‘Say YES’ group supports town’s VCR approval | PostIndependent.com
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‘Say YES’ group supports town’s VCR approval

John ColsonPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, Colorado CO

CARBONDALE, Colorado – A second organization has been formed with an eye toward influencing the upcoming special election about the Village at Crystal River (VCR) commercial project.Calling itself the “Say YES to Carbondale Citizens Group” and co-chaired by local businessmen John Baker and Frank McSwain, the group announced its entry into the electoral battle Monday.An opposition group, Locals for Smarter Growth, announced its intent last week.The two groups are squaring off over a special mail-ballot election asking voters to either endorse or reject the town board’s approvals of the VCR development.Ballots are due Jan. 31, 2012. The deadline to register to vote is Jan. 3, according to the Garfield County Clerk’s office, which is conducting the election.Carbondale trustees approved the VCR on Nov. 1 and called for an election at the same time. The trustees concluded that residents opposed to the project would hold a petition drive to force the issue onto the ballot anyway.The VCR proposal is the latest in a string of development plans for a 24-acre site north of Main Street and west of Highway 133.In its current form, the approval calls for 125,000 square feet of retail space, anchored by a new 58,000-square-foot City Market grocery store at the north end of the property; 15,000 square feet of office space; up to 164 residential units; and other possible commercial uses, such as a gas station, bank or fast-food restaurant. Later development phases, depending on market demand, could include a hotel, medical facility, senior care facility, school or light manufacturing.Speaking for the Say YES group, Baker said in a prepared statement, “This project is the result of years of working with the citizens of Carbondale, the town trustees, Carbondale P&Z as well as the visionaries of the Road Map committee.”The Economic Roadmap Group was created by the town to come up with potential uses for the VCR property, after the first development proposal by Brian Huster was rejected by Carbondale voters in 2003.Jim Calaway, local philanthropist and treasurer for the group, added, “The Village at Crystal River is a great opportunity to create jobs and get our local economy moving again.”The Say YES group, according to its statement, believes the project will bring shoppers to town who otherwise might not come to Carbondale, and that sales tax revenues to the town will rise as a result.In addition, the statement maintained, “Sustainability and green initiatives have always been a key part of Carbondale, and the Village will bring us the greenest full service grocery store in the state that will follow both LEED and Energy Star guidelines.”The group has a website, http://www.SayYEStoCarbondale.com, that appeared to be under construction at press time Tuesday.jcolson@postindependent.com


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