Snowmass council decision jeopardizes Limelight in Base Village
February 27, 2014
The Snowmass Village Town Council Tuesday upheld a determination by the community development director that Base Village developer Related Colorado says could impact the future of a proposed hotel there.
Related was appealing the classification of its application to extend its development rights in Base Village as a major amendment, meaning that it would have to prepare a sketch plan of the project in addition to other review processes. After a lengthy public discussion, the council affirmed interim Community Development Director Mark Kittle's decision, even though representatives of Related said adding the step could delay construction of the proposed Limelight Snowmass.
Aspen Skiing Co. has applied to build a hotel similar to the Limelight in Aspen in place of an approved condo building in Base Village. It has not yet purchased the lot from Related.
The Limelight application currently is being reviewed by the Planning Commission, and Skico would like to start building this spring. However, the pending contract between Related and Skico has certain contingencies, said Related Colorado President Dwayne Romero.
““It’s about time in my opinion and I think in the opinion of many in this community that this council stood up and said ‘Enough is enough. Don’t procrastinate; don’t waste our time and then come say ... you have to bail us out.’”
Snowmass Village resident
One concern for Skico is assurance that it can receive a certificate of occupancy once the hotel is complete, said CEO Mike Kaplan. Completion of a roundabout at Wood and Brush Creek roads is required for the certificate, and Related is tying completion of the roundabout to the vesting discussion.
In addition, Skico wants to build the Limelight in order to "get things going," Kaplan said.
"If we go through all that brain damage and all that effort, … we get nervous as investors saying Limelight is the next front and behind that is a fence and some unbuilt buildings," Kaplan said.
Mayor Bill Boineau said that he thinks the process could still end in time to help Skico meet its goal.
"In my own personal thinking, I was hoping we would have had some of these discussions," Boineau said.
Romero said last fall that Related would submit a plan for the overall Base Village project by the end of 2013. The lack of a sketch plan for the future of Base Village was one of the reasons Kittle cited for determining that a major amendment process would be beneficial to the town. The application requests to extend Related's right to develop Base Village past its November expiration date.
Councilwoman Markey Butler said she was frustrated that the process was dragging on.
"Process is our worst enemy at times," Butler said. "I'd love to see us begin to not focus on process as our product."
Snowmass Village resident Arnold Mordkin commented that process is important.
"It's not important if you get caught in it, but it's important because it provides certain things to you," he said.
Related was seeking to shorten the process because it procrastinated, Mordkin said.
"I would submit to you that what you need to focus on is … what is beneficial to the community?" Mordkin said. "What can you do in a sketch-plan review that you cannot do in a preliminary-plan review?"
Mordkin added that the council could later waive the roundabout requirement for the Limelight.
"It's about time in my opinion, and I think in the opinion of many in this community that this council stood up and said 'enough is enough,'" Mordkin said. "'Don't procrastinate; don't waste our time and then come say … you have to bail us out.'"
"We're here in February, not because staff or the (community development director) or somebody else didn't perform," said Councilman Chris Jacobson. "I don't understand the thinking of the applicant relevant to that."
The council voted unanimously to affirm Kittle's classification.
After the vote, attorney Joe Krabacher, representing Related, pointed out that town municipal code doesn't allow for two major applications — the Limelight hotel amendment is also a major application — to be reviewed at the same time. He asked if the council could waive that, and he also asked if he could submit a request to waive the sketch plan.
Boineau advised him not to do that.
"I don't think that I can support that," Boineau said. "We could look at dual major applications at the same time, but I really believe this community needs to have that discussion."