Town Council, planning commission continue review of Snowmass Center redevelopment |

Town Council, planning commission continue review of Snowmass Center redevelopment

The group seeking to redevelop the nearly 40-year-old Snowmass Center seemed to hear the Town Council and planning commission's qualms with the mass and scale of the proposed project.

At a March 5 public hearing that was continued from Feb. 5, architect Richard Shaw of Design Workshop presented another revised plan that involved scaling back the redevelopment.

Eastwood Snowmass Investors purchased the Snowmass Center and its neighboring parcel, formally known altogether as the Faraway Ranch North subdivision, from Related Cos. for $16 million in April 2016.

Snowmass Town Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk recused herself from the review process because her husband is on the development team.

Upon receiving "many comments about parcel 6," Shaw said the developers reduced the proposed height of the building by a full story.

The sketch plan at the Feb. 6 public hearing proposed a 62-foot, four-plus story structure at parcel 6, which is south of Clark's Market.

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The modified proposal calls for a 44-foot building, which still exceeds its zoning's allotted 38 feet.

Snowmass Mayor Markey Butler, a critic of the height proposed at the February public hearing, appreciated the downsize but is "struggling right now on 44 feet."

Altogether, the proposal for parcel 6 includes a 45,000-square-foot mixed use building with 14,500 square feet of commercial and office space, 12 free market residential units and roughly 120 sub-grade parking spaces.

Along with building upon essential town services found at the Snowmass Center — such as Clark's Market, the post office and Sundance Liquor & Gifts — Shaw said the hope also is to house an "incubator kind of business, offering the kinds of services that don't exist in Snowmass."

He said the redevelopment is "an opportunity to really bring more people living and working together in Snowmass."

At the heart of the project also is a desire to transform the "tired place" into a communal hub with gathering spaces and a main street down the middle, Shaw said.

"The project will have a considerable financial impact on the town as it will rejuvenate the primary, locally serving commercial center of the community thereby boosting the sales tax collected," according to a memorandum from town planner Brian McNellis. "The proposal also will enhance the overall character, services and retail amenities of the town which will ultimately leverage Snowmass Village as a tourist destination."

The council March 5 also briefly discussed the issue of connectivity, which is part of a larger town question of how to best connect its nodes, i.e. Base Village, the Snowmass Mall and center.

As part of the project application, the developers are requesting a $750,000 contribution from the town to connect the Snowmass Center with Base Village, which "would cover a fraction of the overall cost to design and build such infrastructure," the sketch plan states.

Snowmass Town Councilman Tom Goode said, "I just can't see people walking across the bridge in the winter."

"These people are coming from sea level. … They're going to take their local shuttles," Goode said.

He acknowledged shortly after, "There's a lot of downsides to the gondola idea, I know."

The mayor, noting downsides to both means of transportation, said, "I don't think we'll address that tonight."

Per town staff's recommendation, Butler continued the public hearing again to March 19. The Town Council also will conduct a site visit to the Snowmass Center property prior to the continued hearing.