And Wednesday, March 21, HARC approved the Clark’s project by a 4-1 vote.
The plan is for a three-story building, with an expanded grocery store that will include 20,000 square feet, four units of employee housing and six new free-market condominiums at the current Clark’s Market property and parking lot at 666 W. Colorado Avenue. The project would add 13,000 square feet to the grocery store, and the building total will be 58,000 square feet.
HARC Boardmember Sonchia Jilek, standing in as chairman over the Clark’s proposal with the regular chairman, Chance Leoff, recusing himself due to his home’s proximity to the project, registered the dissenting vote.
“Every time I look at this project, I still have issues which I certainly feel like we are disregarding,” she said. “I think there have been a lot of improvements, but I still think we are disregarding certain guidelines.”
The project’s parking plan, she said, was “first and foremost on my mind.” The expansion will include 88 parking spaces, most of them in front of the building, but also including 24 spaces beneath the building.
Yet, with the exception of a new requirement for exterior lighting to minimize upward luminescence tacked onto the approval by HARC Boardmember Brian Werner, the rest of the board gave its approval with relatively little criticism.
The project, once it had reached HARC, had endured just about everything, including a denial by the board, mostly concerning the issue of “mass and scale.” Then, two Telluride Town Councilmembers, Stu Fraser and Andrea Benda, called the matter back up to the council, which sent it back to HARC for another try.
After one previous HARC work session last month, the “mass and scale” issues were resolved, as well as other items that had been required, according to Mike Davenport, the town’s historical planner.
“It appears to be in compliance with various matters with the Land Use Code,” he told the board. “It appears the project does comply …”
Only one member of the community appeared before the panel to comment on the project Wednesday night, and that comment was a rave review of the changes that had been made since Clark’s had originally submitted the proposal three years ago.
“It’s come a long way,” said Matthew Hintermeister. “At first I was really concerned, but I’m really happy with where it is now. I think we have gotten to the mass and such that’s certainly acceptable.
“Considering the other benefits to the town, I think it’s a great project.”
Clark’s project architect Dan Hunter successfully negotiated a gauntlet of requests for changes from HARC. For example, he was finally able to reduce the “mass and scale” quandary by creating a step-back design on the west side of the building, and by reducing the size of the windows on the upper two floors.
Davenport said with the minor refinements, the building is actually 900 square feet smaller than it was before the project was originally denied. Nevertheless, the revised plan “still complies with the minimum requirements for (affordable) housing,” he said.
Boardmember Harley Brooke-Hitchings before making the motion to approve the project said, “I’m so glad to see the old Clark’s tower going away.”