A little ‘more’ moratorium in Snowmass | AspenTimes.com

A little ‘more’ moratorium in Snowmass

Charles Agar
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” Nobody’s making a move in the Snowmass Village mall until the end of July.

On Tuesday, the Snowmass Village Town Council approved the first reading of a plan to extend the building moratorium on the West Village and Faraway Ranch North areas until July 31.

The council approved the original emergency moratorium in October 2007 to give staff time to complete the comprehensive plan for the area.

But with a May deadline for finishing the plan and an April 15 expiration date on the moratorium, council members were concerned about new building applications during the gap and proposed a six-month extension to the moratorium.

Related WestPac CEO Pat Smith, however, said the extension could damage relations with West Village investors.

Smith said the Base Village developer is not planning anything in West Village for at least four or five months. Smith suggested a business agreement between his company Related WestPac, the majority owner in the area, and the Town Council to prevent any new development until the comprehensive plan is finished.

“Honestly, we don’t have anything we’re considering,” Smith said, adding that a six-month extension would damage the company’s reputation.

“It sends the wrong signal to some of the financial institutions,” Smith said. “It just sends the wrong signal to investors.”

Smith said he was “here to cooperate” on Tuesday, but said he would “rather do it in a businesslike fashion” instead of with a moratorium.

“There’s nothing that this extension does that can’t be changed by another ordinance,” Snowmass Mayor Douglas “Merc” Mercatoris said. “I don’t see this as locking us into six months at all.”

“I’m sensitive to the fact that lenders are concerned about this kind of thing,” Councilman Arnie Mordkin said. But a moratorium, he added, is the only way to protect the community in any event (such as a change in the investment group in the area).

“I think the most important thing is to protect the community,” Mordkin said.

Smith was the first to suggest a shorter moratorium, and, in the end, the council unanimously approved an extension of the building moratorium until the end of July instead of October.

Town Attorney John Dresser said the council could extend the moratorium at will in the future.

The board will vote on a second reading of the moratorium extension at their next meeting. And, if approved, the ordinance would come before the board again in June, in time to assure that the area comprehensive plan is completed on schedule before there is any building.


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