Results hearten Skico, Intrawest officials |

Results hearten Skico, Intrawest officials

Steve Benson

More than 60 percent of Snowmass Village residents are in favor of Base Village, according to a poll conducted in early September.A variety of questions were posed to 130 registered voters, or about 10 percent of the electorate, who were randomly selected to participate, said Polly Briley, public affairs manager for Intrawest.But perhaps the most intriguing question, and response, was centered around the community’s acceptance of Base Village. A final vote on Base Village from the Snowmass Village Town Council is expected in late October. If the project is approved, a citizens referendum may be launched that would draw a final vote from the community.The poll may provide some insight into the outcome of that vote. While the results of the poll – taken between Sept. 2-8 – have not been officially released, several members of the Aspen Skiing Co. were notified of the major responses.”Some of the [data] is very cryptic,” said Bill Kane, Skico’s vice president of planning. “But the one key question was whether you were supportive of Base Village or not. About 65 percent were in favor and 35 percent were opposed.”While the numbers appear promising for Skico and Intrawest, partners on the project, Kane said it’s too early to get excited.”You have to look at those numbers and hope they’re correct,” he said. “If they are that’s encouraging, [but] you certainly don’t want to count your chickens before they hatch.”Still, Kane can’t help but wonder if residents’ feelings are shifting. The project has long been the center of intense public debate, but lately much of the opposition has been silent.”People have heard enough, and they’ve learned a lot,” he said. “And you trust there has been enough give and take to bring it along to where the best interests of the town are being represented.”But is a referendum in the best interest of the town? Kane doesn’t think so, and not just because it could derail the project.The Skico, Intrawest and the Town Council have been reviewing Base Village for nearly four years. The application has undergone intense scrutiny from the council, and several compromises have been made.Kane questioned whether the ordinary citizen is familiar enough with the project to make an informed decision.”There are no standards, no requirements to read the submission, the consultant reports or to study the plan,” he said. “Do you like a system whereby you go through a four-year process … and hundreds of hours of government review only to have [citizens] overturn the work of the elected official?”The referendum really poses that question.”Steve Benson’s e-mail address is