Crystal River Marketplace application withdrawn
A massive and controversial retail development application in Carbondale has been withdrawn by the developer, the town’s mayor said Thursday evening.The 252,000-square-foot Crystal River Marketplace application was pulled after the town’s planning and zoning commission approved it Tuesday by a 3-2 vote, but with 39 conditions that include a provision that gives the town veto power over the largest tenants.Mayor Michael Hassig said he learned of the developer’s actions from Town Manager John Hier, who was called by the developer representatives.”I think they felt that the conditions of approval that accompanied the planning commission recommendation for approval were untenable,” said Hassig.Hassig planned to meet with the developer’s representatives today.”I will have to see what their issues are. I think that the conditions were no surprise to the applicant,” he said of the P&Z provisions.Crystal River Marketplace was proposed by California developer Brian Huster, and would have covered 23.7 acres on the west side of Highway 133 between Delores Way and Main Street.The site plan called for a 125,000-square-foot anchor tenant that backed up to Main Street at the shopping center’s south end, plus other building sites that ranged from 4,000 to 103,000 square feet.The conditions of approval addressed 10 areas of concern, including traffic impacts to Highway 133 and how upgrades to it will be funded, plus architectural controls and more.Besides the tenant veto power provision, the P&Z also obligated the developer to reacquire property and improvements from any tenant/owner that occupies more than 20,000 square feet on the property and ceases to do business on the site.Hassig, recently elected mayor, was previously involved with the project as chairman of the P&Z.”It doesn’t seem to me that the town deliberately tried to place obstacles in the path of the developer,” he said.He said the developer was fully aware of issues such as those surrounding the highway and access to the project.”I know that town staff tried to work really hard to strike a balance between the interests of the developer and the interests of the town,” he said.He said he didn’t know whether a project “on that site with this developer is salvageable or not.”But he added, “I think it’s too attractive a location to not see development occur on it. It’s a matter of the nature of the project.”He said there’s no disagreement in Carbondale about the appropriateness of commercial development on the property in question. The only debates are over the scale of any development and its “relationship to the existing fabric of town.”Hassig will be heading to a previously scheduled two-day retreat with fellow trustees immediately after his meeting with representatives of the development today.”I’m sure this is going to change the tenor of that (retreat) discussion,” he said.He said some trustees were committed to the project, and several were more skeptical of it.”We never got an opportunity to really grapple with it,” said Hassig.He said there were “more hard issues to deal with” than were raised at the P&Z level.
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