Snowmass creates board for second-home owners
Being rich can buy one a lot of things: nice cars, boats, second homes in the mountains.But second-home owners’ influence only goes so far in Snowmass Village. Just ask Anna Spalding.The manager and buyer for the Cool Dog sunglasses shop on the Snowmass mall described one example of what can sometimes be a problematic process of dealing with part-time residents.”We had a locals’ discount [for] anybody who worked in the mall. And then we kind of extended it to worker bees in Aspen, Carbondale or Basalt,” said Spalding, pouring herself a glass of lemonade on a hot, quiet day on the mall. “Then second-home owners started coming up and they’d say, ‘Well, I’m a local.’ It really wasn’t meant for them, someone who has two homes. It’s a gray area, so we changed our system and we charge everybody $5 for a locals’ card. You have to be a local or a second-home owner.”Part-time residents pay taxes in Snowmass Village but do not have the right to vote. Their voice could grow louder, however, with the formation of the Second-Home Owners’ Advisory Board.The Snowmass Village Town Council created the board recently to give part-time residents a chance to add their input and advice on issues affecting the town. The seven open spots drew 16 applicants.”Our goal is to educate Town Council and assist in making decisions,” said Larry Sherman, board chairman, in a news release. He has been a second-home owner in Snowmass Village since 1981.Many council members felt there was a need to get second-home owners involved with the town, said Town Councilwoman Sally Sparhawk. “All the council supported it.”She said second-home owners have a wealth of skills and experience and that many are very committed to Snowmass Village.”They wanted an opportunity to participate more actively,” Sparhawk said.Asked if full-time residents might resent the advisory board’s influence, she said, “I think that’s always possible. The great thing about Snowmass Village is we have such a diverse population. The important thing [to remember] is they are an advisory council.”Spalding agreed that giving second-home owners a venue is important, saying they are valued customers.”Let’s say people start saying, ‘It’s too congested and crowded to go to Snowmass this year.’ Second-home owners will probably still come,” she said. “So they’re going to be people that I continue to appreciate.”I think they need to be able to have a voice and a way to feel they’re part of the community.”The board will meet occasionally with the Town Council, Sparhawk said.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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