the fact that the conditions imposed on the project render it practically and financially impossible to build, we have concluded that we have no rational alternative but to withdraw the Application and reevaluate our future options. Given these seemingly irreversible facts, the applicant does not wish to continue to spend its or the Town’s valuable time, energy or resources on the Application.”Please communicate our sincere thanks to all of your staff, elected and volunteer public officials that have worked so diligently on this project over the past three years.”The 252,000-square-foot Marketplace’s P&Z approval on June 4 came with unprecedented conditions, including one that would have given the town veto power over the project’s major tenants.Mayor Michael Hassig said the developer could have appealed the P&Z conditions. “I thought that’s where it was headed, so their decision not to appeal, I found surprising,” Hassig said.Hassig said he had problems with the condition that gave the town veto power over the large anchor tenants. “I found it (the condition) problematic,” Hassi said.Crystal River Marketplace was proposed for 23 acres on the west side of Highway 133 between Main Street and Delores Way. Proponents said the town needs the project to boost its flagging sales tax revenues. Opponents, such as Mountain Folks for Global Justice, questioned sales tax projections a fiscal impact reported, and argued for local “mom and pop” stores rather than corporate chains.On Friday, town trustee David Rippe was fuming about opponents who don’t want the Marketplace, but who will still keep asking the town to fund things like more expensive, alternative grass care in parks, and various nonessential services.”They demand money for things like community gardens … They might be celebrating now, but when budget time comes they aren’t going to get jack squat,” Rippe said.Rippe also blasted Marketplace opponents for not accepting anything less than total victory.”It (Carbondale) isn’t tolerant anymore. People say `We don’t want this and that. We want it this way’. It’s very prejudiced.”Bob Schultz, of Mountain Folks for Global Justice, said the Marketplace developer was not flexible enough. As for specifics, one problem included the south wall. “The south wall never made sense to me,” Schultz said.The south wall was the 125,000-square-foot anchor tenant’s back wall, which fronted the west end of Main Street. Schultz referred to a big-box store at Interstate 70 and Wadsworth in the Denver area that has such a wall, and said when he drives by it he wonders, “Oh my Lord, how could they have gotten away with that.”For Hassig, one of the Marketplace’s biggest problems was the primary entrance on Highway 133. Hassig said the town told the developer it wanted a traffic light at Industry Place two years ago, while the developer kept insisting the primary access must be at Nieslanik Place, to the south.”If there is one fixed point in the universe, Industry Place is central to our planning,” Hassig said.Hassig said he and town staffers plan to meet with Crystal River Marketplace representatives on Monday. “I imagine they (the developers) will have some stuff to tell me,” Hassig said.Schultz said he hopes the developer will sit down with the town and come up with something both factions can live with.”The best thing to do is to sit down and say `What will work here,'” Schultz said.
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