Sunlight application back before Garfield County
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Garfield County officials will continue discussing the future of Sunlight Mountain Resort on Wednesday.
Glenwood Springs and county planning staff recommended denying a proposal to put in a base village with 830 residential units at the resort. But Sunlight Mountain Resort has said it has lost almost $1 million operating over the last 11 years and it needs the development to survive and remain an important driver of Glenwood’s tourism.
The city contended that developers inadequately examined impacts like traffic, housing and public safety. County planning staff worried about slope constraints, soil instability, incompatibility with surrounding low density residential zoning, traffic impacts and road conditions. Planning staff also said the development, which could house more than 3,500 people, would be too far from city services like fire and police protection.
The Garfield County Planning Commission voted 4-2 on Oct. 1 to approve the developer’s request to change low density residential designations at the base of Sunlight to recreation in the county’s comprehensive plan. The vote was required before the Planning Commission could hear a planned unit development (PUD) application for the proposed Sunlight expansion.
The PUD application will be discussed at Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m., but Sunlight is second on the agenda to a review of the reconstruction of County Road 204 or Roan Creek Road, according to the county’s website.
Sunlight entered a contract in late 2006 for sale to Florida-based Exquisite Development. The deal is contingent on winning county approvals for development. The amount is confidential, but the resort went up for sale at a $50 million asking price.
The PUD includes 830 residential units, 50 of which would go for employee housing, plus 110,000 square feet of commercial space. The development would fund on-mountain improvements like new lifts, more terrain, a mountain-top restaurant and more snowmaking. Construction could take 50 years and the redeveloped area is expected to employ around 750 people compared to Sunlight’s current 160 mostly part-time employees.
Developers are asking the Planning Commission to rezone property from agricultural/residential/rural density and commercial limited to a PUD. The developers and potential owners reportedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and more than 19 months working on the development proposal.
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