Blumenthal: Base Village key issues need to be settled swiftly | AspenTimes.com

Blumenthal: Base Village key issues need to be settled swiftly

Mel Blumenthal

Unfortunately I’ve been holed up most of the past week with various board and committee meetings as well as preparing my body and psyche for an upcoming alpine ski touring adventure, downhill action at Ski Cooper and a couple of nights at the Tennessee Pass Sleep Yurts, all of which along with the writing of this week’s column have taken precedence over my ability to play in the fresh powder just outside my condo.

But shed no tears for me, ’cause while you’re reading this I’m out in the wilderness with my buddies likely having the time of my life.

Before leaving town, I jotted down several thoughts I want to share with you and the powers that be.

The Planning Commission has almost completed its sketch-plan review of Related’s application to modify its Base Village development approvals that were granted back in 2004.

After sitting through most of the Planning Commission’s recent review sessions on this subject, it’s become clear only a few key issues have emerged that will be at the center of the Town Council’s review. From what I understand the responsible and smart folks at Related are in agreement as to these key issues, and they’re poised to get started on the task of resolving them as quickly as possible.

Assuming we all want to move forward expeditiously with the completion of Base Village, the professionals on both sides need to come to grips quickly with these issues. That can only be done if the parties on both sides are willing to sit down with one another and hammer out acceptable solutions. It’s very difficult to conduct these sensitive discussions in a quasi- judicial public forum, thus it’s incumbent on our town staff and the Related team to commence direct discussions with each other in order to work through these issues. Related appears ready, willing and able to do so promptly.

I’d suggest that Town Council strongly encourage town staff to commence this process immediately and to bring back for public review and discussion a plan that works for both the community and the developer — if not we’ll likely be sitting here with an unfinished eyesore for a very long time.

As a reminder the list of key issues includes Related’s community purpose obligations and its desire to reduce the amount of Base Village square footage devoted to commercial activities such as food, beverage, retail and entertainment facilities.

In addition, there are several subsidiary issues arising from the changes requested by Related such as traffic and pedestrian mitigation, parking, employee housing, etc. that might require some further discussion but clearly not of the same magnitude as the key issues mentioned above. The project in its entirety should not be held hostage to these minor issues.

It’s to everyone’s benefit to get on with this review process as expeditiously as possible and not get hung up in the weeds on matters that were thoroughly debated and resolved long ago. There’s no appetite in the community to start this process all over again. Let’s deal with and resolve the key issues quickly and get on with the work of completing Base Village.

Alert to all those concerned with the town staff’s push to build the Brush Creek/Wood Road roundabout: If the Town Council is able to take up the Base Village discussion on March 16, traffic flow, which includes the roundabout, is likely to be discussed. Several less expensive and less impactful alternatives have been floated by members of the community and Town Council as well as the impacted owners and operators of the Conoco service station.

If you’re equally concerned regarding the town staff’s thus-far blind adherence to pushing forward with the roundabout, I suggest you attend the council meeting or write your elected representatives and add your voice to the record.

Your comments are welcome at secondview@earthlink.net.


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