Re-1, Carbondale trustees hold summit on the North Face
The Roaring Fork Re-1 School District and the town of Carbondale are in the fast-break mode, working together so the district can close on the North Face property in June.The wheels started turning at Tuesday night’s Carbondale Board of Trustees meeting, when the district announced it has the 24.5-acre property under contract. Besides using the property for schools, the district also has its eye on affordable housing.”Our two top priorities are building schools, and housing for certified staff,” school board President Robin Garvik told the trustees.Carbondale’s trustees were enthusiastic about the district using the North Face for schools and housing. But the property’s zoning must first be changed or amended, and both organizations have their own interests to protect.The school district isn’t releasing the purchase price, but the property is listed for $5.95 million, according Mark Wyman, the seller’s agent.Wyman told trustees the North Face is giving the school “a substantial reduction in price,” because the school district thought it could get the deal done quickly.”The seller wants it (done) in a reasonable time frame,” said Garvik.A previous deal for the North Face property fell through this year when a California developer failed to receive town approval for a proposed residential project.Glenn Chadwick, special attorney for the school district, said the closing date could possibly be extended beyond the eight-week limit.The North Face property is vacant pasture land on Highway 133 at the south end of Carbondale. The town zoned the property commercial business park to accommodate North Face plans when the property was annexed into town.Garvik said the district doesn’t have a specific plan for the property, and development might be 5 to 10 years down the road.She said the district was meeting with trustees to understand the approval process and timelines.One issue the town and school district must work out is whether to amend the zoning to allow housing and schools, or change the zoning to Open Space/School Zone, as town planner Mark Chain recommended.”I’m leaning heavily toward rezoning it,” said Trustee Fred Williams.”It has some exciting possibilities,” said Trustee Scott Chaplin.Besides zoning issues, there are at least two other issues complicating the process.-Carbondale and the North Face entered into a contract when the property was annexed, which will be passed on to subsequent owners. The contract requires the property owner to extend utility lines to the south end of the property. The property owner is also obligated to fund Highway 133 upgrades.-The school district is also negotiating a land swap with the Church at Carbondale, located next to Crystal River Elementary School. The swap would allow Crystal River Elementary School to expand, and the Church at Carbondale would relocate to the North Face property.In the end, the Carbondale trustees instructed staff to determine if there were any deal-breakers in the school district’s proposal. Both staffs will work to isolate issues that must be resolved.Trustees will meet in a closed-door session next week to discuss negotiations. Town planner Chain said the zoning application could go to the Planning and Zoning Commission as early as June 13, and to the Board of Trustees as early as June 25.After the meeting, Roaring Fork Superintendent Fred Wall said he couldn’t reveal when the contract closing date is, other than it’s in June. Wall said he is optimistic the details can be worked out within eight weeks to allow the deal to go through.In a press release, the school district said funding for the North Face property would come from school land dedication fees collected on new development in Garfield County and in Carbondale, cash reserves and long-term financing.
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