More units sought to make Carbondale teacher housing plan financially viable |

More units sought to make Carbondale teacher housing plan financially viable

CARBONDALE, Colorado ” A developer representing the Roaring Fork School District is prepared to ask for an additional 21 to 26 residential units in order to make a proposed affordable teacher housing development on district-owned land financially feasible.

“The economics simply weren’t working,” Chuck Perry of the Denver-based Perry Rose LLC development firm said of the original rezoning plan for the 14.5-acre school campus west of Third Street that was approved by the town two years ago.

A follow-up planned unit development application that was envisioned at that time, but was eventually put on hold due to financial concerns, would have included up to 89 residential units.

The latest revisions, although still tentative and not yet formally submitted to the town, would include between 110 and 115 units.

“We were hopeful that we would get at least one of the two $2 million (state energy impact) grants we applied for,” Perry said at a Tuesday “neighborhood meeting” to unveil the latest proposal to nearby residents.

That would have offset the cost to offer a majority of the units as deed-restricted, below-market housing for teachers and other public employees, he said.

When the grants didn’t come through, the option was to go for additional units as a way to absorb more of the cost, he said.

“By distributing the costs over a larger number of units, it allows us to sell the houses at the prices we’re shooting for,” Perry said.

Perry unveiled the new site plan options to a small group of citizens at the Tuesday meeting, held at the Third Street Center for nonprofits (former Carbondale Elementary School) which sits on the southeast corner of the site.

In an effort to address neighborhood concerns, the site plan itself would be somewhat different from what was previously envisioned. It removes several residential units from the east and south sides of the nonprofits center, and clusters them on what is now a large athletic field situated between Third Street and Weant Boulevard/Highway 133. A parking lot would go on the east side of the nonprofits center.

Replacing the large, single athletic field would be two smaller parks/fields, one to the south of the nonprofits center and the other along Third Street amidst the new houses.

One site plan option puts the park closer to the Bridges Center (former middle school building), and another would shift the park to the south, with houses between the school building and the park.

Also, instead of extending Capitol Avenue through to Highway 133, due to Colorado Department of Transportation concerns, the plan now is to create a new through street connecting Third Street to Weant Boulevard behind the Bridges Center.

The other major site plan change is the addition of a proposed new Carbondale branch library at the corner of Third and Sopris Avenue, where the abandoned tennis courts now sit.

That proposal, endorsed by the Garfield County Public Library Board as its preferred option for a new Carbondale library, is also still preliminary. The library would replace what would otherwise be 12 townhouses on that site. Selling the 13,000 square-foot lot for the library would also help offset development costs.

The library board will host its own neighborhood meeting to discuss the library proposal, tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Bridges Center.

“Any and all sites we have looked at are still on the table,” library board member Bill Lamont told Carbondale town council members during a brief update Tuesday night.

Contact John Stroud: 384-9160

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