By John Colson
Sopris Sun Staff Writer
Ron Stein, an endocrinologist living in California, is hoping to develop a three-quarter-acre parcel of land that abuts Highway 133 — between Colorado Avenue and Main Street — as a mixed-use project with rental apartments and commercial businesses.
To do that, he has applied to the town to rezone the parcel from its current PC (planned commercial) to MU (mixed use), in part because the new mixed-use zone in the Unified Development Code (UDC) allows for a blend of residential and commercial uses.
Stein, reached at his office in Burbank, Calif., said on Tuesday the conceptual site plan submitted to the town was designed by architect Raul Gawrys of Basalt.
The application documents refer to the proposal as an example of “an in-fill project which is strongly encouraged by the Comprehensive Plan.”
Town planning director Janet Buck, after confirming that the application has been accepted and is being scheduled for review, noted that the PCC zone was rendered “obsolete” by adoption of the UDC, and that new development proposals are being encouraged to seek rezoning from the PC category to the mixed-use zone.
Buck, in an e-mail to The Sopris Sun, said the UDC permits buildings up to 35-feet in height, and that the town’s comprehensive plan identifies the Stein parcel as being in the New Urban category of uses, as pointed out by Stein’s applications. The PC zone does not permit residential development as a land use.
Stein told The Sopris Sun he has no plans to ask the town to vacate the stretch of Colorado Avenue that separates the proposed development site from the existing Sopris Shopping Center and a complex of storage units just east of the shopping center, both of which Stein also owns.
That shopping center has been home to a number of businesses that have come and gone over the years, including the old Circle Super chain grocery store that became City Market; a Yellow Front store, numerous restaurants, the town’s only printing and stationary shop, the Sounds Easy video store, and others. Current businesses include Ragged Mtn. Sports, Ming’s restaurant, LuLu’s Thrift Shop, Koketa Fashion, Doggone Clean, El Horizonte restaurant and Sopris Crossfit.
Stein tried once to have the street vacated, in order to facilitate a development plan that would have involved use of the street right-of-way, but the idea was rejected by the town.
The new development plan calls for construction of four buildings, two of which would be for commercial uses, and two of which would contain a total of 18 one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, according to diagrams contained within the application.
The commercial buildings would be adjacent to, and face the highway. One is to be a single story tall, and the other is to be two stories.
The apartment buildings, which would be three stories tall, would be in the interior of the property and accessed by a driveway off Colorado Avenue.
Parking would be along Colorado Avenue and in two carports divided by the driveway.
The carports would be situated along the eastern side of the property.
In addition, a pocket park would be created at the northeast corner of the Highway 133/Main Street intersection, adjacent to the existing highway roundabout.
According to town staff, the rezoning application might be subject to a public hearing before the planning and zoning commission in August, and a second hearing before the board of trustees in September.
Stein said “there is not a lot of demand for commercial space” in Carbondale right now, but that there is considerable demand for rental housing, circumstances which led directly to his ideas for the proposed development.
While the apartments would start out as rentals, Stein said, it is possible they might be converted to condominiums available for sale at a later date.
Stein has owned the properties on either side of Colorado Avenue since 1980, he said, and has made attempts in the past to develop the parcel that is subject to the current proposal.
He said he is likely to some day redevelop the Sopris Shopping Center, although there are no plans for that at this time.
Stein noted that he comes to Carbondale several times a year, stating, “I love it there,” and adding that he is hoping to attend the hearings about his development proposal.
Published in The Sopris Sun on July 21, 2016.