Base Village goes to town Monday

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Snowmass Village Town Council will begin reviewing the proposed Base Village project on Monday.

“I think we are all very anxious,” said Snowmass Village Mayor T. Michael Manchester. “It should be a very interesting discussion.”

The Base Village proposal from Intrawest and the Aspen Skiing Co. includes 683 residential units and 151,000 square feet of commercial space at the bottom of the Snowmass Ski Area. It’s one of the largest projects ever proposed in Snowmass Village.

The town’s planning commission endorsed the project, with a myriad of recommendations on June 12, and then passed it on to the Town Council to consider.

The project is at the sketch, or conceptual, level and the planning commission recommended that many of its concerns be addressed at the next level of review, which is called “preliminary” under the town’s land-use code.

On Monday, Intrawest and the Skico will make a presentation to the Town Council about how the project has changed since it was first presented this spring at a joint meeting of the council and the planning commission.

For example, the Skico has changed its original layout for new chairlifts coming out of Base Village and for the type of lift that will connect the new village with the existing Snowmass Village mall.

Also on Monday, the council will work with staff to identify the key issues that the council hopes to focus on early in the process.

According to Manchester, those are likely to include the mass and scale of the project, which includes a number of buildings that are six, seven or eight stories tall, as well as the mix of condos and hotel units that are proposed.

Another key area of discussion is how the new commercial space proposed for Base Village works, or doesn’t work, with the resort’s existing commercial space at the mall level.

Intrawest has proposed building a small gondola to connect Base Village with the mall, but the Town Council wants more information about how the two commercial areas will work together.

To that end, the Town Council has scheduled a meeting on June 28 to meet with some of the owners of existing retail stores on the mall.

“We will get very specific,” Manchester said. “We are looking for a comfort level that what Intrawest is proposing will work, especially as it does require some effort from other owners.”

The sketch plan review of Base Village is expected to take at least eight Town Council meetings, and Manchester said the board might be open to holding more than one meeting per week.

“We have talked about extra meetings,” he said. “We would like to do it as quickly as possible.”