No proposals yet to run S’mass gas station | AspenTimes.com

No proposals yet to run S’mass gas station

Joel Stonington

Snowmass Village's sole gas station could disappear and not be replaced unless the town finds an operator to build and run a new one. (Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times)

Snowmass Town Council has already decided to put a gas station on town land at the entryway, the only problem is that no one wants to build and run it. Snowmass Village may soon be without a service station because the new Snowmass Center will displace the current Conoco in a little over a year.

The decision to relocate the station to the entryway has been controversial. Some citizens push rushing to build a new one, while others caution that certain economic factors are still in the air, and no environmental studies have been done.

A request for proposals to construct and operate the station was put out to the public on Oct. 23 but garnered no response, said Snowmass Mayor Douglas Mercatoris.

Tonight, a lame-duck Snowmass Town Council will discuss the fate of the station before swearing in new councilmember Reed Lewis.

“I believe Bill Boineau wanted to address the issue,” said Mercatoris, explaining why the old council will look at the gas station issue. “Any decisions will be discussed by the new council.”

A major question dogging the station is whether or not Snowmass will have to subsidize the station in order to keep it.

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Two weeks ago, the town’s financial advisory board recommended the town assess the value of its property. Though the recommendation came as a broad-based report on town property, the gas station would be most affected.

It is unknown, at this point, how much rent a service station could afford in the new location; also unknown is how much the town would have to charge in order to recoup expenses.

Further, no environmental impact statement has been done on the entryway area, which is next to a wetlands. The current station is a state superfund site that is being cleaned up.

Town Council member John Wilkinson said he didn’t think there had been an environmental impact statement, but suggested asking the town attorney.

“I’m not sure,” said John Dresser, Snowmass town attorney. “You probably have to ask the applicants.”

When the current owner of the Conoco, Jeff Jandigan, was asked about an environmental statement on the new land, he said the city should know.

Jandigan, however, did not submit a proposal to run the new station. When asked a few weeks ago if he thought the new station would be economically viable, he seemed unsure.

“It’s not going to be too viable because we’re not allowed to do a lot,” said Jandigan. “We’re going to be very small. If the rent structure is too high, then it won’t be viable. I don’t know exactly what the figure would be. It depends on what they want and what they’ll let us do. We would like to keep the rent structure we have now.”

Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com

The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.

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