Related gets sent back |

Related gets sent back

Katie Redding
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado

SNOWMASS ” Unanimously, the Snowmass Town Council sent Related WestPac’s version of an “economic safeguard agreement” back to Planning Commission Monday night, arguing the developer had made unacceptable changes.

The safeguard was an idea originally hammered out between Related WestPac and the Planning Commission, in response to the developer’s request to change its Building 12 from small, wholly-owned condominiums to larger, fractional condominiums. The town and the developer differ over whether the fractional aspect will be an enhancement, so the agreement offers a safeguard in the event that it is not.

If the average annual population of Building 12 is less than expected, Related WestPac will add rooms at its proposed conference hotel in West Village. If the building generates less tax revenue than the original projection, the developer will make up the difference in cash.

But councilman Arnie Mordkin pointed to a recently-inserted clause that allowed the developer to pay nothing at all if the average population of Building 12 exceeded expectations, even if there was a lodging and sales tax revenue shortfall.

“I would suggest to you that that is an unacceptable modification,” said Mordkin.

Snowmass Planning Commission Bob Purvis agreed the plan had changed.

“It has shifted enough that it has not achieved what I thought it would achieve,” he explained.

But Scott Stenman, vice president of development for Related WestPac, said the town attorney had told the company to draft its own version of the agreement ” and as the author, it had simply drafted the plan as it would like to see it. He added that the sentences that offended Mordkin were clearly printed in double-underlined blue type and were “an item for discussion.”

Throughout the meeting, Stenman argued that a fractional Building 12 would benefit community businesses because it could be completed approximately two years earlier ” in 2012 ” since it will be offering a different product than its other buildings.

However, when pressed, he acknowledged that a construction management plan written in November of 2007 estimated that original Building 12 would be completed by 2010.

After the meeting, however, Stenman noted that one can no longer work from 2007 assumptions, particularly optimistic ones.

“Things may get absorbed a little more slowly than predicted a year ago,” he said.

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