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Carbondale Report: Crystal Outdoors LLC threatens litigation

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The most momentous occurrence at Tuesday’s regular meeting was not on the agenda. All trustees were present with the exception of Ben Bohmfalk.

Representatives of Crystal Outdoors LLC, Dave Myler and Andy Peters, alerted the trustees to what they consider a problem with the town’s unified development code (UDC). Crystal Outdoors LLC purchased the River Valley Ranch golf course in November 2018 and made apparent their plan to construct a boutique hotel on some portion.

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Those ambitions have been blocked by a provision in the UDC, added in 2019, that requires 50% of landowners within a planned unit development (PUD) to approve a PUD amendment if affected by that amendment. According to Myler, over 300 signatures would be required in the case of River Valley Ranch, “a practical impossibility” and “legally unconstitutional” because a landowner is effectively denied a transparent, public process to amend their PUD.

Myler advised the trustees to take the lead on considering code amendments. Peters, an attorney specializing in land use issues, warned that after working with town staff for “the better part of a year,” the board is their “last best chance to do this short of having to go to court to vindicate rights.” Peters claimed the provision is a scheme that eliminates public participation by taking town control out of the process.

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“This is unnecessary,” said Peters. “You have a process that allows you to review PUDs on the merits and say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and you can protect neighbors’ interests at that point. There’s a public hearing. There are multiple public hearings on PUD amendments.”

“I appreciate the request,” responded Mayor Dan Richardson. “I agree with you both that process is really important … Where I respectfully disagree is that we haven’t presented a workable process. And so, right now, to put it candidly, I don’t want to touch this with a ten-foot pole at the board of trustees level.”

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Trustee Heather Henry recalled that, “in concept,” recent UDC updates intended to ensure flexibility around PUDs and even vacating PUDs. She suggested that the issue go through the Planning and Zoning Commission first.

“They’ve been offered that process and they chose to back away from that process months ago.” Richardson concluded, “So, I agree with you and that’s why I’m not willing to entertain it. At least not while I’m mayor.”

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Other actions at Tuesday’s meeting included: the approval of several liquor licenses; non-monetary support for programming by the Human Library project (, as requested by the Garfield County Public Library District; and endorsement of ballot issue A, in favor of a building a new town pool.

Tags: #Anjanette Garcia #Board of Town Trustees #Carbondale #Crystal Outdoors LLC #Dandelion Day #river valley ranch #UDC
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