Draft Carbondale comp plan draws praise, criticism
CARBONDALE, Colorado – Town trustees on Tuesday heaped a combination of praise and criticism on a draft rewrite of the town’s comprehensive land use plan.Most of the trustees indicated satisfaction with the draft revisions of the plan, which is updating a previous comp plan adopted in 2000.Although not finished with its review of the draft plan, the town planning and zoning commission (P&Z) had asked that it be placed on the trustees agenda on Tuesday, Nov. 20, for trustee comments on the plan so far.The draft is to get more public review at a meeting of the planning and zoning commission, starting at 7 p.m. tonight at Town Hall, 511 Colorado Ave.”The plan is Carbondale,” declared Trustee John Hoffmann at Tuesday’s trustee meeting. “It really reflects a lot of what we feel as a town.”But Trustee John Foulkrod, who noted he has lived in town for 36 years and has considerable government experience, was not so positive.”I read through the whole thing,” he said. “It took me a while. I fell asleep a couple of times.”Foulkrod said the proposed plan showed a lack of flexibility to retain the town’s character.”Carbondale’s funk, and Carbondale’s grooviness, basically came from people putting together what they could, with what they had, in the best way that they could,” he said.Historically the town did not impose restrictions on developers other than complying with the town’s codes, leaving builders considerable freedom in terms of design and materials.”I think that’s where we get our soul,” he declared. “That’s not what I got out of reading this document.”Others jumped to the plan’s defense, including Mayor Stacey Bernot.”There will be allowances for some innovation” under the plan’s provisions, she said, “but this will be a guide.”Among other things, she said, the revised comp plan is to be a launching point for rewriting the town’s building and zoning codes. While the comp plan, if adopted, is an advisory document, the town’s codes are the formal laws that developers must follow.Continuing his critique, Foulkrod noted that the document calls Carbondale a business friendly town. “It is not,” he maintained, pointing to voter rejection, twice, of the project known most recently as the Village at Crystal River.”I think it’s a problem and it’s also an atmosphere that’s pervasive in this community,” and in the draft comp plan, Foulkrod concluded.”I don’t know how we can change this document,” said Trustee Elizabeth Murphy, noting that she agreed with some of Foulkrod’s comments.”But I do feel there are impacts we can have when we do code revisions,” she added.Trustee Allyn Harvey, noting that he felt building heights were not adequately addressed in the draft plan, agreed that the document may fall short in maintaining Carbondale’s funky character.”But we did just approve a mobile home on Main Street,” he added, referring to a renovation project at the corner of Main and Second streets. “So let’s not think we’re too high-falutin’ just yet.”Another concern of Foulkrod’s had to do with the plan’s treatment of open agricultural lands just outside of the town’s boundaries, which the plan indicates should be preserved as open space wherever possible.”When you’re talking about preserving other people’s land, you’re treading on shaky ground,” Foulkrod declared. “We don’t have control of it. It’s not our land, it’s their land.”Planning consultant Gabe Preston of Durango, who is in charge of the plan revisions, took part in to the meeting via telephone and Skype.Regarding nearby agricultural lands, Preston said, the plan is meant to guide cooperative work with Garfield County concerning property within the town’s two-mile zone of influence.Bernot, countering Foulkrod’s criticism, said the text and maps depicting agricultural open lands near town are beneficial, in that they show what has been preserved through conservation easements and other methods, and what has not, with an eye toward future growth or preservation efforts.Pointing out that the plan indicates that 65 percent of Carbondale’s residents work outside of town, Foulkrod argued that it should steer the town toward greater economic stability.”We need to promote businesses that do bring jobs into the community,” he said.According to town officials, the draft plan is to come before the trustees again on Nov. 27, possibly for final email@example.com
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Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or firstname.lastname@example.org