Snowmass Town Council adopts Community Connectivity Plan at last |

Snowmass Town Council adopts Community Connectivity Plan at last

Plan first came into fray in 2016

People board the RFTA bus at the Snowmass Village bus stop on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Kelsey Brunner/Snowmass Sun)

It was about darn time Snowmass Village Town Council adopted a Community Connectivity Plan, according to Mayor Bill Madsen and Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk. The plan has been in the works since 2016, and in 2021, the current council made it a goal to adopt the plan. But until this week, it hadn’t been adopted by any sitting Town Council.

“I think we’ve pushed this down the road so far, I think we need to get to a point where we adopt it, and let’s think about what it needs to be and over the next couple of years do another review,” Madsen said at a May 6 council meeting.

“It’s been way too long,” Shenk said.

As of Monday night, “too long” was no longer. All five council members voted to adopt the plan during the meeting, nearly six years after it first came into the fray.

The document totals more than 80 pages with appendices included; it lists more than a dozen goals that focus on linking up the town’s commercial hubs (Snowmass Center, Base Village and the Snowmass Mall, mainly) and improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists all over the village.

It’s not that members have disagreed over the mission to improve connectivity and safety — those are concepts everyone can get behind — but the review process in the past has been bogged down by the details about how the town might achieve the goals laid out in the plan.

In the meantime, the town has already completed some of the projects proposed in the plan, like implementing crosswalk signs with flashing beacon lights, and the wheels are in motion for other pedestrian safety improvements along Highline Road and the section of Brush Creek Road known as the Donny White Curve.

Town Manager Clint Kinney described the approach so far as a “proactive” one that can work just as well in the future to prioritize projects that are identified in the plan.

“I think that’s the easiest, and probably the most beneficial thing you could do from a staff perspective is say, ‘There are 12 projects identified or whatever the number is, and this is the top priority for you guys,’” Kinney said. “And the council did that last year with the Donny White Curve and Highline: ‘That’s identified, and get it done.’ And so you took those projects, and you put them on the top.”

Councilman Bob Sirkus said he wanted to ensure that the connectivity plan wasn’t a set-in-stone commitment to projects that future councils would be obligated to budget for and implement.

“I don’t want to tie the hands of future councils with this document. … There needs to be enough flexibility, you know, within the document itself, that a future council can make changes to it,” Sirkus said.

Kinney said it’s not a must-do kind of document; the decision to make a project happen in any given year can come up in the budget process.

“There’s nothing in this … document that says, ‘This shall be done,’” Kinney said. “Everything is, ‘here’s a number of good ideas. … There’s nothing in here that says, ‘because this plan is adopted, it has to happen.’”

The plan could be updated down the road and reviewed periodically by future councils.

“I think this is the guiding document,” Madsen said. “I think what we’ve been trying to do since about 2016 is say, ‘Let’s bring the community together, let’s get the vision, let’s figure out what we need to (do). … There are a lot of pieces and parts to this puzzle that have already been completed.”