Town of Snowmass releases draft of comp plan, planning commission addresses concerns | AspenTimes.com

Town of Snowmass releases draft of comp plan, planning commission addresses concerns

Snowmass Village on Jan. 19 released the $200,000 product of 15 months of public meetings and planning in the form of the Town's 184-page draft comprehensive plan.

After meeting Jan. 17 to review the draft, the Town planning commission met again Jan. 22 to reach consensus on its concerns with the comp plan before a joint meeting with the Town Council on Monday.

The Town of Snowmass in late 2016 contracted the Franklin, Tennessee-based, Town Planning and Urban Design Collaborative LLC to help rewrite the comp plan, which is intended to help direct Snowmass with future growth, policies, land-use development and funding.

Planning commissioner Tom Fridstein, who led the meeting Jan. 22 in chairman Patrick Keelty's absence, opened the discussion contending that the plan addresses many details but overall fails to establish a clear vision for Snowmass' next 10 years. He also questioned why the executive summary of the plan does not mention a communal desire to maintain its small village character and protect open space.

The executive summary reiterates Snowmass' longstanding notion of "just big enough" as a key component of the document.

"The fundamental goal of the 2018 comprehensive plan is to recognize the intimate connection the town has with the environment, to preserve the natural beauty of the town, to focus on conservation first, then redevelopment of specific areas, and then consider new development while still meeting the fundamental infrastructure needs of the community such as affordable housing," the plan states.

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It identifies Town Park, Base Village, the Snowmass Center and the mall as areas to focus on redeveloping.

Not surprisingly, employee housing was among the planning commission's main talking points Jan. 22.

Fridstein said the document overemphasized the need for workforce housing and recommended the town conduct an updated study before adopting the plan.

While acknowledging the need for more workforce housing in Snowmass, members of the commission questioned whether the amount projected in the town's most recent housing study (383 additional units) is feasible.

Snowmass' housing study is approximately 10 years old and 383 more units would equate to "about half the size of Base Village," Fridstein said in a conversation after the meeting.

The commission also looked at problems with people misusing the town's housing system — such as employees who no longer work in the village but still occupy units — and recommended the Town revisit its housing policies before implementing a final version of the comp plan.

Fridstein said he would send the Town Council an updated letter today outlining the planning commission's "big picture" issues, which the two groups will review at their joint meeting Monday.

The Town of Snowmass will present key points of the draft plan at Town Hall at 4 p.m. Sunday. It also will host two open houses: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The town encourages community members to review the plan and offer feedback, which is expected to be incorporated into the final draft.

To view the draft comprehensive plan, visit http://www.plansnowmass.com.

erobbie@aspentimes.com