FedEx looking at other sites for packaging center
Federal Express officials are now looking at other potential sites in the Glenwood Springs area for a new regional package sorting and distribution facility, following continued concerns from city officials about traffic impacts at a planned south Glenwood site.
Company representatives were scheduled to appear before Garfield County commissioners Monday with what was to be a request to modify two conditions of approval from the county. Commissioners earlier directed FedEx to work with the city to pay $585,000 for improvements to Airport Road and to dedicate a piece of land for the future South Bridge project.
Citing the city’s objections, FedEx has asked to give the money and make the land dedication instead to the county.
Davis Farrar of Western Slope Consulting, representing FedEx on Monday, requested a continuance until the Nov. 10 county commission meeting while other options are being explored.
“Federal Express is investigating some other properties in the Glenwood Springs area, and needs some time to complete that process,” Farrar said at the meeting.
Farrar said afterward that the focus continues to be on the Glenwood area, and that FedEx’s existing Carbondale location is not being reconsidered.
Should a new site be found, it would mean starting the land-use process over, either with the county or the city, depending on the location. That would also mean construction could not begin this fall, as FedEx had originally hoped, he said.
As it stands, though, FedEx still has its approval from the county commissioners to build a 27,000-square-foot warehouse and ground distribution center on about 9 acres situated southeast of the Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport outside city limits.
Since that Sept. 8 decision, though, Glenwood City Council has expressed its disappointment with the county for disregarding its recommendation to deny the project.
Council members have expressed serious concerns about the impact of a projected 230 added vehicle trips per day, including large and small FedEx delivery trucks, across the 27th Street bridge and along the South Midland Avenue/Airport Road corridor.
Last month, City Council was unanimous in asking the county commissioners to reconsider their 2-1 decision to approve the project, and also asked city staff to pen a letter to FedEx officials asking them to rethink their plans.
Council also voted 4-3 to reject the company’s county-directed offer to pay for the Airport Road upgrades, including a 2-inch asphalt surface. The other part of the deal is to dedicate a strip of land that could serve as a west landing point for the South Bridge connection to Highway 82, when and if that project is built.
City leaders have said any major new development in the south Glenwood area or up Four Mile Road is premature until the necessary street system upgrades, and ultimately the South Bridge project, are built. With a preliminary cost estimate of around $40 million and no funding source, however, that project remains a long-range prospect.
County Commission Chairman John Martin said last week he stands behind his vote to approve the distribution center, pointing to the existing industrial and commercial zoning that surrounds the planned site. Commissioner Mike Samson joined Martin in that decision, while Commissioner Tom Jankovsky voted against it, also citing traffic concerns and inadequate road infrastructure.
The new FedEx facility is intended to replace one in the Carbondale Industrial Park east of Eighth Street that serves as its regional distribution center for the Roaring Fork Valley. The company says it has outgrown that location, and had hoped to begin construction on the new facility this fall.
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Former Carbondale trustee Katrina Byars said she wants to bring a voice of environmental sustainability to the commission, and believes her opponent has served long enough.