Town Council to continue public hearing of Snowmass Center redevelopment Monday
The Aspen Times
The Snowmass Town Council will take a field trip today to the town center as part of Eastwood Snowmass Investors’ proposal to expand and redevelop what they view as a “tired place.”
The meeting will mark the third continued public hearing regarding the Snowmass Center redevelopment. The hearings have been continued, in part, to allow the public more time to comment on the project.
Town Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk has recused herself from the review process because her husband is on the development team.
In a letter addressed to the Town Council on March 10, Snowmass resident Mary Lou Flynn criticized the project’s proposed height and questioned how the redevelopment will be an economic benefit for the town.
“Tourists come here for the beauty, the views, the outdoor activities and the peacefully (sic) environment — not to see tall building (sic) cutting out the sun and hemming us in!!!,” Flynn wrote.
She also added, “If the zoning allots for a height of 38 feet, why would there be discussion about a building being proposed at 44 feet. Why are there zoning codes if they are not going to be followed?????”
Members of the Snowmass Town Council and planning commission also have raised concerns with the project’s proposed mass and scale, causing the developers to scale back on a number of figures.
To date, the plan proposes about 17,000 additional square feet of commercial space to the center and neighboring Faraway Ranch North area, according to the project application. That number is down about 3,000 square feet from the developers’ initial 20,000 request.
The 44-foot structure that Flynn referenced is the height currently proposed for parcel 6, the plot of land just south of Clark’s Market. While down from 62 feet as originally proposed, it still exceeds the zoning’s allotted 38 feet.
Altogether between the Snowmass Center and its neighboring parcel, which is formally known as the Faraway Ranch North subdivision, the proposed redevelopment would occupy 71,000 square feet of commercial space.
Eastwood Snowmass Investors purchased the six parcels from Related Cos. for $16 million in April 2016.
Between the first and second public hearings, which took place at the beginning of February and earlier this month, two people commented on the proposal. Their concerns addressed parking and congestion at the center as a result of the added commercial activity, obstructing view planes with the proposed height increases, and connectivity, which is part of a larger town question of how to best connect Base Village and the Snowmass Mall with the 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 Village resident Toni Kronberg, one of the two people to comment publicly, proposes building an aerial connection rather than a bridge.
On social media, some people have expressed concern with preserving Snowmass’ small-town character and feel.
The sketch plan, which is the current phase of the project application, “is supposed to have a broad brush stroke in terms of what it is the application is proposing,” Snowmass Town Planner Brian McNellis said.
“This is our opportunity to really have that community discussion, to figure out what’s a really good fit for the town and whether it’s something that fits in with this community plan.”
Pending Town Council approval of the sketch plan, the next phase is preliminary plan, which is “the opportunity for us to dive a little deeper into the application,” McNellis said.
The process is “long and rigorous,” McNellis said, adding, “We’re a good couple years from them solidifying approval before they can even think about submitting a building permit.”
The Snowmass Town Council meeting will begin at 4 p.m. in Town Hall chambers. A site visit to the Snowmass Center will precede the public hearing, which is the last item for discussion on today’s agenda.
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