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Byars to resign from board at end of June

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By Will Grandbois
Sopris Sun Staff Writer

Carbondale’s cost of living has finally caught up with Trustee Katrina Byars.

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“I’ve really put my heart and soul into trying to make my life work here, and it’s just not in the cards for myself and my kids,” she announced as part of her comments at the start of the June 13 Carbondale Board of Trustees meeting. “It’s been an honor and an extraordinary opportunity to serve with each of you. I’m confident that this board represents many things that are dear to my heart.”

Byars was elected to the position in 2014, making her the second longest serving member of the current seven-person board. A single mother, she found herself without a place to stay in April 2016 when the house she was renting was put on the market. The family opted for a couple of months of couch surfing to maintain residency and keep Byars on the board before she found a more stable option. She also got a job managing the Dandelion Market food co-op, but was one of several staff members cut recently in the organization’s ongoing struggle with a rental challenge of its own.

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Now, Byars explained, she’s making the move to Glenwood Springs at the end of the month, and will have to step down after the June 27 meeting. Several of her fellow board members expressed surprise and dismay at the news, but Byars assured them that she would continue to do everything she could to support the community.

Back to business

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After the trustee comments and the usual opportunity for general public feedback, the board launched into the actual agenda.

First up was the rezoning of the KDNK radio station at 76 S. Second St. from Residential High Density (R/HD) to Historic Commercial Core (HCC). According to station manager Gavin Dahl, the rezone is intended to allow broader use of existing facilities, but not lead to any alterations to the building itself.

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“What we want to be able to do is, within fire code limits and neighborly behavior, have DJ meetings or classes or forums or jam stations — basic functions I would have anticipated for a radio station,” he told the board, adding that while KDNK is nonconformist in culture, it wants to conform with the code.

Consultant Bob Schultz also noted that, should KDNK or a future owner want to take advantage of the zoning with a future building, there would still be a height step-down and setback requirement on the side adjacent to a residential zone.

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“I think it’s a continuation of a pattern that just exists in town,” Schultz said. “It’s just once again making the zoning and the comp plan match what’s been going on for a very long time.”

With no takers for public comment, the board approved the rezoning and a corresponding modification to the lot’s role in the comprehensive plan.

Next, the board heard a presentation from Historic Garfield County, a proposed special district that organizers hope to put on the fall ballot.

“It’s a constant financial struggle to keep the doors open … We need a solution to make historic preservation viable in Garfield County,” explained Matt Annabel of the Mt. Sopris Historical Society, one of seven local organizations involved in the proposal.

Under the plan, Historic Garfield County would be granted a .45 mil property tax — roughly $3.24 per $100,000 valuation for residential and $13.05 for commercial — amounting to about $1 million from Carbondale to Parachute. A county-commissioner appointed board would dole out the proceeds to local historic organizations in the form of annual assistance and project focused grants. For more information, visit historicgarfieldcounty.org.

“This proposal is really an opportunity for every citizen in Garfield County to share in the protection of who we are and where we live,” Annabel said.

Trustees also approved the adoption of a climate action plan aiming for a 100 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 — which precipitated some applause — and a water utility rate increase that will take effect July 1 — with markedly less celebration.

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