Carbondale trustees anxiously grant fifth City Market extension
Trustees approve school district employee housing
Trustees approved a rezoning and major site plan review for the Roaring Fork School District’s employee housing project on Third Street, a project being funded by the school district $122 million bond that was passed by voters in 2015.
Bob Schultz, representing the school district as a consultant on the project, said the funds are there to construct 16 of the planned 20 units for this project. And the school district is exploring how to pay for the remaining units.
The project received praise all around from trustees and staff, as the town’s approval is technically a formality. The school district does not have to get town approval for the project, because it’s essentially at the state level of government, Janet Buck, senior planner, has said. But the school district has jumped through Carbondale’s planning hoops anyway and voluntarily complied with the new Unified Development Code.
Carbondale weighs entering second Thompson Divide litigation
Trustees are also considering whether to support a second lawsuit alongside Pitkin County and Wilderness Workshop concerning oil and gas leases in Thompson Divide. SG Interests, a company that held 18 of the cancelled leases on the Thompson Divide, filed a lawsuit in federal court in February to fight the Bureau of Land Management’s decision late last year to cancel those leases. And earlier this month the Carbondale joined Pitkin County, Wilderness Workshop and others as “intervening parties” to support the BLM’s decision.
This second lawsuit that trustees are considering is still in its early stages. Harrington said late Tuesday that he wasn’t sure whether it had yet been filed or not. The second lawsuit would focus on SG Interests complaints that BLM prematurely suspended leases on Thompson Divide. Trustees made no decisions following the executive session, and the issue will be a regular agenda item during their May 9 meeting.
For the fifth time, Carbondale trustees extended the City Market project’s final plat recordation deadline on the proposed grocery store at Main Street and Colorado 133. But this time trustees voiced a little more distress over the lengthening delay.
Friday would have been City Market’s deadline to record the final plat, but trustees approved a 60-day extension, making the new deadline June 28.
Town Manager Jay Harrington said the decision to continue granting extensions is at the board’s discretion, and that he’s recently received no clear communication from Kroger or City Market on the status of the project.
Joel Starbuck, division real estate manager for King Soopers/City Market, submitted a letter to the board requesting the extension with the same language used in previous requests: “unforeseen capital reallocation by The Kroger Co. remains impactful on the timing of the closing on the subject property.”
The current City Market is already Carbondale’s single biggest sales tax contributor, and the revenue boosting prospects of a bigger, vastly improved grocery store has been talked up now for more than a year.
“One of the main questions I get is what’s going down with this project, when are shovels going into the ground,” said Trustee Katrina Byars. “My confidence in this process, [after repeated extensions] is waning.”
Byars added, “I’m OK with [the extension], but I would like to hold this applicant to getting it done.
“I know we can’t necessarily enforce that, but I think this should already be done. I know this is a big negotiation,” but the town should demonstrate that it expects City Market to hold up its end of the deal, she said.
Mayor Dan Richardson added that he thought that was a reasonable expectation. “We need to know where they’re coming from.”
Trustee Marty Silverstein said he’s not opposed to the extension. “I wish they could get their act together, but I understand it’s not a simple deal, either.”
“There are a lot of moving pieces to this,” said Harrington.