Planning commission gives co-op boutique thumbs up

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Two Craig residents passed the first hurdle in their goal to open a boutique featuring Yampa Valley crafters Monday night when the Craig Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of their application for a conditional use permit.

Melody and Tammy Villard plan to open Villard Bertique in June, a co-op featuring their own handmade crafts and those of other Yampa Valley artists, at 2435 E. Victory Way.

"There are a ton of people doing little things, but they can't afford store space," Melody said.

Wares will include unique handmade baby blankets, layered ingredient jars, soaps, pottery and candles, among other locally made items. There will also be a display of antiques and "junque."

Villard Bertique will boast a play area for children and will offer a men's shopping service, where men fill out a form listing lots of important, but sometimes forgotten events -- anniversaries, birthdays and secretary's day.

They'll get a call before those days and an offer to deliver a gift basket or hand-crafted gift.

The store will also deliver kids gift baskets -- ways to reward children for good work or as gifts for special events.

Planning commission members had questions about how the business would impact traffic on the little-traveled road.

Tammy said she hoped the business would increase traffic, but that it wouldn't impact safety.

The planning commission recommended the conditional use permit be issued for a period of one year. If no complaints are received in that time, there will be a chance to extend the permit for a longer period of time.

The Craig City Council has the final say on whether a conditional use permit will be issued. The issue will be on the March 23 council agenda.

The owners of Villard Bertique expect to be around for the renewal and are optimistic about the businesses' chances, despite its location "off the beaten path."

"We have tons of ideas for advertising," Melody said, "and both of us talk enough to get the word out."

Villard Bertique is partly a sentimental investment. The home was left to Melody and Tammy's husbands by Albert Villard -- hence "Bertique."

Information about the business, display opportunities and some of the items that will be offered will be available at the Spring Expo, coming up in April at the Centennial Mall.

Crafters interested in display space can call 826-9773.

In other business, the planning commission unanimously recommended an an off-street parking and landscaping plan presented by First Christian Church be approved. The church is adding a 14,708-square-foot multipurpose building at the back of the existing Victory Way facility.

Plans presented to the planning commission included more than twice the required amount of landscaping and the construction of a sidewalk five feet wide along the church's Victory Way frontage.

"They far exceed our landscaping standards," city Planning Director Dave Costa said.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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