Town council looks to scale down Snowmass Center redevelopment
While reviewing the latest sketch plan to redevelop the Snowmass Center at a public hearing Monday, Mayor Markey Butler said, “I almost feel like I’m in Vail.”
“Overall, to me, the project is just too big,” the mayor said later in the meeting. “I’d love to see it scaled back.”
Eastwood Snowmass Investors, in an effort to address planning commission and Town Council concerns with their initial application, submitted a revised plan to redevelop the near 40-year-old structure and its surrounding area.
The company purchased the Snowmass Center and its neighboring parcel, altogether formally known 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, according to town spokesman Travis Elliot.
Their sketch plan proposes an increase of about 17,000 square feet of commercial space — down from its initial 20,000 square feet request — to the center and neighboring Faraway Ranch North area.
The application also increased the number of proposed residential units from 73 to 75. Eleven of those units would be “restricted affordable housing,” on the second floor above Clark’s Market, according to a memorandum from town planner Brian McNellis.
Altogether between its six identified parcels, the proposed redevelopment would occupy approximately 225,000 square feet.
Members of the Town Council, staff and planning commission expressed particular concern with the proposed mass and scale of parcel 6, where Clark’s Market currently sits.
“At over four stories, the main concern with having a building of that height and that mass and scale was the potential for losing solar access into this central component,” McNellis said.
He identified this central area as the Main Street piece of the plan that developers hope will transform Snowmass’ commercial heart into a communal hub.
At 62 feet and more than four stories, McNellis said staff also is concerned that the structure proposed for parcel 6 could potentially obstruct Snowmass’ viewplanes.
Butler said the building’s proposed 62 feet, which well exceeds its zoning’s allotted 38 feet, is “way too tall.”
“Every time we turn around there’s always a variance request,” Butler said. “I’m getting to the point (where) why even have a 38-foot height limitation if we’re not going to honor what we have?”
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.
In an effort to solicit public feedback on the Snowmass Center redevelopment, the town of Snowmass will continue its public hearing on the project March 5.
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Local housing officials in Aspen and Pitkin County are asking for feedback from the public before they start making changes to the rules on over 3,000 units in the upper valley.