Economic Impact Review – Carbondale, CO

Date: 2 Dec 2008 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In November 2003, after three years of debate and a voter referendum that demonstrated strong opposition to sprawling shopping centers, Carbondale, Colorado, enacted an ordinance that requires the town’s planning staff and Board of Trustees to weigh the community and fiscal impacts of a large-scale retail proposal before deciding whether to approve or deny the project. The ordinance applies to any retail development larger than 15,000 square feet in neighborhood business districts and those larger than 30,000 square feet in other areas.

Carbondale, a community of 5,200 people in the Roaring Fork Valley between Glenwood Springs and Aspen, has a lively downtown of locally owned businesses. In 2000, a developer proposed building a 252,000-square-foot shopping center anchored by a Target superstore on the edge of town. The center would have been about the size of all of the town’s existing retailers combined.

Citizens and local businesses fought the development. A grassroots group, Mountain Folks for Global Justice(MFGJ), urged the Board of Trustees (equivalent to a city council) to reject the project and proposed two ordinances—a size cap of 60,000 square feet and a set of impact assessment standards and criteria for proposed stores over 20,000 square feet.

The Trustees eventually approved the shopping center, but their decision was overturned by a citizen ballot initiative. The Trustees then passed a modified version of the impact assessment ordinance proposed by MFGJ. The ordinance requires developers to submit information and meet criteria in five areas (called “elements” in the ordinance): environment, traffic, community, utility, and fiscal impact. The fiscal analysis will be performed by a consultant selected by the city. Developers pay a $4,500 fee to cover costs.

Under the standards, retail developments may not place more demand on public services than they generate in tax revenue, negatively impact water quality, create excessive traffic congestion, or over-burden utilities and infrastructure. The assessment also consider how the project would affect the availability of affordable housing (i.e., whether new low-wage retail jobs would create a shortage of affordable units) and whether the project’s design reflects Carbondale’s character.

The standards are less stringent that the ones originally proposed MFGJ. For example, MFGJ’s proposal called for the city to consider how a development would impact employees at existing businesses and whether there would be a net increase in the number of jobs.

The text of the ordinance is below. Also see: Town of Carbondale Community Impact Assessment Guidelines and Review Criteria


Carbondale, Colorado – Ordinance 27, Series 2003 – Amending Muni Code – Community Impact Assessment

ANORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE TOWN OF CARBONDALE, COLORADO, AMENDING CERTAIN SECTIONS OF AND ADDING CERTAIN SECTIONS TO THE CARBONDALE MUNICIPAL ZONING CODE TO PROVIDE FOR A COMMUNITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT FOR CERTAIN TYPES OF DEVELOPMENT WITHIN THE TOWN OF CARBONDALE

WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees has considered whether it is appropriate to adopt an ordinance providing for a Community Impact Assessment to be made in connection with certain types of development within the Town of Carbondale, Colorado; and

WHEREAS,the Planning and Zoning Commission of the Town of Carbondale considered this issue at public meetings held on April 12, June 21 and 28, July 12, September 13 and 27, and October 11 and 25, 2001, and at a public hearing held on November 29, 2001, and recommended adoption of certain Zoning Code amendments; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees of the Town of Carbondale considered this issue at public meetings held on February 19, March 5 and 19, and May 21, 2002, and August 12, 19 and 26, and September 2, 9, and 16, 2003, and at public hearings held on January 22, 2002 and February 12, 2002, during which public hearings, the Board of Trustees heard and considered the statements of Town staff, members of the public, and reviewed and considered all other relevant documents and information presented at such hearing, all as required by law; and

WHEREAS,the Board of Trustees of the Town of Carbondale finds that it is appropriate to amend the Zoning Code as set forth below;

NOW,THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE TOWN OF CARBONDALE, COLORADO, that the Carbondale Municipal Zoning Code shall be amended by the additions and amendments as set forth in Exhibit A, attached hereto and incorporated herein by this reference.

INTRODUCED, READ, AND PASSED this 25th day of November, 2003.

THE TOWN OF CARBONDALE ______________________________

By: Michael Hassig, Mayor
ATTEST: Suzanne Cerise, Town Clerk


EXHIBIT A

Section 18.20.015(E) shall be added as follows:

E.Community Impact Assessment. Any residential development which shall generate more than 500 ADT (Average Daily Trips) shall be subject to a Community Impact Assessment review process and approval criteria are outlined in Section 18.55.090 of the Carbondale Municipal Code. For mixed use projects (commercial and residential), 1,000 ADT is required in order to have a development subject to Community Impact Assessment process.

Section 18.25.015(I) shall be added as follows:

I.Community Impact Assessment. Any proposed development in the following commercial zone districts which exceeds the minimum threshold square footage size requirements indicated below is subject to a Community Impact Assessment. Review procedures and criteria for the Community Impact are outlined in Section 18.55.090 of the Carbondale Municipal Code.

Zone District HCC CT PCC CRW A C

Minimum Threshold (sf) 30,000 15,000 30,000 30,000 30,000 15,000

1.Application. The minimum threshold criteria shall apply to all square footage under roof within the proposed project boundaries with the exception of square footage devoted to parking requirements.

2.ADT threshold. Any development proposed for a Commercial Zone District which exceeds 500 Average Daily Trips (ADT) shall be subject to a Community Impact Assessment. Review process and approval criteria are contained in Section 18.55.090. Any mixed use project (residential and commercial uses) which exceeds 1,000 ADT shall also be subject to a Community Impact Assessment.

3. Waivers. At the direction of the Board of Trustees, any grocery store, medical establishment, or educational facility which exceeds the square foot minimum specified in Section I.1 above is not subject to the Community Impact Assessment procedures. Medical establishments include medical clinics, health facility related offices and wellness centers.

Section 18.30.015(E) shall be added as follows:

E.Community Impact Assessment: Any proposed development to be located in any Industrial Zone District which generates more than 500 ADT (average daily trips) shall be subject to a Community Impact Assessment. Review process and approval criteria for a Community Impact Assessment as outlined in Section 18.55.090 of the Carbondale Municipal Code.

Section 18.35.020(I) shall be added as follows:

I.Community Impact Assessment. Any proposed PUD application which generates more than 500 Average Daily Trips (ADT) for a residential only project or more than 1,000 ADT for a commercial only or mixed-use project shall be subject to a Community Impact Assessment. Review process and approval criteria for a Community Impact Assessment as outlined in Section 18.55.090 of the Carbondale Municipal Code.

Section 18.55.090 shall be added as follows:

CommunityImpact Assessment. Any development that is larger than a minimum threshold building size or which generates a certain amount of traffic in terms of ADT is subject to review by the Town Planning and Zoning Commission and approval by the Carbondale Board of Trustees. The purpose of the review is to ensure that the Town has the ability to address and mitigate any adverse impacts or consequences that may result from construction of such a project.

A. Who must apply. The owner or an authorized representative of the proposed project shall apply for a Community Impact Assessment.

B. Process. The following process shall be followed in the application for and processing of a Community Impact Assessment:

1. Step 1– Pre-application meeting. The applicant or an authorized representative is required to meet with the Town Planning Director in order to become familiar with the Town’s requirements, criteria and regulations. At this pre-application meeting, the Town Planning Director shall preliminarily review the project and determine if such proposed project meets minimum square footage threshold or ADT requirements for review. If the proposed project is subject to a Community Impact Assessment (CIA), the Planning Director shall initially determine which individual study elements within the five subject areas need to be addressed in the CIA.All application requirements, fees, and other related information are included in the companion document titled Carbondale Community Impact Assessment Guidelines and Review Criteria, dated November 25, 2003, and as may be amended from time to time. The Town Planning Director shall check any required information to be submitted in the five matrix study areas identified in the Carbondale Community Impact Assessment Guidelines and Review Criteria.

2. Step 2 — Advisory meeting with Board of Trustees. The Planning Director shall present an overview of the project and the individual study menu items deemed suitable or appropriate by Staff at a regular meeting of the Carbondale Board of Trustees within (22) days of the formal pre-application meeting. Applicant may appeal any study requirements indicated by Staff. The Board of Trustees may affirm Staff study requirements, grant waivers for good cause, or add other individual items to be included in the study area matrices of the CIA review.

3. Step 3 — Submittal application. A completed application for a CIA shall be submitted by the applicant to the Town Planning Director at least (30) days prior to the date when the application will be considered by the Planning and Zoning Commission at a public hearing. Application requirements are detailed in the Carbondale Community Impact Assessment Guidelines and Review Criteria. The application shall generally include:

a. A letter requesting a review of the proposed plan for the building project.

b. (20) sets of 11×17 plans showing site plan, utility plans, drainage plans and any other related documents that can be shown in graphic format.

c. (3) sets of the above mentioned plans in a 24×36 format.

d. (20) sets of a narrative explanation of the project as well as any other narrative outline in which the applicant describes the project, outlines any required issues or potential impacts of the project, outlines the mitigation of any impacts, why the project meets the development standards of the appropriate Zone District, and sets forth why the Applicant believes the project should be approved by the Carbondale Board of Trustees.

Note: For the Traffic & Fiscal Impact Elements, the applicant shall provide background information to the Town and the Town retained consultant, at the expense of the applicant, shall perform the study and provide the results to the Town Staff and Board of Trustees.

e. Background information regarding the Applicant, including detailed information about prior development experience, references, and financing for the project.

4. Step 4 — Public Notice. Public notice regarding the hearings of the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Trustees shall be provided as described in Section 18.55.040.

5. Step 5 — Planning and Zoning Commission Public Hearing. The Planning and Zoning Commission shall conduct a public hearing on the application. After the public hearing, the Planning and Zoning Commission shall recommend that the Board of Trustees either approve the application as submitted; approve the application with conditions as may be necessary to fulfill the applicable purposes set forth for the Zone District and in the Carbondale Municipal Code and to protect public health, safety and general welfare; to deny the application for a specific reason; or to continue the public hearing to a specific date, time and location for the purpose of obtaining and considering further information.

6. Step 6 — Board of Trustees Public Hearing. The Board of Trustees shall conduct a public hearing after notice as required by Chapter 1.20 of the Carbondale Municipal Code and outlined in Section 18.55.040. At the hearing, the Board of Trustees in its discretion may approve, approve with conditions or deny the application, or may continue the hearing to a specific date, time and location for the purpose of obtaining additional information.

a. Approval of a CIA review. In the event the Board of Trustees chooses to approve an application, the Board shall make findings that the following land use regulations and criteria are met by the application:

i. The proposed site, building or development plan meets the regulations for development standards as specified for the use and Zone District in which the use is proposed.

ii. The site, building or development plan will not have an adverse impact on the traffic on State Highway 133, or any other street within the Town of Carbondale, or that the Board finds such impacts are sufficiently mitigated and are acceptable.

iii. The proposed project meets all of the standards and criteria submitted in each individual study area of the CIA.

iv. The proposed project is compatible with the character of Town.

v. The proposed project generally meets the guidelines of and is consistent with the Town Comprehensive Plan.

C.Standards and criteria for Community Impact Assessment. The Board of Trustees may review any one or more of the individual elements within any of the five defined study areas. These items shall have been determined in Steps 1 and 2 above of this section. The Board of Trustees will use the standards and criteria to help evaluate whether a project should be approved, denied, or approved with conditions which are intended to help mitigate potential adverse impacts to the community, neighborhoods, Town streets and highways, and Town infrastructure.

D. Duration of approved plan. A Community Impact Assessment approval shall remain in full force and effect for a period of three years from the effective date of the ordinance of approval. Approval shall lapse if construction of at least 50% of the total square footage of the approved project is not initiated within the three year period. Applicant/owner may request that the Board of Trustees extend this time period, which request may be granted at the discretion of the Board of Trustees.

E.Development of project. Construction of the project shall be stopped if there is any deviation from the plans upon which approval of the Community Impact Assessment was granted, unless such change was previously approved by the Board of Trustees.

F.Variances and concurrent development applications. An applicant may request, concurrently with the Community Impact Assessment application, a variance from the applicable Zone District development standards, standards contained in the Carbondale Community Impact Assessment Guidelines and Review Criteria or any other applicable development standard or guideline by including the variance request in the application and by complying with the appropriate public hearing notification requirements. The applicant may also request that any other land use application processes be held concurrently with public hearings for a Community Impact Assessment (e.g., Special Use Permit).

Section 1.30.010 shall be amended by the addition of the following:

Type of Application Fee

Community Impact Assessment $4,500.00

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Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which partners with a wide range of allies to implement policies that counter concentrated power and strengthen local economies.