Related to alter amenities proposed for Snowmass Base Village
The Aspen Times
Related Colorado will come back before the Snowmass Village Town Council next month with a new proposal for community-purpose facilities in Base Village.
Many in the community expected the Base Village owner/developer to draft a new plan after feedback from the Planning Commission and community on its application to amend the current approvals for the project. But by working with town staff members to agree on a new community-purpose facility, Related is hoping two core issues in the review process thus far will be addressed.
The current Base Village approvals include an aquatic center that was approved as a community-purpose facility in the project. Most residents agreed that was no longer the facility that would serve the community best, but when Related proposed to downsize it and offer a space to Snowmass Discovery to open a center in, the Planning Commission determined the new offerings insufficient.
“I think it has become clear from the staff memo as well as from the Planning Commission recommendation that the community-purpose offerings are not acceptable,” said Craig Monzio, development associate for Related Colorado. “We think it makes the most sense to work with (town) staff over the next three weeks to come up with something we can agree on.”
Another key issue that the Planning Commission was more on the fence about was a decrease in commercial space in Related’s new plans for Base Village. By taking the discovery center out of a prime retail space, more commercial square footage would be added back into the new plans, Monzio said.
He added that the new community-purpose facility will likely address vitality, one of the reasons the town is concerned about landing the right amount of retail space.
“Some of the alternatives we’re exploring for the community purpose would address entertainment,” Monzio said.
The council members reiterated ideas that have been floated before, such as an ice rink, performing-arts center or multipurpose facility housing an auditorium as well as a discovery center.
congestion over Roundabout
That announcement followed a discussion of possible solutions for the intersection of Wood, Brush Creek and Kearns roads, where a roundabout that many in the community no longer support has been planned.
Traffic counts through the intersection are actually down from the early 2000s, according to a presentation by SGM, an engineering firm that the town has hired for the project. That’s possibly due to increased bus participation and the addition of other parking lots in the village, said Mayor Markey Butler.
SGM still believes the intersection could be improved and that a roundabout is the best solution. Roundabouts offer fewer delays, shorter lines and are safer for pedestrians than either traffic lights or stop signs, said Lee Barger of SGM.
Snowmass Resort Conoco is the only private entity directly adjacent to the roundabout site, and its owners are outspokenly opposed to it. Barger pointed out that roundabouts are common all along the Interstate 70 corridor.
“There are gas stations around all of these and they have survived,” Barger said. “It has been tough during construction, … but that’s a function of any place you go.”
The new plans for Base Village are expected to increase vehicle trips by 2 or 3 percent from what is currently approved, said Chris Fasching, of Felsburg, Holt & Ullevig, a traffic-engineering firm hired by Related. However, the worst turning movement in Snowmass is the left turn from Carriage Way onto Wood Road, where Snowmass police officers are often dispatched to direct traffic.
However, Related is proposing that the Base Village Masters Association could take responsibility for traffic control officers and station one at the dropoff for the Treehouse children’s center and at the bottom of Carriage Way.
Jeff Head and Jeff Jandegian, co-owners of the Conoco, again spoke against the roundabout as it is currently designed. They questioned the need for it if vehicle trips through the intersection are down.
They also proposed a different solution for traffic flow in the area, suggesting a roundabout for the bottom of Carriage Way and a stop sign for downhill traffic on Brush Creek Road, among other improvements that they deemed more suitable.
The Town Council ultimately agreed it needed to continue studying possible improvements for the intersection in order to land on the best way forward. Monzio asked if that process could be separated from the Base Village review so as not to hold it up.
The officials left that question for their next meeting April 6, when Related also will return with new ideas for community-purpose offerings.
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