Base Village vesting close to clearing first hurdle
The Aspen Times
Related Colorado’s application to extend its development rights in Snowmass Base Village is close to passing its first test.
The Snowmass Village Planning Commission did not come to a vote on July 23 on its recommendation to the Town Council on the application, but it did work through the details of it and agreed on the big question — whether to extend vesting, which is set to expire Nov. 3 otherwise.
The board members agreed that Related’s vesting rights initially should be extended by four years with an automatic extension after one year, a compromise the developer proposed at the meeting. Related originally applied on July 1 to extend vesting by five years, but the town’s Community Development Department recommended that the rights initially only be extended by three years, with an automatic extension if the developer completed certain improvements by the dates agreed upon.
That recommendation was based on a section of the town’s municipal code that says the Town Council can grant vesting for a three-year period but can approve a longer timeframe if it can show that it weighed the interests of both the public and the developer.
However, Planning Commission member David Rachofsky had a different interpretation of that rule. Because the council would be considering an extension to vesting, it would be approving a period longer than three years anyway, he said, and the council should have to make those findings either way.
At the same time, he did not take issue with the compromise that Related had suggested. Related agreed to move up the completion of Lot 3, which includes Buildings 7 and 8, to November 2018. Dwayne Romero, president of Related Colorado, explained that a four-year timeframe would allow for all the approval processes, agreements with contractors and construction to be completed before that initial period ended.
“I think the developer has made a decent case for four (years),” Rachofsky said.
Most of the other members agreed.
“My heart is in three years, but my brain is telling me something a little bit different,” Chairman Bob Sirkus said.
Community purpose facility: Board member Jim Gustafson suggested adding a recommendation that the council readdress the definition of the community purpose building included in the 2004 approvals for Base Village. Then submitted as an aquatic center, Related has said it is reconsidering whether that is the most preferred type of facility for that space.
Romero said at the meeting that the aqua center, if it were constructed as such, would be free to guests and owners of Base Village condos and that a fee would be charged for other visitors.
“It’s my recollection and understanding that this was a community facility,” Gustafson said. “I think the fundamental difference here is that this was intended to be a community-purpose facility, not necessarily a Base Village residents’ facility.”
Public securities: Romero agreed to provide financial security for public improvements outlined in the application, including the roundabout and Wood Road overlay, once the vesting extension was granted.
Private securities: Rachofsky wanted to recommend that the Town Council consider requiring some sort of bond or guarantee to ensure that the private buildings also got completed. Romero said his company would not be open to that.
While the other members did not agree with suggesting that requirement, it is likely that the council will discuss that anyway, Town Attorney John Dresser said.
Completion of 13B: The Community Development Department suggested that the completion date for the second phase of the Viceroy Snowmass, Building 13B, should be Nov. 30, 2016, rather than Dec. 31, 2016, as proposed by Related.
Romero explained that date was intended to provide a buffer to make sure all construction was complete and that his company was more motivated than anyone to finish the hotel before the holidays.
The Planning Commission will review a new draft of its resolution and vote on it at its next regular meeting on Aug. 6. After that, the application and the board’s recommendation will go before the Town Council on Aug. 18.
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