Base Village likely to gain preliminary OK Thursday
The preliminary vote on Base Village will occur Thursday morning, and Snowmass Village Mayor T. Michael Manchester said he expects the massive development to be approved. “I’m anticipating an affirmative vote,” he said. “But there are still a couple issues that need to get resolved and a lot more work to do before we get to final [approval].” If two of the five town councilmen vote no, the development will be sunk. If Base Village is granted preliminary approval tomorrow, a vote on final approval will take place in November before local elections.Aspen Skiing Co. owner Jim Crown said last month that if Base Village is rejected, there will not be a revised proposal in the future. As a result, many supporters of the project feel this is the final opportunity for Snowmass Village to regain its vitality and compete with other major resorts. Opponents feel the project is too large and will destroy the community. Base Village would be built primarily at the base of Fanny Hill, an area that currently comprises Skico maintenance facilities, offices and a dirt parking lot. The development would add more than 640,000 square feet of residential space to Snowmass Village, including 349 condos, 264 hotel units and 10 townhomes. Approximately 64,000 square feet of commercial space, a new children’s center, 11 new restaurants and bars, a four-star hotel and added conference space are other components of the project. Base Village is a $400 million development that would take at least seven years to complete. The Skico and resort developer Intrawest are partners on the project. Included in the project is the mountain master plan – a series of on-mountain improvements – which were approved by Town Council Monday night. The master plan, however, is not a sure thing. If Base Village is rejected, the mountain upgrades will not materialize. The mountain master plan includes an eight-passenger gondola, which will carry skiers from Base Village to Elk Camp in eight and a half minutes; Sam’s Knob Express, a six-passenger lift that will unload at the Sam’s Knob summit and the bottom of the Big Burn area; an open-air cabriolet that will connect Base Village and the mall; replacement and realignment of the Assay Hill lift; and enhanced snowmaking on Funnel, which will provide early season use of the gondola. The Skico also has plans to boost summer activities, including increased horseback riding tours, fishing, new hiking and mountain biking trails, a climbing wall and an assortment of family activities. If the project is granted final approval in November, a referendum can be launched, which will draw a final yes/no vote from the community. Thursday’s meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Town Council chambers and is open to the public. Steve Benson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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