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Trustees extend City Market filing deadline… again

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By John Colson
Sopris Sun Staff Writer

Carbondale’s elected leaders on Feb. 28 approved an extension of the plat-filing deadline for the Carbondale Marketplace project (site of a new City Market grocery story,) the fourth time the Board of Trustees has had to do so.
But while the move was unanimous (except for Trustee Heather Henry, who was not present at the meeting), it was not entirely enthusiastic.
“I hope this is the last time we have to do this,” said Trustee Marty Silverstein.
The extension came after a short discussion that included assurances from Town Manager Jay Harrington that it does not appear that the project is threatened with cancellation, though trustees said they keep getting questions from the public about what Kroger, the parent corporation of City Market, is up to.
Harrington said the project team has yet to submit the “covenants” that will go along with the project application, which Harrington said are necessary before the town can accept filing of the final plat for the development and issue a building permit.
But, he continued, the building permit is essentially ready for issuance, contractors reportedly are ready to get started, and Kroger has never indicated it has doubts about building a newer, bigger and more modern version of the City Market store that has served Carbondale for decades.
When asked by Trustee Katrina Byars whether there is a possibility where that property is not going to get done Harrington responded that such a possibility always exists with commercial development.
Until the paperwork is all submitted and signed, he explained, the project could stall.
“It’s still not a done deal until it starts,” he declared.

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Clean energy, zoning map
The trustees also talked with representatives from CLEER (Clean Energy Economy for the Region) and CORE (the Community Office for Resource Efficiency), the town’s main energy-efficiency consultants, about setting priorities for spending $50,000 the trustees have allocated to energy- and environment-related programming in 2017.
Carbondale officials have been working with CLEER and CORE for about a decade to reduce the town’s “carbon footprint” by encouraging energy-efficiency upgrades and alternative energy applications such as solar for businesses, homes and town-owned buildings.
As noted by Harrington, the town has doled out various sums annually, ranging from about $50,000 in some years to up to $125,000 in other years, to help local consumers increase their homes’ efficiency and make use of alternative-energy technology. The consulting agencies, which are paid membership fees by the town, also come up with grants and other funding sources to augment the town’s spending.
The trustees on Tuesday declined to come up with a specific list of priorities, other than earmarking $15,000 of the total funding for low-income residential customers.
Trustee Frosty Merriott at one point suggested using some of the remaining $35,000 to craft an “environmental charter” to guide the town’s future energy-efficiency programming,  but Mayor Dan Richardson demurred, maintaining that such a charter should be generated in other ways, possibly by the town’s staff, rather than paying CORE or CLEER to produce it.
Instead, the trustees directed Maisa Metcalf of CLEER and Marty Treadway of CORE to come up with a list of proposals that are to be reviewed at a meeting on March 14.
In addition, the trustees approved an updated zoning map for Carbondale, which lead planner Janet Buck said incorporated every zoning change or decision made by the town board since 1993, the year of the last update to the zoning map.
According to consultant Nathan Baier, of Roaring Fork Geospatial LLC in Carbondale, the new map is to be posted on the town’s website, with active links to land-use data banks maintained by Garfield County and the town, so that the public at large can use the map to research the current status of specific properties or neighborhoods.
Buck stressed that the town did not change the zoning of any properties in making the map.

In other action, the trustees:
• Granted renewals to a liquor license held by the Mi Casita restaurant and a marijuana business license held by S.P. Carbondale Retail Marijuana Store;
• Approved a special-event liquor license for a fundraising event by the River Bridge Regional Center, a 10-year-old facility that works with abused or neglected children, scheduled for April 29 at the Old Thompson Barn in River Valley Ranch;
• Appointed Trustee Frosty Merriott, the longest-serving member of the board at this point, to be mayor pro-tem, meaning he will fill in for Richardson when the mayor cannot be at a trustee meeting;
• Went into executive session to talk about a lawsuit recently filed by a gas-drilling company, SG Interests of Texas, against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, over recent cancellations of gas leases in the Thompson Divide region. Harrington reported on Wednesday that no decision was made as to whether Carbondale should take part in the litigation, presumably on the side of the BLM in keeping with the town’s stand in opposition to the leases cited in the suit.

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Published in The Sopris Sun on March 2, 2017. 
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