Citizens weigh in on future of Snowmass | AspenTimes.com

Citizens weigh in on future of Snowmass

Charles Agar
Aspen, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” More than 60 people at an instant keypad voting session Wednesday voiced their opinions about the future of Snowmass Village.

With cranes hovering over the Base Village project, voters at the Snowmass Conference Center expressed concerns about future development and the lack of affordable housing.

The event kicked off a public process that will help Snowmass Village officials update the town’s comprehensive plan, a blueprint for future development or redevelopment of areas like West Village and the mall.

“I think it was a really positive forward-looking beginning,” Councilman Reed Lewis said.

And while Wednesday’s crowd was the usual cast of characters ” those present were mostly long-time, year-round locals aged 35 to 65, according to results of the vote ” Lewis said he hopes the upcoming Dec. 20 session and future public processes will attract even more people.

Town staff first presented the group with some benchmark data about Snowmass Village ” a gloomy portrait pointing to a need for affordable housing and parking, as well as data about the town’s skyrocketing home prices and aging population. Then a hired consultant asked those present to vote for what they want to see in the future.

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Voters said their top priority for the town was their concern for the “character and scale” of future development, followed by an interest in more affordable housing.

And in a series of questions about hopes for development, more than 30 percent of voters consistently voted against any further growth.

Participants then worked in small groups to brainstorm about what’s working in town and what they’d like to see in the future.

“It was fun to talk about what I love about Snowmass,” said Page Shuck, a part-time resident.

And feedback from groups ranged from praise for the town’s safety, great skiing, small-town feel and convenience, to a call for more balance between the resort and the community, improved transportation, more affordable housing and green building.

There will be another keypad voting session Dec. 20, when participants will have a chance to debate a handful of scenarios for the town’s future.

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