Snowmass townhome hearing continued to March |

Snowmass townhome hearing continued to March

Jill Beathard
The Aspen Times

Aspen Skiing Co. will wait more than a month for an answer on a phasing-change request for its Fanny Hill Townhomes project in Snowmass, a decision it says is key to it also moving forward with a hotel there.

Skico won approval, 3-2, on the first reading of its application to tie the start of construction of the townhome project to its proposed Limelight Snowmass hotel in Base Village rather than to other buildings in the development not under its control. But with Councilman Bill Madsen, who supported the request, absent Monday, Skico requested to continue the public hearing to a meeting when all council members will be present.

“I’d love to get it approved tonight, but if everyone’s feelings are the same as last time, … I would request that we would move forward to a different date,” said Don Schuster, Skico vice president of hospitality development.

According to Skico, the townhome project is the economic driver behind its involvement in Base Village, and the ability to build it concurrently with the Limelight is one of several items the company needs to move forward on the hotel, originally proposed in 2013.

At the Jan. 19 council meeting, Schuster said the company needed at least an initial vote of approval that night in order to continue moving forward on negotiations with Related Cos., the current owner and developer of Base Village, on the purchase of the lot where the hotel will go. He said then that terms of the deal were supposed to finalize by Jan. 31, but on Monday, Schuster told the council that Skico had extended negotiations through February.

The continuance will mean a delay of several weeks, though: The next meeting that all five elected officials are expected to be in attendance is March 21, and the council agreed to continue the hearing to that date Monday.

“I didn’t want to risk a 2-2 vote, which would indicate a denial,” Schuster said after the meeting. “There are still several other items on our checklist.”

Schuster added that he hopes Skico can resolve what it needs to work with Related on during the February extension.

“Then it’s just the town items,” he said. “We think we can get at least a 3-2 vote (on the Fanny Hill request).”

The Limelight Snowmass hotel was expected to break ground this year, but after months of review of new plans for Base Village, Skico announced Dec. 21 that it was not ready to break ground this year and was questioning its commitment to the project at all. Skico CEO Mike Kaplan said at the time that the company needed to re-evaluate the costs of the hotel’s construction, among other issues.

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