Yllanes appointed back onto Carbondale Board of Trustees

Newly reappointed Carbondale Trustee Luis Yllanes speaks during a March 2022 candidates forum at Town Hall.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Luis Yllanes’ break from serving as a Carbondale Trustee was short-lived.

The Carbondale Board of Trustees on Tuesday appointed Yllanes to serve out the remaining two years of a vacant board seat over two other applicants, Jess Robison, who, like Yllanes, was a candidate in the April election, and Carbondale native Kade Gianinetti, who sits on the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

Factoring heavily into the board’s decision was the fact that Yllanes was the fourth-highest vote-getter in the April 5 municipal election to fill three seats on the town board.

That election saw the reelection of Erica Sparhawk to another four-year term as trustee, along with newcomers Chris Hassig and Colin Laird.

The fourth trustee seat was left vacant after former Trustee Ben Bohmfalk was elected in the uncontested race for the mayor. Yllanes will serve out the final two years of Bohmfalk’s term.

“After serving one term, I thought it was important to continue some of the work that we have started,” Yllanes said in his interview with the board for the appointment during the regular BOT meeting Tuesday night.

“These next two years are going to be critical … and the town is at a crossroads now,” Yllanes said, referencing the recent donation of several undeveloped parcels of land in the downtown core to the town, general traffic and transportation infrastructure concerns, and issues such as securing more affordable housing and limiting short-term rentals of residential properties in town.

As the newly named executive director for the 5Point Film Festival within the last year, Yllanes said he now has a broader view of the outdoors culture and its tourism potential that has built up around Carbondale.

At the same time, “A lot of people see Carbondale as the last truly authentic place in the valley, and it’s important for the town to maintain that identity,” he said.

Although there were five candidates who missed the cut in the April election, only Yllanes and Robison put in for the vacant seat. Former candidate Zane Kessler lent his support to Yllanes, and candidates Colin Quinn and Frosty Merriott decided not to seek the appointment.

“We only have one spot, but I wish we had three,” Bohmfalk said in encouraging Robison and Gianinetti to stay active on the civic front.

Robison, who works in the construction business, said it was interesting to hear the perspectives of residents when she was out campaigning, especially on development and affordable housing.

“We need to find a middle ground, and have a collaborative approach to serve the town in a better way than we’ve done in the past,” she said.

Gianinetti is a multi-generational native of Carbondale from a long-time ranching family. He spoke in his address to the board about the need to balance development and growth with preserving the agricultural heritage of the area.

“At 18, I moved away and couldn’t wait to leave,” he said. “It took me 12 years in Denver, dealing with a lot of larger governments as the owner of several small businesses, to make me realize I wanted to come back.

“We have to figure out how to grow and evolve in this community, and how we use the land. … It’s not an easy topic, and that growth changes a lot in the way Carbondale is seen,” Gianinetti said.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or

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