After years of delays, a new City Market in Carbondale is one step closer to reality.
With things apparently on track for a Feb. 28 recordation, the Carbondale Board of Trustees approved modifications to a subdivision improvements agreement for the property on Feb. 13.
“For the first time in a long time, you have a Carbondale Marketplace item in front of you that doesn’t include an extension,” Town Manager Jay Harrington observed.
The changes to the document itself were relatively minor, with the main modification being a 30 month rather than 24 month construction deadline. That allows the new timeline, which may start with site work late this year, to accommodate some seasonal differences from the original plan.
Another oddity was a plan for two separate financial signers, but compared to previous requests for a bond issue or letter of credit from a foreign bank, the Town apparently found the proposal reasonable.
As the document itself notes, “the existing grocery store is the highest tax generator in town. It is hoped that an improved and updated grocery store would retain shoppers in town and capture out of town shoppers.”
The unanimous decision came without public comment and after “a short discussion on a long document” as Mayor Dan Richardson observed.
The side of the tracks
When the railroad shut down in the early ’90s and the Roaring Fork Transit Authority took over the Rio Grande right of way, it created some odd pieces of property around the edges. One such is a narrow 3,778 square foot parcel on the corner of Seventh Street and Cleveland Place that, until now, was deemed a problematic site for a house.
But times have changed. Having her property zoned transit wasn’t a big deal for Cindy Suplizio back when the right of way hadn’t even been fully surveyed yet, but now she and her husband are trying to find a foothold in an expensive market.
“We’re looking to come back to the Valley and be here, and we’d love to build a small tiny home there,” she said.
The problem is, while the property has street access, it’s surrounded on two sides by the old rail corridor, now in use as a bike path. While the trustees in general and Ben Bohmfalk in particular supported the rights of the property owners, he had doubts about the wisdom of the enterprise.
“I think people will be shocked,” he said. “I don’t think people will be please that there’s a house right on the trail.”
He further noted that there may be a train there again someday, and questioned whether the owners would be back to complain if so.
“I’m all for public transit,” Suplizio countered. “We’d love to have a train, and if it was right next to us then so be it.”
The only public comment came from a neighbor, Patty Zucco, who had more questions than explicit concerns, though she did assert that “it’s just too high density right there on the corner.”
In the end, the vote to rezone to medium density residential was unanimous, with Richardson pointing out that “at the end of the day, they own the property.”
“I’m optimistic that it will look nice and be one of those quirky things that makes Carbondale, Carbondale,” he added.
Night up the light
With just a couple months left before the end of his final term, Trustee Frosty Merriott has at least one more cause to champion: a view of the stars.
“What I want to do is be vigilant on protecting our night sky views,” he said as the board reviewed the municipal lighting ordinance in preparation for a tour of town next week.
“There are some egregious violations of the old lighting code and the new UDC lighting code,” he added. “I think we’ve got a good code in place, we just need to enforce it.”
Specifically, he pointed out requirements that illuminated signs be off within an hour of a business closing and that security lighting be on a motion sensor after midnight.
One of the problems with enforcement, Harrington noted, is that most of the people who might do something about it don’t live in town and thus don’t see the violations.
“Lighting compliance needs time set aside when it’s dark for enforcement and documentation,” he said. “We actually memorialized the complaint based approach in the code. (Valium) ”
In what proved to be a shorter-than-scheduled meeting, trustees accepted a new chip-and-seal contract that’s actually cheaper than last year’s, although the use of a polymerized oil instead of fog sealing for retention may result in different aesthetics. They also backed a proposal to allow residential units on the ground floor in commercial/retail/wholesale zoning, inked a deal with LBA Associates of Denver to provide waste diversion consultation and approved several liquor licenses — with Merriott and fellow trustee Marty Silverstein covering the fee for one particularly heart-wrenching cause.