Big Cattle Creek project opposed by Glenwood, Cdale moves toward hearing |

Big Cattle Creek project opposed by Glenwood, Cdale moves toward hearing

A site map shows the property between Highway 82, right, and the Rio Grande Trail that would be rezoned from residential suburban to commercial general under a proposal now before Garfield County planners.
Courtesy Garfield County Planning |

A public hearing to consider rezoning 43 acres along Highway 82 between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale for urban-scale commercial development has been postponed until at least January due to a problem with public noticing.

The zoning proposal being put forward by a subsidiary of the same company that intends to develop 366 residential units on the adjacent 116-acre property, known as the River Edge PUD, was originally scheduled tonight before the Garfield County Planning Commission.

Developers had submitted a nearly identical application last spring, but it was withdrawn before going to public hearing amid rumors that City Market was eyeing the site as an option to building a new grocery store in Carbondale.

City Market has since been working with Carbondale to develop a plan for a new store on the vacant Crystal River Marketplace property on Highway 133.

But the proposed rezoning for the property that’s situated between the Cattle Creek and CMC intersections on Highway 82 looks to be plowing ahead regardless.

Project representatives from Denver-based Galloway & Co. land planners indicated to county officials this week that, due to the noticing issue, they will now shoot for the Jan. 13, 2016, meeting to make their pitch.

The proposal to rezone the triangle-shaped parcel that sits between Highway 82 and the Rio Grande Trail south of the former Sopris Restaurant building is located, has reopened the debate about allowing large-scale commercial development in the unincorporated areas of the county.

Both the city of Glenwood Springs and town of Carbondale have weighed in, arguing the proposal does not comply with the Garfield County Comprehensive Plan, and that it does not constitute a “logical and orderly development pattern.”

The municipalities also question the open-ended nature of the request without information as to what kinds of development might occur on the property with the rezoning. And they worry about sales tax leakage away from the established towns.

“The demand for new commercial development in the Roaring Fork Valley is doubtful,” Glenwood officials said in their comments. “Instead, this development would draw existing businesses out of incorporated cities and towns.”

The property is currently zoned for residential suburban density development, which would allow for up to 94 residential lots covering 21.6 acres of the larger site. A variety of agriculture- and light-industrial types of uses would also be allowed under the existing zoning, but not retail development, according to a county planning staff analysis of the proposal.

The requested commercial general zoning would allow up to 251 lots for either residential or commercial use covering 941,985 square feet of floor area and building heights up to four stories spread across nearly 37 acres. A wide variety of commercial uses would be allowed without further public review.

Among those uses could be general retail, including large-format types of department stores, vehicle and equipment sales, a theater complex, restaurants, professional office buildings and lodging.

Other than the total square-foot limit, there would also be no size restrictions on individual store spaces, notes the county staff report, which also recommends denial of the request.

“The result could be a development approaching the size and scope of Glenwood Meadows or a development that is more than twice the size of Willits Town Center, without site plan review,” according to the staff report.

By comparison, Glenwood Meadows has 396,373 square feet of commercial space covering almost 41 acres, and Willits Town Center allows for a maximum of 500,000 square feet on about 15 acres.

Under the county’s zoning regulations, details about how the property might be developed are not required. Once rezoned, however, only building permits are required for development to occur, as long as it meets the standards of the county’s land-use code, staff also explains.

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