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Glenwood Springs, Carbondale want more say in county planning

Prospects for large-scale development in unincorporated parts of Garfield County at Cattle Creek and Sunlight has prompted the neighboring municipalities of Glenwood Springs and Carbondale to weigh in together on the county’s draft comprehensive plan.

In particular, the revised master land-use plan that is being considered for adoption by the county refers to a large “unincorporated community” and town center at Cattle Creek.

Cattle Creek is where several different development plans have been proposed over the years, and in some cases approved, but have failed for financial reasons. A new development plan for the 280-acre site has been in the works since the property was sold for $15.1 million in a foreclosure auction last December.



“Both Glenwood Springs and Carbondale are extremely concerned about the potential impacts that such an intensive land use would have on both communities as well as the entire Roaring Fork Valley,” reads the Sept. 3 letter to the Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission, which is signed by the mayors of the respective municipalities, Bruce Christensen and Stacey Bernot.

All six municipalities in Garfield County were invited to comment on the county’s Draft Comprehensive Plan 2030. Because they share similar concerns, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs issued their comments jointly.



The letter notes that there is a gap between the two municipalities’ three-mile areas of influence, which happens to include both the Cattle Creek property and Sunlight Mountain Resort, where a large base area development was proposed before economic conditions caused it to be taken off the table last year.

“We take issue with the concept of ‘unincorporated communities,’ especially as they relate to the Cattle Creek and Sunlight areas,” according to the joint Glenwood/Carbondale letter.

Noting that the draft plan defines the areas as “existing, large, self-contained subdivisions,” the letter points out that future land-use maps contained in the draft county document show urban-scale growth even outside the boundaries of the proposed developments.

“We are concerned that this plan and the future land-use map enable the build-out of both the Cattle Creek and Sunlight areas to the fullest extent possible without considering the impacts to the neighboring incorporated areas,” the joint letter states. “As in the past, among other issues, we remain concerned about the availability of police and fire protection, lack of sufficient infrastructure to serve the development, overall density of development, commercial leakage from neighboring municipalities, added traffic impacts to Highway 82 and Four Mile Road, among others.”

The municipalities ask that the “unincorporated community” boundaries be revised to reflect only the existing development prospects, and that “any future proposed development adjacent to but outside that boundary be required to go through a comprehensive plan amendment process so that the proposal can be reviewed on its own merits.”

Secondly, they ask that the plan acknowledge the potential impacts of future development at Cattle Creek and Sunlight on Carbondale and Glenwood Springs through an intergovernmental agreement. This would allow the municipalities to be actively involved in planning future development of the two projects on issues such as the environment/habitat, road networks, schools, police, fire and utilities, the letter states.

“The plan shall also address the appropriate mix of housing for all income groups, the mix of commercial development intended to serve the area, the amount of open space and types of recreational amenities,” it suggests.

The municipalities also want more say when it comes to development within each of their so-called “urban growth areas,” and seek stronger language that would give Glenwood Springs and Carbondale more say.

“We believe that the issues we addressed cannot be addressed sufficiently within your scheduled approval timeframe,” the letter concludes. “We therefore request that you delay adoption of this draft plan and land-use map until such a time that you can fully consider our comments and suggested changes.”

jstroud@postindependent.com


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