Some ideas for Base Village | AspenTimes.com

Some ideas for Base Village

As active, supportive and concerned participants in the Base Village review process, the Enclave Homeowners Association has the following observations, comments and recommendations concerning the sketch plan application.

Kudos to the Aspen Skiing Co. and Intrawest under the leadership of Bill Kane and Paul Sheperd, respectively, who have actively sought out the community’s support, comments and suggestions concerning their proposed sketch plan application for the new Base Village.

They’ve incorporated significant modifications and changes to their initial plan based upon public input.

Several examples include bringing the base of the new Sam’s Knob Express lift down to Base Village instead of setting it opposite the Mall entrance, changing the Base Village/mall connector from an open air cabriolet to a closed cabin pulse gondola, retention of the Coney Glade lift, repositioning and reconfiguring the proposed hotel/condo complex at the northeast section of Assay Hill, repositioning the Aqua Center building to mitigate view plane obstructions from the Enclave Condos, and commitments to protect the ski in/out access on the Assay Hill side of the Enclave and on the Fanny Hill side of the Woodrun Place Condos.

Their positive response to date is early evidence of their commitment to work cooperatively with the community to build a new Base Village that will enhance and secure the success and economic viability of Snowmass Village well into the future.

However, the toughest issues have not yet been thoroughly examined, e.g. height, mass, density and location of buildings, obstruction of view corridors, traffic flow (pedestrian and vehicular in the interior village, Wood Road and Brush Creek Road and connections to the other village centers, e.g. the mall, Snowmass Center and Brush Creek Plaza-Conoco property).

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We anxiously await accurate and detailed view plane simulations from the viewpoint of Brush Creek Road and all affected properties looking out toward all of the critical view corridors and what impact the new buildings will have on these view corridors.

Based upon past experience, we anticipate that Intrawest and the Skico will be extremely sensitive to its neighbors’ concerns and will work diligently to reach a mutually acceptable resolution to any problems that arise.

Now is the time for all interested parties (resident and non-resident owners and interested visitors and guests) to give voice to their concerns, suggestions and kudos when deserved.

The planning commission will complete its sketch plan review in the next few weeks and they will then send their recommendations in the form of a resolution to the Town Council, which will then continue its sketch plan review.

Having attended many of the planning commission meetings in this review process, we are concerned that they did not tackle in any significant depth several of the critical issues including height, mass and density.

They appear to accept without much question the enormous scale, mass and density being proposed by Intrawest and the Skico. Their proposal is far in excess of anything that is currently allowed or that has ever been approved in Snowmass Village. However, to be fair, we will await the planning commission report and resolution.

Kudos to the Town Council under the strong and insightful leadership of Mayor T. Michael Manchester and a group of very intelligent and knowledgeable Town Councilmen. It appears at this early stage that the Town Council has a very clear and unified vision of the new Base Village, Snowmass Center and Brush Creek Plaza-Conoco property and how they interrelate to each other.

The issues to be examined are tough and precedent setting for Snowmass. We are confident, based upon our observation of this leadership group in action, that they have the vision, knowledge and determination to tackle these tough issues and to resolve them to the future benefit of Snowmass.

It is clear to all of us that the future success and economic viability of Snowmass Village is riding on the successful planning and execution of the new village core.

Unfortunately to date, the participation of a critical element of the core village equation has been missing, that of the mall owners/landlords. Many of us have said on numerous occasions that we should abandon the concept of two separated commercial nodes.

It has been made abundantly clear on several occasions by the Mayor and Town Council, and as late as last Thursday at the Commercial Core Workshop, that we don’t have the luxury of waiting to determine whether both of the major commercial nodes will be successful.

As presently planned, the amount of commercial space (both retail and visitor services) required to successfully sustain and service the permanent and visitor population that we must attract is divided about equally between Base Village and the mall.

If the mall owners/landlords are not prepared to work cooperatively with Intrawest and the Skico and to make the major capital investment that will be required to bring the mall up to a standard equivalent to the new Base Village, the amount of commercial space now allocated to the mall must be relocated to Base Village.

In an ideal world, the commercial space would not be divided between these two separated locations. In this ideal world Intrawest and the Skico would also own the land at the mall and we seriously doubt that they would divide the commercial and visitor services between these two separated locations.

They most probably would allocate most, if not all, of the mall space to additional H.O.T. bed units and expanded conference facilities. If we may be so bold, therein may lay a solution to this ongoing dilemma.

Encourage and allow the mall owners/landlords to convert their commercial space to more residential development and expanded conference and related facilities and encourage Base Village to absorb all or most of the commercial and visitor services currently allocated to the mall.

This plan would also result in some reduction of the height, mass and density in Base Village, since some of the more massive residential Base Village buildings could be relocated to the mall to provide housing for the critical mass of visitors we need to attract and retain for the future viability of Snowmass Village.

We are banking the future of the community on what happens with the development of Base Village. As indicated by the Mayor, time is very short.

The new Base Village presents us with the opportunity to turn around a declining village and to ensure the future success and economic viability of Snowmass Village. Let us all work cooperatively together to ensure that objective.

Mel D. Blumenthal

Enclave Homeowners Association

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