Base Village reductions draw citizens’ applause | AspenTimes.com
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Base Village reductions draw citizens’ applause

Steve Benson

Something amazing happened in Snowmass Village last night. The amended Base Village application, presented to the Town Council by an Intrawest official, drew applause – yes, applause – from more than 100 citizens who had filled a conference room at the Silvertree Hotel. And when the meeting was opened to public comment, only one local resident complained about the project’s overall size, which has been a focal point of communitywide debate and discontent for several months.”I think there are a lot of changes they have made, and people appreciate that,” Snowmass Village Mayor T. Michael Manchester said after the meeting. “It was great to see people come and listen to get a better understanding. We saw that more today than at any other time – it wasn’t just people standing up and telling us how bad it was for one reason or another.” But there were other concerns expressed, and it is still too early to know whether the reception to Monday night’s presentation by Michael O’Connor, Intrawest vice president of development, represented the community embracing the major development. “That’s a hard call to tell the truth,” Manchester said, adding that it often depends on who’s in the audience on a particular day. Last night’s meeting was the first of several regarding the amended application, which is basically a revision of the original application that the council began reviewing in October 2003. All of the changes made in the amended application were a direct result of feedback from the council since last October. “We want the council and the audience to come out of this meeting feeling better informed,” O’Connor said. “In the past six months we [have] been listening and talking to so many interested parties, and this is their chance to see their input reflected in the amendment.”Most of the changes have been known for several months, such as the reduction of commercial space from 94,074 square feet to 63,377 square feet. But the alterations weren’t made official until last night. “Most of the stuff council had seen before, but a lot of the community hadn’t seen it yet,” Manchester said. The most noteworthy new changes include the reduction in size of several buildings, such as the elimination of two stories from a building and the improvement of architectural quality and design in several other structures. As the council prepares to review and respond to the numerous details in the application, the public has also turned its attention to the project’s intricacies. Several residents peppered the council and Intrawest with questions regarding noise and water pollution, parking, transportation, jobs and the phasing of construction.Mayor T. Michael Manchester responded by saying, “I don’t want anyone to think we have finished this process by any means.”The council is still working through a lot of issues, [and we’ll] continue to deliberate on the details.”We’ll probably be meeting every Monday for a while.” A Web site, http://www.basevillagesnowmass.com, and a new Discovery Center in parking lot A at the base of Fanny Hill in Snowmass Village were both created last month to provide additional information. Steve Benson’s e-mail address is sbenson@aspentimes.com


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