Snowmass Town Council to explore new land use for Krabloonik property

Krabloonik as seen on Aug. 23, in Snowmass Village.
File photo

The Snowmass Village Town Council is weighing new development opportunities for the land currently occupied by Krabloonik Dog Sledding.

The Town Council discussed affordable housing complexes or a dog park and restaurant for the land at 4250 Divide Road that Krabloonik will vacate by June 1, 2024, as part of a settlement agreement with Snowmass. But any discussions to repurpose the land would need to include the Snowmass Divide Homeowners Association, which controls the land use of the 2.44 acres that Krabloonik sits on, said Snowmass Town Manager Clint Kinney.

The current planned unit development (PUD) for the land allows only for the operation of a restaurant, a dog sledding operation, or a single-family home, he said, and the town would need to go through the process of changing the PUD.

“There’s a lot of opportunity here, but the opportunity is going to be in conjunction with discussion with Divide (HOA) and that land-use issue,” he said.

Informal discussions about what to do with the space began in late 2022 when Snowmass moved to evict Krabloonik for violating its lease agreement. After several months in court, the town and Krabloonik reached a settlement agreement that would allow them to complete one final dog sledding season and vacate the premises by June 1. Monday night’s meeting was the first formal discussion of potential future uses for the property.

Kinney sought council members’ thoughts on how to proceed with the property, including if they wanted to pursue a PUD change. The council discussed the options of employee housing, a community space with a restaurant or coffee shop, or a dog park to pay homage to Krabloonik, which has operated in Snowmass since 1976.

“I think its highest and best use is for employee housing, the restaurant, and some community space maybe named Krabloonik’s,” said Council member Tom Fridstein. “It could really be a neighborhood.”

Council member Alyssa Shenk agreed the space should preserve Krabloonik’s history, but she thought the idea of affordable housing may be unpopular with the HOA.

“I’m not ruling it out for housing; I’m just saying I don’t know with the combinations of things if it’s totally feasible,” she said. “I do feel like it is important to the history of Snowmass, and it would be nice to somehow preserve something from that … You could have a coffee shop and a restaurant and a dog park and just create a whole outside space.

“Just doing something kind of different and funky because I feel like that is what that space is – different and funky,” she added.

The land is out of the way from Snowmass Base Village, there is only one entrance on a steep hill, and it is not along a bus route – all concerns Shenk said might make the land not conducive to housing developments. 

Council member Britta Gustafson suggested exploring a learning facility or a greenhouse space but added that housing was a top priority for her for that space.

The council asked Kinney to share its initial thoughts for the space with the Divide HOA, which he will meet with in December. The HOA is well aware that town staff is discussing redevelopment ideas for the land once Krabloonik leaves because it was involved in last year’s litigation, he said. 

In a phone call with the Times on Wednesday, Deidre Boineau, the Divide HOA manager, said, “When Krabloonk has been discussed in the past by the Divide HOA, we have been concerned about the town making any changes to the PUD.”

She declined to comment about any upcoming discussions about changes to the PUD because it is still in very early stages.

The Town Council also agreed to seek community input to better understand what residents prefer to go into the Krabloonik space. The timeline of the town’s decision and redevelopment for Krabloonik is still unclear.

“We’ll start generating the list, talk to the neighbors, and go slow and steady,” Kinney said.