Snowmass works to keep businesses that serve locals |

Snowmass works to keep businesses that serve locals

Katie Redding
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado

SNOWMASS ” How do you maintain village-scale retail and businesses that serve locals, even as your town undergoes major new development?

Such is the question currently being explored by the Town of Snowmass Village ” or at least its planning department.

“This is something that has the strong support of the community,” said councilman Reed Lewis at Monday’s meeting of the Snowmass Town Council. “I just haven’t heard a lot of people screaming for chain stores and McDonald’s.”

Until now, Snowmass has always had two retail centers ” Snowmass Mall, serving visitors, and Snowmass Village, serving residents and guests.

But Base Village will soon add a third, more resort-oriented retail center at the base of the ski area. And the town expects that the Snowmass Center and Mall may themselves undergo remodeling some day.

All of this new construction could open the door for an influx of “larger, more upscale, national enterprises,” a fact which has generated concern in the community, noted the planning department in a memo.

So on Monday night, the Snowmass Town Council directed the planning commission to work on a set of “tools” that the town could use to keep a balance of tourist-serving and resident-serving businesses. Such tools could potentially range from zoning restrictions to direct financial incentives for businesses that serve locals.

Snowmass Planning Director Chris Conrad warned that if the town creates restrictions ” such as those on square footage ” it will want to first commission economic and retail studies in order to clearly define its goals and justify its restrictions.

He added that the town will want to be careful about appearing to be arbitrarily protecting a segment of commercial industry or the local economic interest from competition, as doing so is illegal.

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