Two developments, two very different timelines under council review

Base Village Building 11 gets green light; Cougar Canyon, Cozy Point Ridge vested property rights vote postponed

A rendering of Base Village Building 11, dubbed “Electric Pass Lodge,” submitted to Snowmass Village Town Council with the final architectural plans for the building. Council approved the plans on Dec. 7.
Town of Snowmass Village/Courtesy Photo

In a nearly three-hour meeting on Dec. 7, Snowmass Village Town Council members moved swiftly through most items on the agenda, from the setting of a 2021 meeting schedule to council appointments to outside boards.

But two lengthier council discussions, on designs for a new building in Base Village and on vested property rights in Cougar Canyon and Cozy Point Ridge, propose two very different timelines for development in Snowmass Village.

Council unanimously approved the final architectural plans for Base Village Building 11, a 76,000-plus-square-foot residential structure offering 53 housing units and a swimming pool in Snowmass Base Village; after over an hour of presentations and clarifying questions, members were congratulatory when they gave the green light on the designs from the firm 4240 Architects.

“I admire what you’re trying to do here,” said Councilman Tom Fridstein. “I think it’s great.”

The plans boast a 100% reliance on renewable energy, an emphasis on sustainability and an “approachable” concept with an average unit size of 1,135 square feet; one deed-restricted housing unit is included in addition to 52 free-market units. The building’s ski-in, ski-out setup and close proximity to nearby trails also encourage outdoor recreation.

“I’m really encouraged by the concept,” said Mayor Bill Madsen. “It’s very intriguing looking.”

Developer East West Partners submitted the proposal in October; because the final architectural plans for Electric Pass Lodge were introduced as a resolution rather than an ordinance, it will not require a second reading.

The $600 million, 10-year Base Village development has already brought major changes to the Snowmass Village landscape. In the three years since the initial groundbreaking, the area at the base of Fanny Hill saw the addition of several major buildings housing a Limelight Hotel, the One Snowmass residences, a community space dubbed The Collective, a climbing wall and numerous local businesses.

Another applicant seeking approval from council on Monday night did not get the same swift treatment. David Myler, representing billionaire David Bonderman’s Wildcat Ranch Association by power of attorney, returned to council chambers for the second reading of an ordinance to extend vested property rights for Cougar Canyon and Cozy Point Ridge Planned Use Districts from 2037 to 2050.

Council postponed that vote after members requested more time to review the information at hand and schedule a site visit. Councilman Bob Sirkus and Fridstein voted against the ordinance at first reading after expressing concerns about the impact of the extension on future generations at a council meeting on Nov. 16.

“What is the advantage of the town to approve this now?” Sirkus asked.

The extension of the vested property rights from 2037 to 2050 would further preserve some of the current development codes for owners of the homesteads located west of Brush Creek Road between Highway 82 and Snowmass Village. Myler said that this would therefore relieve the pressure for landowners to develop in haste out of a fear that codes could impact building designs.

“I think (Bonderman has) demonstrated through his ownership and stewardship of this property … that leaving it the way it is is the primary objective,” Myler said. But as for Sirkus’ inquiry, Myler replied, “I don’t know that there’s a good answer to your question, Bob.”

Even if that primary objective of preservation is the case, Fridstein said, it’s “too soon” for the current council to make that decision, especially when the extension would have lasting impacts decades down the line.

“The world is changing very quickly, and I’m sure you don’t want to hear that because you’d like to tie it up the way it is now,” Fridstein said. “I understand that and I certainly appreciate that, but I don’t see how we as a council can take away the progress from the future councils that really will be more relevant than we are today.

Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk noted that even though change is inevitable in the coming years, “the code is only going to improve.”

“We want this to occur slowly,” Myler said. “I think that if this happens over 30 years, that’s in everyone’s best interest.”

The speed of the development isn’t necessarily a concern, Madsen noted. But the council needs more time to gather additional information and visit the area before making the decision.

“I’m definitely in favor of slow growth and hopefully no growth in that area,” Madsen said.

A site visit will likely occur in December with a return to the second reading slated for January, nearly five months after the application was submitted to town officials in late July.

Editor’s Note: An article published in the Snowmass Sun on Nov. 18 incorrectly stated that Cougar Canyon and Cozy Point Ridge are located east of Brush Creek Road and misspelled David Myler’s last name. The Planned Use Districts are located west of Brush Creek Road.

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