Wild parsnip, sometimes misidentified as poison hemlock, can cause burns and blisters if touched. The plant has been proliferating in a town ditch and will be manually pulled this year. Image by R. A. Nonenmacher, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Carbondale’s most recent Board of Town Trustees meeting saw all trustees in attendance. The agenda included selecting a company to complete the first phase of Eighth Street renovations, putting back out to bid the contract for seasonal yard waste collection, review of the Integrated Weed Management Plan and progress toward regulating short-term rentals.

Within the consent agenda, Robert Schultz Consulting, LLC was chosen to compile information pertaining to the development of 1.6 acres surrounding the Thunder River Theatre Company building, as well as .9 acres across Fourth Street from Town Hall (currently a parking lot).

Schultz will be tasked with helping trustees understand the covenants, subdivision improvement agreements, ordinances, easements and zoning restrictions and limitations that may apply to those properties.

Regarding Eighth Street, Public Works Director Kevin Schorzman informed trustees that costs continue to rapidly increase. “Many project bids are coming in 30% to 60% above original estimates,” he said, as indicated by discussions with other town governments and the Colorado Department of Transportation.

In January 2022, it was decided to divide the project into two phases. The most affordable proposal, offered by Johnson Construction, Inc., was $120,000 more expensive than what was estimated phase one would cost. Schorzman recommended that trustees proceed, commenting, “I don’t think it’s going to get any cheaper in the future.”

“It’s our responsibility to move forward,” agreed trustee Ben Bohmfalk, citing the time and money already expended to reach this juncture.

Trustees unanimously approved the contract for phase one, focusing on the west side of Eighth Street, where there is not currently a continuous sidewalk, for $629,897.

Following discussions at their Feb. 8 meeting, trustees decided, on a split vote, to put back out to bid the contract for seasonal yard waste collection.

Doug Goldsmith, district sales manager for Mountain Waste & Recycling, expressed his dismay. He stated that contract renewal periods are typically more akin to a job evaluation. Given that the company’s performance was praised by town staff, Goldsmith asked that the contract simply be renewed.

Mayor Dan Richardson acknowledged that putting the contract back out to bid, in response to a request made by EverGreen ZeroWaste’s Dave Reindel, was “not due to performance” but fell within the town’s purview, nonetheless.

Trustees Heather Henry, Marty Silverstein and Lani Kitching voted against the motion, which passed by one vote.

Next, details of the Integrated Weed Management Plan were given by Parks and Recreation Director Eric Brendlinger. A resolution adopted in 2019 requires that the town prioritize “prevention, cultural, mechanical, biological” weed management strategies and that chemicals be used only as a last resort. Brendlinger called it “a cultural shift … successfully happening in this town.”

Despite the successes of using steam machine equipment purchased in 2020, Brendlinger asked for approval to use a spot spray application of chemical herbicides targeting the most serious noxious weeds listed by the state on specific town plots.

The Board of Trustees, acting as the Weed Advisory Board, is required to approve the use of any chemical treatment. Meanwhile, the town is mandated by the state to attempt to eradicate certain invasive plants, like absinth wormwood, proliferating in the area.

A detailed description of the chemical herbicides approved for use at specified locations is listed in the meeting packet, available on the town’s website.

Lastly, trustees returned to the topic on short-term rentals, reviewing a phase one licensing ordinance drafted by town staff. The draft resolution, also in the meeting packet, includes several details highlighted with red text. With the incorporation of slight adjustments recommended by the board, the resolution will be voted on at the March 8 meeting.

Deadline approaches!

The deadline to comment on the draft Comprehensive Plan Update is Friday, Feb. 25. The document and survey are available in Spanish and English online (at chartcarbondale.com) and in hardcopy throughout town. The Planning and Zoning Commission, acting as the project steering committee, will discuss the draft again on Feb. 24.