Friday letters: River Valley Ranch zoning, Crystal Outdoors LLC, and driving range conversion
(Editor’s note: The matter referred to in the following three letters has been withdrawn for now, but it could come back before the town of Carbondale in the future.)
Don’t alter RVR zoning
When we moved to River Valley Ranch, we were drawn to RVR’s natural beauty, open space and the well-planned environment of this lovely community.
This is a multigenerational, active yet peaceful community. In addition to the amenities available to residents, the public supports the golf course and driving range and family sledding in the winter, and the Carbondale community recently embraced a benefit concert hosted here.
A major factor in our decision to buy a home in RVR was the certainty that the well-established town of Carbondale PUD covenants are the clear drivers ensuring the attractiveness of RVR for years to come.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
A hotel and/or high-density housing in place of the current driving range, with transient visitors, a population influx and increased traffic would strain RVR’s infrastructure and negatively impact the RVR community.
We strongly oppose Crystal Outdoors LLC’s seeking to change the PUD rules. Such a proposed change would subvert the integrity of RVR and of the town of Carbondale’s PUD requirements by placing the decision to drastically change this community in the hands of one person, the golf course owner. Any potential change in zoning and use must be supported by, and be good for, the majority of property owners, not simply Crystal Outdoors LLC.
Bob and Jan Hubbell
The owner of the River Valley Ranch Golf Course wants to convert the driving range into a high-end hotel or high-density housing. He knows the community would never approve (as required by the PUD), so he is doing an end-run by asking the town to eliminate the requirement for resident approval of land uses changes in their neighborhoods. As a 17-year RVR resident, I am appalled at this attempt by Crystal Outdoors LLC to change the well-considered rules in Carbondale’s Uniform Development Code solely for its benefit. Not only would implementing this proposal change the nature of the very successful River Valley Ranch community, but it would apply to all current and future PUDs in Carbondale and essentially remove the control that neighborhoods, the Planning and Zoning Commission and the trustees have over the nature of development in the community.
What a can of worms. And next would come a request from him for tax and development fee concessions from the town.
Crystal Outdoors LLC knew the rules when they bought the golf course several years ago. This attempt to circumvent them should be rejected by the town. To even give them consideration would be an affront not only to RVR residents, who have invested many millions of dollars into the community as we know it, but also to all of the Carbondale residents who voted in 1994 to approve River Valley Ranch and to all who live in planned unit developments in Carbondale.
Opposed to driving range conversion
As a resident of River Valley Ranch in Carbondale, I join practically all of my neighbors in opposing the campaign by Crystal Outdoors LLC to overturn the existing Planned Unit Development Ordinance and convert the existing golf driving range to a hotel.
In contrast to the implication in its name that Crystal Outdoors LLC promotes outdoor recreation, this action would destroy a valuable outdoor recreational amenity that is available to the general public for golf at competitive rates and available to winter sledders for free.
In economic terms, the proposed hotel development would produce a financial windfall to the owners of Crystal Outdoors LLC at the expense of a reduced quality of life and associated reduced property values for all RVR residents.
I had a career in civil engineering, which often involves land development. I also have an appreciation for the conservation of relatively undeveloped rural areas and support a continuation of Carbondale’s policy of zoning certain areas within its existing boundaries for commercial development, which would include a hotel.
In fact, I made this comment recently on the online survey on the town’s website regarding the update to its Comprehensive Plan.
Rather than simply opposing the construction of a hotel on the RVR golf driving range, I would be happy to see one constructed along Highway 133, just north of the City Market commercial complex. This is an ideal location in terms of access to transportation and nearby services such as restaurants, sports sales and rental stores. A hotel there would increase the value of the adjoining properties, rather than reducing their value as it would if built anywhere within River Valley Ranch.
This alternative would be better for practically everyone in Carbondale and visitors to it.
Carl Ted Stude
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