Marketplace still not approved

Lynn Burton

Crystal River Marketplace, the proposed 252,000-square-foot shopping center on Highway 133, continued its tumultuous voyage through Carbondale’s review process for a second full year. It still is not approved. Highlights from 2002 included:-In early June, the Carbondale Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval 3-2, but with 39 conditions that included giving the town veto power over the largest tenants.

Within days of the P&Z vote, developer Brian Huster withdrew his application to develop the 23-acre, commercially zoned property, citing among other reasons, “the fact the town is … hopelessly divided on this subject.”-Less than a month later, the Carbondale Board of Trustees voted 4-3 to ask the developer to resubmit his development application.-The developer asked the trustees to place the project on the November ballot as a referendum question, but withdrew the request.-Trustee review continued through the summer and fall. After a pair of special trustee meetings that focused only on the Marketplace in December, the application was continued to the Jan. 8, 2003, meeting.Huster first proposed Crystal River Marketplace in 2000. The plan called for a cluster of “villages” with a 12-screen movie theatre, space for Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities performing art center, retail space, restaurants and housing.After residents protested the original plan’s size and scope, Huster presented a less ambitious project in 2001 that included space for a 125,000-square-foot anchor store such as a Target, plus other commercial space.The group Mountain Folks for Global Justice protested both plans, but the developer found support among some members of the business community and residents.Key issues include $7 million to $9 million which will be needed to improve Highway 133 to offset Crystal River Marketplace’s projected impacts. The developer has agreed to pay $2.8 million toward Highway 133 upgrades.

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