Base Village opponent confident of referendum |

Base Village opponent confident of referendum

Steve Benson

A referendum on Base Village will likely go to a vote, said Jeff Tippett, one of several Snowmass Village residents leading the drive.In order for that to happen, 172 signatures must be collected on a petition. Tippett is chairman of Citizens of Responsible Growth, a local watchdog group that has been opposed to the size of Base Village from the beginning. He said he collected 86 signatures outside the polling center in Snowmass Village on election day last week.”It was a great day,” he said. “Things are progressing well.Tippett said others are also gathering signatures and he’s confident more than 172 signatures have already been collected.”We have a sufficient number,” he said. “I believe we have the 172 based on a telephone poll we did today, but we want a cushion.”If enough signatures are gathered, they must be certified by the Snowmass Village clerk, Rhonda Coxon. If they are certified and the referendum goes to a vote and passes, Base Village will be sunk for good.Tippett said it’s possible some of the signatures may have come from people who are not registered voters, which would invalidate them on the petition.”There are people who have to look at their driver’s license to see what their name is,” he said, adding that some people may have signed their name on the petition differently than it appears on their voter registration.So Tippett and others will continue collecting more signatures this week to make sure they are well over the 172 requirement. The deadline to submit the petition to Coxon is Nov. 16.Still, even if 172 signatures are gathered – about 10 percent of registered voters in Snowmass Village – the referendum will need to be approved by citizens. There are currently about 1,700 registered voters in Snowmass Village, but Tippett said that figure is outdated.”There are dead people on this list and people who moved away 20 years ago,” he said.It’s tough to tell this early in the process whether the community will choose to kill Base Village, but recent developments suggest it will be a close race. In September, a poll conducted by Intrawest and the Aspen Skiing Co., partners on the project, indicated about 60 percent of the town’s registered voters favored Base Village. Ten percent of the electorate in Snowmass Village was polled. Tippett called the poll a scare tactic and questioned its validity. Last March, a citizens initiative that would have changed the town’s land-use code and threatened Base Village was shot down 443-379. But Tippett is confident the community will be on his side next time. “I think it will be close, but I believe we have the majority,” he said. “I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t think we would win.”Base Village would add more than 1 million square feet of development to Snowmass Village, mostly at the bottom of Fanny Hill.Steve Benson’s e-mail address is

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