PRESERVING THE INTEGRITY OF RVR
RIVER VALLEY RANCH
THE CURRENT SITUATION
The golf course owner/developer (an investment group called Crystal Outdoors LLC) wants to develop parts of the golf course and/or driving range. In June of 2021 they approached the Town of Carbondale in an attempt to change how a Planned Unit Development (PUD), like RVR, can be altered under the Town’s Unified Development Code (UDC). They swiftly retracted their request (August 2021) after RVR mounted an aggressive opposition that included 110 letters to the Town of Carbondale.
THE TOWN OF CARBONDALE “RULES”
“Unified Development Code is enacted to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare and to implement the policies of the Town of Carbondale Comprehensive Plan and adopted area plans…” As mentioned, the UDC clearly states PUD rezoning applicants must have at least 50% approval from real property owners within the PUD to initiate zoning changes.
The Carbondale Comprehensive Plan is an officially adopted policy document that establishes the town’s goals for the future and provides direction for decisions affecting the use and development of land, preservation of open space, transportation systems, partnerships with other organizations, economic growth, the expansion and maintenance of public facilities and services, and the relationship between land use patterns and fiscal policies.
This plan designates RVR as a “Developed Neighborhood” with the “intent to protect existing zoning/approval and quality of life” within the Developed Neighborhoods and for “continuation of the approved/existing uses. Note: the plan is undergoing an update process that began in early 2021.
ORIGINAL RVR INTENTION + DEVELOPMENT REQUIREMENTS
In June of 1994, the 520-acre property (now known as RVR) was annexed to the Town of Carbondale and zoned as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) with the intent of developing 542 home sites with a host of amenities for first and second-home owners. The Annexation Agreement entered between the Town and the developer has the following legal requirements:
- Golf course, driving range, clubhouse, and related facilities shall be privately owned but open to the public at all times.
- Maximum of 685 residential units
- 50 acres dedicated to open space and recreational use
- Resubdivision, splitting, or condominiumization is not allowed
These requirements, covenants, and restrictions on land use are incumbent to the property. They are binding for all future owners, including Crystal Outdoors LLC, the current owner.
All parcels within the PUD are subject to these requirements including Parcel 6 (driving range).
Preliminary plans for RVR were approved
The golf course owner, Dale Rands Group, proposed changing the driving range zoning to high-density housing – requesting the code requirement for 50% approval of property owners only pertain to the owner of the golf course rather than all of RVR.
The Town responded with documentation of original development requirements and the prohibition against rezoning except as provided for in the Town’s development code.
RVR submitted a letter opposing the developers changes and restating the development requirements are covenants running with the land and are binding on future property owners.
Janet Buck, Town Planning Director, then wrote Dale Rands Group’s attorney a letter stating the Town’s position that approval of 50% of all the property owners within RVR would be required for the proposed PUD amendment to allow residential development on the driving range parcel.
The developer filed a notice of appeal of this determination, but never followed through with an appeal.
The golf course was purchased by the current owner for $3.5 Million (from Garfield County Assessor public records)
The Town amended the development code to make it more clear that at least 50% approval from all property owners in a PUD is required for an application to amend the PUD.
Crystal Outdoors, LLC (current golf course owner) sent a letter to the Town of Carbondale requesting a change to the Unified Development Code in order to develop the driving range without the approval of at least 50% of the property owners in RVR.
August 25, 2021
Crystal Outdoors, LLC withdrew its request for changes to the Town of Carbondale Unified Development Code the day before the Planning and Zoning Commission hearing.
2018 REZONING PROPOSAL
TOWN OF CARBONDALE RESOURCES
River Valley Ranch Golf Owners Envision Hotel Resort for Carbondale