Garfield commissioners visit two proposed self-storage sites near Carbondale
Garfield County commissioners Wednesday visited two Carbondale sites where different companies are seeking approval to build self-storage facilities.
The site visits were open to the public, but only commissioners were allowed to ask questions of designers and engineers.
A handful of neighbors and others met commissioners and county administration staff at the T.O. Ranch lot near Catherine’s Store on Highway 82, where BlueMountain Garfield wants to build a 96,000 square-foot mini storage facility.
A few miles down valley from Catherine Store, commissioners discussed the proposed site of the 99,000 square-foot, three story GO Mini Storage facility, proposed by Hipa Hipa LLC for the lot which used to be the home of Planted Earth garden center.
At both sites, the commissioners asked questions of county staff and engineers associated with the two projects.
Commissioner Mike Samson, who requested the site visits at a public hearing March 18 due to his unfamiliarity the area around Carbondale, commented at the Planted Earth location that he was glad to see the actual size of the plot.
“I have to say, I’m glad I came here, because I had this visualized a lot bigger,” Samson said. “This isn’t as big as I thought,” he said.
The site visits were for the commissioners’ information, and public comment was not permitted. The commissioners will hear more from the public on both proposals at an April 15 continued public hearing at the Garfield County Administration building in Glenwood Springs.
The two storage facilities have garnered a lot of opposition from neighbors, the town of Carbondale, and an anonymous group has organized as the Down Valley Small Business Alliance to oppose the two developments.
One community member who attended the commissioner’s visit, long-time Carobondale resident Susy Ellison, who lives near the T.O. Ranch proposed storage site, said she hoped the county leaders were able to see the rural nature of the area.
“This is rural, agricultural land,” Ellison said. “It’s zoned for rural development; it’s not zoned for commercial at this point.”
The T.O. Ranch development should be accepted despite the rural zoning, according to developers, because the Catherine Store area is marked as a “village center” in the county’s comprehensive plan.
Opponents say that a storage facility does not meet the standard of a convenience, a definition of village center, and that the proposed building is on the opposite side of the Catherine Store village center anyway.
In addition to the community opposition, the GO facility would also have to overcome the comments of county staff.
In a report on the impact of the facility, staff said the proposed GO facility “is not in the best interest of the health, safety, convenience, order, prosperity and welfare of the citizens of Garfield County.”
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