Work continues on Snowmass Base Village approvals
The Aspen Times
It ain’t over till it’s over.
Base Village may have won council approval for its final plan application in December, but there are still a lot of I’s to dot and T’s to cross before all the formal documents acknowledging the approvals are finalized.
The council approved the final plan application with conditions, and now town staff members and representatives of Related have to work in those directives and resolve any conflicts in 10 separate legal documents, all within 90 days of the Dec. 21 approval. On Tuesday, Mayor Markey Butler bluntly asked whether that process was on track to reach its deadline.
Craig Monzio, Related Colorado vice president of development, told Butler that his company was waiting on edited drafts from town staff but hoped to return their feedback within two weeks, with a goal of completing the entire process around the beginning of March.
“I think that you should have some good level of confidence,” Monzio told Butler.
The agreements that have to be completed are:
The Base Village development agreement
The community purpose and Lot 2 plaza agreement
Declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions for commercial units
Restricted housing agreement
Subdivision improvements agreement
Parking management plan, including a car-share program
Pool access agreement
Termination of the development agreement for the Building 7 essential public facility
The land-use code requires that all the documents be recorded within 90 days of the approval. In addition, Don Schuster, vice president of hospitality development for Aspen Skiing Co., named the completion of the development and plaza agreements as necessary to the company closing on its deal to purchase Lot 2 for Related, where it has plans to build a Limelight hotel.
Councilman Bob Sirkus, the sole dissenting vote when the board approved the final plan in December, has said he is not comfortable with just how much remains to be done after the council’s vote. On Tuesday he reiterated his discomfort with the process when saying that he didn’t see a reason to consider a phasing change for Skico’s Fanny Hill Townhomes project before the agreements were signed.
Related in or out?
Sirkus saw the requirement that the townhomes had to wait for more of Base Village to be complete as an incentive to encourage progress on the stalled development. Skico was seeking to change that requirement so that construction of the townhomes can occur at the same time as the Limelight, an amendment the council approved on first reading Tuesday.
“I don’t think Related … has any interest in building anything else in Base Village,” Sirkus said, citing the company’s attempt to sell the project to East West Partners, the pending sale of the Snowmass Center and the real estate listing of the Snowmass Village Mall, all assets of different Related subsidiaries.
“We have to look at this as if it could be any developer at any time,” he said of the Fanny Hill question.
The sale of the Snowmass Center was expected to close this month, but Jordan Sarick, principal of Eastwood Developments, said Friday that while negotiations are ongoing, the closing date would likely be pushed back to March.
Sirkus is not the only one unhappy with how the process has unfolded. Owners of condos in the Hayden Lodge and Capitol Peak buildings in Base Village submitted a letter to the Town Council on Jan. 4 outlining various objections to the final plan as approved.
The first objection listed is against the taxes and fees that owners of currently existing Base Village condos have to pay that they say will fund physical improvements that benefit other groups.
The owners also take issue with the elimination of the aqua center from the plans and the potential for viewplanes — and thus property values — to be diminished. Parking disputes are over whether the owners can use tax-funded public parking and the division of the Base Village garage.
The condo associations are asking that their concerns be remedied in the pending agreements. The letter was signed by Stuart Nathan and Gerald Bodzy, presidents of the Hayden Lodge and Capitol Peak condo associations, respectively. Nathan did not respond to a voicemail left by this newspaper Wednesday.
The Aspen City Council directed staff to move forward with the Burlingame early childhood education center, but decided it needs more information on the affordable housing units that are part of the schematic design at a work session Monday.