Snowmass town council approves first reading of re-zoning ordinance

Snowmass Village Town Council approved the first reading of a rezoning ordinance Monday related to the proposed Coffey Place employee housing subdivision.

After a roughly 90-minute hearing, council unanimously approved the amendments to the town’s official zone district map on first reading, which could allow for the 14 planned Coffey Place buildings to be built adjacent to the existing Rodeo Place homes on Stallion Circle.

In 2018, the town’s budget allocated $3.31 million toward the housing project, named in honor of the late Joe Coffey, a beloved member of the Snowmass community and longtime housing director who died in January 2017.

A total of $2.97 million rolled over into 2019, and the ordinance proposed at the meeting was the most recent step in making the affordable-housing option for Snowmass workers closer to reality.

“Joe would be proud,” Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk said.

During the Aug. 5 regular meeting, the council was acting as a quasi-judicial body, meaning it was looking solely at if the facts presented by both the town of Snowmass Village and the Coffey Place applicants for rezoning are consistent with existing town policy.

As presented to the five council members, the rezoning ordinance ultimately looks to guide the Coffey Place development so that it’s consistent with the existing Rodeo Place homes and the vision of the 2018 Town of Snowmass Village Comprehensive Plan.

The applicant, which is both housing director Betsy Crum and Charles Cunniffe Architects, explained to council that they were looking to fit the Coffey Place employee homes into three areas.

The first area is within the Rodeo Place homes toward the entrance of Stallion Circle. Three duplexes are planned among existing homes on slopes greater than 30%.

The second area is along the outer edge of Stallion Circle. Five single-family homes would border elk and mule deer winter ranges and the Town Park 25 foot wetland setback area.

The third area is adjacent to the second, includes five single-family homes and a single-story, ADA-compatible home and borders both elk and mule deer winter ranges. This area also is part of a large Seven Star Subdivision zone, which the ordinance aims to convert from a single-family residential zone to a conservation area, as presented to council.

Crum and the Charles Cunniffe Architects representatives explained to council members that their goal with the proposal was to both fit Coffey Place into the existing subdivision and surrounding environment, and to create realistic, affordable housing for Snowmass employees.

This meant planning to use construction techniques to safely build on the steeper slopes in the first area; and create natural barriers between the homes in the second and third areas to act as a buffer between both the wetland and wildlife sensitive areas.

The applicants also talked of creating roughly 50% more parking for Coffey Place residents than what exists for Rodeo Place residents, and a paved pedestrian pathway for easy access to the Town Park and local bus transportation system. Both of these initiatives were results of various community meetings held with Rodeo Place residents and Snowmass locals, the applicants told council.

As presented to council by Jim Wahlstrom, town senior planner, both the staff review and the Planning Commission submitted analyses of the proposed Coffey Place buildings and subsequent rezoning ordinance to council, ultimately recommending the members approve the proposal so long as the applicant commits to following all of the specified conditions.

After discussing several concerns, namely the increased traffic that will move through the area, how that could affect child safety and how much parking is really needed for each home, town council voted to approve the proposed rezoning ordinance and commended the applicants for their work.

“You guys did a great job of putting this together,” Councilman Bill Madsen said.

With the initial approval, the ordinance will go before the council again during a public meeting Aug. 19 at 4 p.m.

The story was originally published in the Snowmass Sun, which hits newsstands every Wednesday and can be found online at