Foulkrod says he will remain on Carbondale’s town board
CARBONDALE, Colorado – Carbondale trustee and real estate developer John Foulkrod says he will continue on the town board after threatening to resign last week following an argument during a regular trustees meeting related to development costs.
“A majority of the board members contacted me, and they all wanted me to stay,” Foulkrod said Monday. “So, I’m going to stay.”
Foulkrod walked out near the end of a 41⁄2-hour-long Carbondale Board of Trustees meeting July 14 during a rather heated discussion about a proposed assessment on new development to pay for a planned water/wastewater system master plan update.
Foulkrod’s Overlook Neighborhood project is one of three major land-use applications currently in the town’s review process. Though he has recused himself during the ongoing public hearing for his project, he was questioning the need for the utilities study and whether developers should be asked to pay for it, when Mayor Michael Hassig suggested Foulkrod, as a developer, may have a conflict of interest.
After responding that he was speaking as a trustee, and not as a developer, Foulkrod left the room, audibly remarking as he walked out that he would resign.
Hassig, on Friday, said he regretted the way things played out and said he would prefer Foulkrod remain on the board.
“Tuesday’s meeting went too late, and we were all tired and cranky from a long day,” Hassig told the Post Independent. “I think we can all agree that John brings a unique perspective to the Board of Trustees. I value his commitment and his passion. I look forward to completing my second term as mayor with John as a fellow trustee.”
Foulkrod acknowledged that he walks a fine line between public servant as a town trustee, and his private work as a developer with a pending project before the town.
“A lot of issues come up that affect not only my project but all of these other projects we’re looking at right now,” he said. “I think I bring a different perspective than most of the other trustees when it comes to the costs and risks to a developer.”
Some of those very issues will be on the table tonight when the Carbondale board holds a special meeting. One item on the work session portion of the agenda is a discussion of development economics and the development review process. Among the questions the trustees will consider are:
• Is the review process too costly in time and money for a developer to understand whether or not a project is possible?
• Is the existing zoning adequate and does it provide sufficient direction to the town and developers? And should it be revised?
• Why is the Planned Unit Development zoning option a more prominent means for developers to seek approvals? And should it be retained?
“I was the one who raised some of these issues, and raised the question of how we can make the land-use process more effective and less costly,” Foulkrod said.
He added that he has tried to separate his personal interests with what he believes is a broader sentiment that needs to be represented on the board.
But, “You can’t live in a town of five or six thousand people and not have some anxiety, or conflict that affects these kinds of decisions,” he added, pointing out that other town board members also are in the building trades. “It is a complicated issue, and I have wrestled with it.”
He said the proposed assessment to do the water/wastewater study is another example of making it more costly for a developer to do a quality development.
The assessment would add an extra expense to several large development projects currently being considered by the town, including the Overlook, Thompson Park, the Village at Crystal River and an affordable teacher housing project being put forth by the local school district.
The $23,870 study would help determine when system upgrades, including a possible new wastewater treatment plant, will be needed to accommodate future growth.
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