Krabloonik swap nixed, but new plan emerges
Aspen Times Staff Writer
`The Snowmass Village Town Council Monday rejected a complicated land-swap proposal from the owner of the Krabloonik restaurant and dog-sled operation.
But the board encouraged Dan MacEachen and his attorney, David Myler, to bring back a potentially simpler proposal that would allow the town to buy the 1.7 acres where Krabloonik operates and then lease it back to MacEachen at an affordable rate.
“The candle is still burning,” MacEachen said after the meeting, implying there was still hope that a deal could be worked out that would keep the popular dog-sled operation up and running.
On April 8, the Town Council will sit in its role as owner of a town-owned parking lot to consider the new deal, which will be a variation on the land-swap proposal that the council has been considering for the last year.
The land-swap concept was given a thumbs-down by the council because it didn’t seem to provide a good value to the town.
“I can’t give away an asset of the town,” said Councilman Arnold Mordkin.
Under the new scenario that Myler is charged with drafting, the Divide Homeowners Association and the Snowmass Land Company’s Norman Perlmutter would have to agree to lift the deed restrictions on the town’s parking lot.
Then the town would sell the one-acre parcel as a single-family home site for perhaps as much as $2 million.
With that money, the town would then buy the 1.7-acre Krabloonik parcel and create a replacement parking lot to serve Krabloonik and the public.
If the town and Krabloonik could work out what both consider a fair price for the Krabloonik property, and if they can develop a mutually acceptable lease agreement, then there is a chance that the three main parties in the deal could walk away satisfied.
“It’s a different way of skinning the same cat,” Myler told the council members.
For their part, the Divide homeowners would rather see a nicely landscaped home at the entrance to their subdivision instead of the town-owned parking lot.
And for the deal to work for them, the Divide homeowners want to place restrictive covenants on the Krabloonik land so that the town, at some future date, could not build employee housing or a commercial building on the site.
“We are extremely concerned about who our neighbors are and how they might change in the future,” said Ken Roberts, a member of the Divide Homeowners Association board of directors.
Under the deal, MacEachen would recoup the $1.4 million he paid to buy the land that Krabloonik operates on, plus, potentially, whatever increase in value may be warranted. And, with the right lease, he would be able to continue to run the dog-sled operation and restaurant, which would include a new, more convenient parking lot.
And at the end of the deal, the town would own a valuable piece of land and would have created a situation where a valuable resort amenity could operate for at least the next 10 years.
In order for the deal to work, MacEachen would have to give up ownership of the land, and the town would likely have to give up some of the potential development options on the Krabloonik site.
“I’m willing to entertain transferring the asset to preserve the amenity,” said T. Michael Manchester, the mayor of Snowmass Village.
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