By John Colson
Sopris Sun Staff

Although the original plan had been to winnow down a list of applicants for an open trustee seat, the Carbondale Board of Trustees on July 25 opted instead to interview all six of the people who had submitted applications to fill out the term recently vacated by former Trustee Katrina Byars.

The interviews are to take place at the regular meeting on Aug. 8, and the trustees agreed they might go ahead that same night and appoint a new face to the town board.

Byars resigned her trustee position earlier this year due to difficulty in finding affordable housing in Carbondale for herself and her two children. Trustees must live within the city’s boundaries to be eligible to serve on the town board.

Mayor Dan Richardson was the first to suggest that, given the relatively small number of applicants, it made sense to interview all six rather than try to eliminate some names in the interests of reducing the amount of time to be spent in the selection process.

The board decided earlier in the summer to appoint a replacement for Byars rather than put the matter to a special election that would cost $8,000 and take longer than an appointment process, which would leave the board at six members longer than is considered desirable.

The applicants are:

• Colette Armstrong, an internet marketer and resident of Carbondale for about three years, who also has worked as an engineer, a landscaper and an organic gardener, according to her application documents;

• Hank van Berlo, a retired businessman who has lived in Carbondale for more than 20 years;

• Niki Delson, a retired California social worker who retired to Carbondale about eight and a half years ago;

• Julia Farwell, an active volunteer for the Carbondale Environmental Board and a 16-year homeowner in Carbondale;

• Jade Wimberly, naturopathic doctor and part owner of the Lux Wellness Center in Carbondale, who has lived for nearly a year and a half in town;

• Luis Yllanes, who has lived 8 years in the valley, nearly two of them in Carbondale, and has a career history in arts management as well as volunteer work for English In Action, a tutorial enterprise in Basalt; as a sports coach; and as a KDNK disc jockey.

Trustee Heather Henry, who will not be at the meeting on Aug. 8, noted that her absence might eliminate the potential for a tie vote (3-3 because Byars is no longer on the seven-member board) when it comes to picking a trustee. But Henry said she would let Richardson know of her preference for an appointee, which means the potential for a tie still exists.

In other action, the board:

• Granted tasting license renewals for Mary’s Main Street Spirits and Sopris Liquor and Wine;

• Granted special-event liquor licenses for Colorado Animal Rescue, for an event on Sept. 16, and for the KDNK Hootenanny with the Heathens on Aug. 11;

• Effectively rejected a requested extension for an annexation-eligibility hearing for the proposed Heritage Storage business on Highway 133, adjacent to the Rio Grande Trail crossing, to provide more time for ironing out reported conflicts involving the sale of the property to the project’s developer, Dr. Ron Stein of California. The rejection came about due to a 3-3 tie among the trustees, over whether the request was appropriate given the fact that the project has been granted extensions in the past and “it doesn’t look like it’s moving forward,” according to Town Manager Jay Harrington. Three trustees concluded the extension would not serve the town’s interest, enough to tie up the vote at 3-3 (former Trustee Katrina Byars has resigned from the seven-member board), which mean the request was denied, although town officials and the developer’s representative, planning consultant Mark Chain, indicated the proposal will move ahead through the development review process.