Copper Mountain redevelopment wins nod |

Copper Mountain redevelopment wins nod

Bob Berwyn
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. ” Summit Country commissioners on Tuesday approved a plan to re-distribute about 420 units of previously approved, unbuilt density at Copper Mountain, focusing development in the core of the resort.

Copper officials said the redevelopment will breathe new life into the resort’s base area by building a critical mass of beds and commercial activity with the addition of new residential units and a condo-hotel on the site of the Chapel parking lot.

The approved amendment to the resort’s planned-unit development ” a site-specific master plan ” is a scaled-down version of several previously denied proposals.

The earlier versions included significant new density that was unacceptable to the county.

“We’re very pleased with the approval we received for the PUD amendment today,” said Copper president and chief operating officer Gary Rodgers, thanking the commissioners, as well as county and resort planners for all the hard work on the project.

“The sequencing of any development has yet to be determined,” Rodgers said, explaining that the resort and county still have to nail down the details of the conditions attached to the development approval.

“It’s been a long road to get here,” he continued. “It’s our goal to now move forward and work with all stakeholders on the execution of this plan over the coming years.”

Rodgers was reaching out to Copper homeowners, who continued to voice their concerns with the plan, up until the final vote late Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking on behalf of 50 Copper residents and property owners, Breckenridge attorney Jay Bauer said changes to the golf course and additional residential development in the A-Lift neighborhood will come at the expense of existing residents.

Commission chairman Thomas Davidson said he and his colleagues factored all of those concerns into their balancing act as they considered the resort plan.

Overall, the development will provide significant public benefits, and the amendment falls within the guidelines of existing county regulations, Davidson said.

Those benefits include new trail connections, stream restorations and donations to the Chapel Foundation and the Summit Housing Authority.

In three previous hearings, the commissioners sought assurances that Copper Mountain would deliver all the promised benefits.

Though the final legal language is still in the works, Davidson said he was confident that the resort will be held to a new standard.

“The public benefits are spelled out in great detail. Regardless of a development schedule, Copper Mountain has to provide those benefits,” Davidson said.

Additionally, the resort will be expected to live up to its commitments in several key operational areas, including parking and traffic on Highway 91.

“There area significant enforcement mechanisms if they don’t perform,” Davidson said.

Copper’s commitments go beyond anything previously in effect at the resort, and for that matter, at other resorts in the county, Davidson said.

The key public benefit may be an ongoing funding mechanism, via a redirection of part of the resort’s real-estate transfer tax, to address issues the county determines are particularly important, Davidson added.

The conditions attached to the approval mean the resort “will take care of certain concerns that all the commissioners had regarding the specific terms and enforcement of certain elements of the PUD,” said Commissioner Bob French.

For starters, the county won’t issue a certificate of occupancy for Camp Woodward, an indoor extreme-sports training facility set to open in December, until the resort has met some of its initial obligations, including the donation to the Chapel Foundation, as required under a last-minute condition added by Commissioner Tom Long.

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