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Self storage hearing continued to Nov. 10

Locations: News Published

Carbondale’s Board of Trustees crept a step closer to approving a proposed 590-unit self-storage facility near the intersection of Cowen Drive and Highway 133, though there remain some concerns among the trustees and some members of the public.

Among the issues yet to be worked out by the town and the developers are questions about how motorists would get into and out of the site from Highway 133, and whether a proposed “voluntary” 2-percent per-unit fee — anticipated to generate $20,000 per year meant to be split between the town and the Carbondale Arts organization for maintenance of infrastructure and artwork installed at the site — is sufficient.

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In addition, the trustees discussed two letters from interested citizens — former Carbondale Mayor Michael Hassig and Jason White, a planner for Roaring Fork Transportation Authority — that questioned the whole idea of having the self-storage project built at all in its proposed location, and whether this particular business is appropriate smack in the middle of the area long characterized as the “entrance” to Carbondale.

Consideration of the project application, including annexing and rezoning the property, conducting a Major Site Plan Review and a requested Conditional Use Permit, was continued to a meeting on Nov. 10.

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The project, including an apartment for an on-site manager, would be built on a 2.6-acre parcel on the west side of the highway, sandwiched between the Roaring Fork Tire Center to the north and an Xcel Energy electricity substation to the south, with a mobile-home park immediately to the west of the site.

The site currently is located in Garfield County’s jurisdiction, as are several adjacent properties, and the application anticipates annexation of the land into the town, which puts it under the town’s review rather than the county’s.

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Some members of the Board of Trustees, starting with Ben Bohmfalk, noted that if the town does not approve the site plan in some form, it is likely that the developers could turn to Garfield County for approval under the county’s less stringent development controls.

During the Oct. 13 online board meeting, questions arose about the proposal to have entry and exit from the site restricted to “right-in” and “right-out” turns only.

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This would force drivers leaving the property to turn right, toward Mt. Sopris, and find a place to turn around if they wanted to head north toward Highway 82. At the same time, drivers approaching from the south, prohibited from turning left into the site, would have to bypass the entrance and find a place to turn around, come back from the north and make the right-turn into the site.

The applicants believe that this arrangement can work due to the low volume of traffic expected at the business, but there were concerns among some town officials that it could lead to confusion and safety issues.

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As for the fee, some officials wondered if the $20,000 will be adequate for the task of maintaining infrastructure, including trails, and the artwork that is meant to beautify the complex.

In other action, trustees…

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  • Held the first of several public hearings on the town’s $18.7 million budget for 2021.
  • Increased the trash-hauling fee for town residents and businesses by 1.9 percent, which translates to about $1 per month for each customer;
  • Announced that the Board of Trustees will begin holding meetings in-person beginning with next week’s work session, though the public can still participate via Zoom.