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Board of Adjustment still not sure what’s next for 728 Euclid

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The three-year roller coaster controversy over a building permit for 728 Euclid Ave. continues.

At its Aug. 19 meeting, the Board of Adjustment (BOA) unanimously voted for a continuance of the public hearing process and the appeal by neighbors objecting to the project. The next hearing will be Tuesday, December 3, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

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The BOA recommended that Kiernan and the appellants meet beforehand to reach a compromise in the complex situation. While both sides question if that can be accomplished, they remain optimistic.

Property owner Pat Kiernan has been arguing with the local group over the mass, scale and use of the property located in the Carbondale Old Town Residential (OTR) zoning district. The OTR ordinance was originally passed in 2008 and amended in 2018 to reduce its geographic size.

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The appellants contend that the town was wrong to issue the building permit.

They also object to the mass and scale of the building and consider it a boarding house rather than the shared-housing permitted under the municipal code. Kiernan responded the town permits up to four unrelated adults to occupy a home.

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Kiernan submitted re-design alternatives Aug. 2, which included four additional parking spaces and varying gables and roof heights. On Monday, he presented several conceptual options designed to break up the exterior visual impact.

Appellant Eric Doud noted, “in the process of developing designs to break up the building into smaller components, the building’s mass has actually increased.” He called this a “watershed issue” which provides an opportunity to address the critical issues.

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The appellants claimed and the BOA agreed, the mass and scale of the building were not substantially altered, as had been requested. Appellants are concerned it is “a giant rectangular box.”

The appellants also objected to the setback and roof  height presented in the new drawings.

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Kiernan, who plans to live in the house, countered that the home would have a net zero energy impact due to its simple design and size. He said, “I don’t know if I can make the changes without a major redesign.” He is uncertain what he will do if the town vacates the building permit.

The appellants also claimed that the Planning and Zoning had not reviewed the specifics of the entire municipal code and requested this be addressed.

During the discussion, BOA hearing chair Jeff Dickinson asked Kiernan if he wanted to withdraw and reapply for a new permit. Kiernan said he did not but agreed to meeting with the neighbors.

The board asked Kiernan to provide more detailed drawings, building elevations, site plan and setbacks, list of materials and floor plans for the next review.

The BOA previously noted, “While the structure may ultimately contain six bedrooms and six and one half bathrooms and three separate entrances, it would contain one kitchen area. The Municipal Code confirms the building would be used as a single dwelling.”

The stated purpose of the OTR is “to allow residential uses and densities that are consistent with the character of Old Town Carbondale. Special emphasis shall be placed on the quality and character of the building environment in the district and the unique lot and home sizes characterizing of the original town site.”

The appellant group includes Mark Mahoney, Richard Marsh, Rita Marsh, Margaret Mathers, Don Gunter, Frank Norwood, Sally Norwood, Mary Whalen and Jerome Whalen.

Kiernan submitted the application for a building permit Sept.16, 2016. Town Building Official John Plano approved the permit March 31, 2017. That same day a group of neighboring property owners filed an appeal to that approval.

Initially the Planning and Zoning Commission (sitting as the BOA) reversed the decision. However, in 2018, Kiernan challenged that reversal in District Court. The court ruled a new hearing was warranted and remanded the case back.

Any final decision made by the BOA may be appealed to the Garfield County District Court within 28 days.

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