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June 18, 2014
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Related hopes to submit new app for Snowmass Base Village by mid-July

Related Colorado hopes to submit an application to extend its development rights in Base Village by July 15.

That’s what its president, Dwayne Romero, told a crowd gathered in the Town Hall council chambers on Wednesday.

The Snowmass Village Town Council, the town Planning Commission and Related have been holding a series of pre-sketch plan meetings to discuss the stalled development. This was the final meeting and the one at which Related responded to the input provided by residents, stakeholders and public officials at the first two meetings.

The majority of participants in the second meeting said they supported extending Related’s development rights if certain conditions were met, Romero said during his presentation.

“The vesting extension and the amount of support for moving forward was one of the big ‘ahas’ for us,” Romero said. “We expected more negative feedback.”

While Related has been clear that it was asking for the extension — it had an application for that on file earlier this year — it might not have been as clear that it was willing to commit to conditions, Romero said.

Romero said his company would propose a series of milestones that it must achieve or the town could discontinue the development. The milestones — or “kill switches,” as he called them — that he would propose are submitting applications for Lots 2, 3 and 4; making certain public improvements; finishing construction on Lot 8, the second phase of the Viceroy building; and completing construction on Lots 2 and 3, all by certain dates.

Related plans to request that the rights be extended to Nov. 3, 2019.

Planning Commission member Jim Gustafson said he felt that the vesting timeline could be tightened up and wanted to consider “guarantees and penalties” as opposed to “kill switches.”

Planning Commission member Tom Goode said he felt it was certain that the vesting extension would be approved.

“We don’t have much choice on that,” Goode said.

However, some members of the public didn’t feel that way. Resident Arnie Mordkin encouraged the officials to consider suspending the development rights, as opposed to granting or denying the extension.

“The community has had a kill switch for the last five years,” Mordkin said. “What good did that do us?”

The town should stick to the land-use application process outlined in its code but also think creatively, Mordkin said.

Other issues

Another important takeaway Related got from the second meeting was that many residents no longer felt an aquatic center was imperative for the development, Romero said.

While most participants did say that at the meeting on May 29, some said otherwise at Wednesday’s meeting. The discussion at both meetings centered around the aquatic center as a “community purpose,” but to Planning Commission member Bob Sirkus, a pool in Base Village would serve visitors more than residents.

“I think it’s important to keep that differentiation in mind when we think about what the right amenity is for Base Village,” Sirkus said.

In addition, Jim DeFrancia, speaking for the Capitol Peak and Hayden lodge owners, said those buyers had expected some kind of aquatic amenity to be built when they purchased their units.

The public improvements that Romero said his company would commit to were the roundabout, the overlay of upper Wood Road, the entrance to the parking garage and a community facility.

Planning Commission member Patrick Keelty said the roundabout and Wood Road improvements should be the last projects completed because they will be used heavily during the rest of the construction in Base Village.

“Getting that device, the roundabout, installed may be better for overall public safety,” Romero said. “We can make an argument in either direction.”

Either way, this next application would make it a question of “when,” not “if,” he said.

Mary Butler, a resident on Wood Road, said the starting point for Related showing its commitment to the town could be the roundabout.

“I want a roundabout, and I want it now,” she said.

Moving forward

Councilwoman Markey Butler kept her comments brief, saying that she hopes with this application, Related will submit a framework of its plans for the future.

Romero did tell the room that his company has two letters of intent from companies that would be “major players” in the new master plan. He also said his company will likely propose transforming Lot 3 from condo units to a vacation-club building and Lot 2 from condos to fractional residences.

Councilman Chris Jacobson asked Romero how he should judge whether Related’s application would be good for the community.

“You have a baseline condition called the status quo to measure it from,” Romero said. “And I think we collectively … are all at a point where we recognize status quo’s not working.”

Jacobson also asked why construction had not begun on the second phase of the Viceroy, approved last fall.

That comes down to “supply and demand,” Romero said. Related is still selling residences in the existing Viceroy building.

“Why on God’s green earth build something that competes with the existing inventory that you have?” Romero said.

At the end of the meeting, Mayor Bill Boineau asked the Town Council members if they felt Related should start work on a plan.

“I think it’s imperative,” Councilman Fred Kucker said.

Romero said his team felt comfortable beginning work with the information they had.

jbeathard@snowmasssun.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Jun 19, 2014 11:20AM Published Jun 25, 2014 09:56PM Copyright 2014 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.