County bends to allow giant Snowmass sign |

County bends to allow giant Snowmass sign

Allyn Harvey

The Snowmass Village Town Council showed up in force at the county courthouse yesterday to put the finishing touches on their vision for a “revitalized” community – a large welcome sign at the intersection of Highway 82 and Brush Creek Road.

And in a bow to their fellow elected officials, the Pitkin County commissioners voted 3-1 to change the county sign ordinance and allow the sign, despite protests by area residents.

The sign and its stone-faced base will straddle the median that extends up Brush Creek Road from the highway, spanning nine-feet, eight-inches between the two lanes. The total height of the sign and base will be five-feet, eight-inches. But the median itself is several inches above the road surface, so the sign will be taller than indicated in documents provided to the commissioners.

Current plans call for planting between four and six spruce trees behind the sign to provide a backdrop to the words “SNOWMASS VILLAGE, Town Center – 5.0 miles.”

“This things smacks of Aspen Glen – the idea that once you get through the entrance and behind the sign, everything will be different,” said attorney Boots Ferguson.

Ferguson represents Brush Creek Village, the subdivision on the hillside overlooking the intersection. One road into the neighborhood is located about 100 yards behind the proposed sign site.

“The reason the homeowners feel the way they do about the sign is they are not part of Snowmass Village,” he said.

Commissioner Patti Clapper said the sign reminded her of Avon, the suburban community a few miles outside of Vail. Commissioner Leslie Lamont also expressed concerns about the aesthetics of such a sign.

Snowmass Councilman Doug Mercatoris said the sign was one of the finishing touches on a 15-year effort to “restore and beautify” Snowmass Village. It will be one of seven large signs informing travelers along the road that they are approaching or have actually arrived in Snowmass Village.

Neither he nor Mayor T. Michael Manchester nor Town Councilman Kevin Costello were willing to considers suggestions from Commissioners Mick Ireland and Shellie Roy Harper that they settle for six signs.

Lamont eventually joined Ireland and Harper in approving changes to the county code to allow it.

“I don’t want to stretch the code in a way that might be interpreted as iffy, but nor do I want to trample the vision of Snowmass Village’s elected officials,” said Ireland.

Once a code amendment is drafted, the proposed sign will come before the county commissioners for final approval.

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