Carbondale's community connector

Long-discussed projects about to go vertical

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“It’s going to be a busy year in Carbondale,” Town Planner Janet Buck observed after Trustees approved steps for three different developments on Jan. 8.

In each case the process has been — and remains — incremental, but in each case, actual construction is imminent. Chief among them is the new City Market building, about which Trustee Ben Bohmfalk noted he is frequently asked.

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Tuesday night’s approval was of a partial release of letter of credit — followed almost immediately by a similar request from First Bank. The final step will be a building permit which, according to Town Manager Jay Harrington, should be filed in the spring. After that, “it takes eight or nine months to build a building and four months to stock it, actually,” he said. That means folks could be lining up to shop in 2020.

“When we see progress like this, it seems much more tangible,” Bohmfalk said.

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Also on the agenda was a development approval agreement with Sopris Lodge, a senior living complex across the Rio Grande Trail from downtown. The immediate issue was water rights and Ecological Quality Ratios, among other minutiae.

“It has taken a while to get through this process,” Buck noted. “There are a lot of moving parts to the application.”

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Bohmfalk also expressed concerns about the plan for Second Street, which will see pavement and sidewalk improvements to support additional traffic.

“Right now it’s a little dead-end lane and it’s suddenly going to become a major connection to a  major development,” he said.

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Project Manager Terry Claassen assured him that the final design, which the developer will foot the bill for, had plenty of public input. “From the conceptual stage last February to now it’s come a long way. It’s fully engineered and it’s ready to go.”

Per staff recommendation, trustees approved the documents before them. Still pending is letter of credit a building permit and a final signed license from the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority for access across its right of way. In the meantime, demolition and site work is expected to start as soon as February.

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One aspect of the meeting that inspired minimal debate was the passage of the final calendar of special events for 2019. Recently, a Special Event Task Force has vetted the agenda, providing public feedback earlier in the process.

“Years back this would have been your most contentious meetings of the year,” Harrington  noted. “I think bringing neighbors and promoters together and working on a number of issues before it even gets in front of you has been really productive.”

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