A little waffling, but well done overall | AspenTimes.com

A little waffling, but well done overall

We have reviewed the Base Village Sketch Plan Resolution that was passed by the Town Council on Wednesday, Oct. 9. We are generally pleased and in agreement with the findings and directions given to the Skico and Intrawest.

The resolution adequately addresses issues that are critical to us such as densities, vertical mass, scale, height, protection of view planes, town core transportation and connectivity, roads, intersection connections, construction phasing, employee housing and ski in/out access.

The Town Council, however, did waffle a bit on mountain improvements. Prior drafts of the resolution stated, “The proposed Sam’s Knob/Burlingame Express lift relocated to the bottom of Fanny Hill to the summit of Sam’s Knob is acceptable. This was in accord with the change proposed by the Skico, Intrawest and a large number of Town residents and guests. The final resolution passed by the Town Council provides that it “… may be acceptable.”

We hope that this does not signal a weakening in the majority of the Town Council’s position previously expressed. Councilman Arnie Mordkin is concerned that summer business on the mall will dwindle to nothing if all lifts start at Base Village. He continues to ignore the fact that the Skico and Intrawest have agreed to build and operate a people-mover connection that will run exclusively from Base Village to the mall.

If the mall owners are willing and able to create an attractive and compelling environment at the mall for our residents and guests, then the new people-mover and town shuttle system will get them there.

We, along with many other concerned residents and guests, strongly oppose starting the new Sam’s Knob/Burlingame Express lift opposite the mall mountain entrance. Its start, logically and conveniently, should begin at Base Village.

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The final resolution rightly directs Intrawest and the Skico to provide a commercial master plan for Base Village in the preliminary plan application. It also provides that the applicants demonstrate their best efforts to help create a commercial master plan for the entire town core, which we assume includes Base Village, Snowmass Center and the mall.

Although in concept this is a good idea, it is a heavy burden to place on the applicant if the mall owners are not willing to participate in the process. To date, they still have not indicated that they are ready, willing and able to join the process.

If the Town Council intends to hold the applicant to this burden, we suggest that the council put all the pressure it can on the mall owners to step forward immediately and begin acting in a responsible and collegial manner.

We thank the Town Council and its staff, the planning department and its staff, the Skico, Intrawest and all of the other interested parties who participated in and devoted many days and long hours to the sketch plan review process.

We now anxiously await the preliminary plan application which will address in greater detail the concepts approved and the directions set forth in the sketch plan resolution.

Mel D. Blumenthal

Enclave Homeowners Association