Effects on Highway 133 continue to dominate marketplace review | PostIndependent.com

Effects on Highway 133 continue to dominate marketplace review

Crystal River Marketplace is not being fast tracked by the Carbondale Planning and Zoning Commission.The planning commission considered the 252,000-square-foot commercial project on Highway 133 for the second time Thursday night, and town planner Mark Chain indicated final action on the developer’s preliminary plat application is still at least a meeting or two away.Impacts to Highway 133 took center stage at the meeting, although the planning commission is also taking a close look at detention ponds, dry wells and other measures for dealing with runoff water that will come from nearly 24 acres of paved surface.On the traffic front, over the past few years at least three Highway 133 traffic studies have been or are being conducted by the developer, the town and the Colorado Department of Transportation.Town officials have said developer Brian Huster will be required to pay a portion of the total tab for Highway 133 upgrades.It’s not the planning commission’s job to determine the percentage, but the board wants to know the total price tag before it votes on the preliminary plat.”I want to see costs (for Highway 133 improvements),” said planning commission member Ed Cortez at Thursday night’s meeting.”I think you need to see it,” said Chain.Highway 133 traffic capacity has not kept pace with Carbondale’s growth in the past 10 years, and town officials and the developer agree Crystal River Marketplace will greatly impact the highway in years to come.The state highway started as a two-lane rural highway in 1957 and 1958. Numerous accesses to the highway were approved over the ensuing 45 years, leading to “what is now a dysfunctional, vague hodgepodge of auxiliary lanes with confusing access,” according to Louis Meyer, the town’s consulting engineer.In his memo, Chain said the town’s Highway 133 Task Force drafted a highway corridor plan in the 1980s. A more detailed analysis was undertaken by the Highway 133 Citizens Task Force in 1997.More recently, the town commissioned an access control and corridor management study with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). That study was conducted by the consulting firm PBS&J, and a draft document will have a public hearing in May.Chain said Highway 133 isn’t in CDOT’s Strategic Transportation Improvement plan, which means that as of now, if the town wants to highway upgraded it will have to do it itself.”It would cost $14 million from the bridge to Meadowood,” Chain told the planning commission.He said possible funding sources include a special improvement taxing district and highway impact fees on new development.Town officials have said work on the Highway 82-Highway 133 intersection and bridge could range from $200,000 to $27 million.Chain advised the planning commission to look at three main components: highway design from Crystal River Marketplace’s northern boundary to Main Street, improvements to the Highway 133 bridge over the Roaring Fork River, and a financing scheme for Highway 133 improvements.Most of Thursday night’s meeting was given over to staff reports, a presentation by the developer’s traffic engineer, and public comment.Most of the public comment came from members of Mountain Folks for Global Justice, which opposed a larger Crystal River Marketplace proposal during a previous review process.The planning commission approves or denies the preliminary plat application, although the developer can appeal to the board of trustees. The trustees decide on the final plat application.The next planning commission review is April 25.

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