S’mass Town Council: Broadband briefing, Town Park redesign update and housing regulation changes
Over a nearly three-hour special meeting Nov. 11, Town Council learned about the potential for new broadband infrastructure in Snowmass, received an update on the Snowmass Town Park redesign and approved a few changes to the town housing regulations. Here’s the recap:
Officials pursue policies for broadband service
During a joint meeting, Town Council and Planning Commission officials decided the town should pursue some baseline policies and development guidelines for new broadband infrastructure, like small cell towers and fiber optic backbones for 5G networks.
In the telecommunications world, if a person has broadband capabilities, that means they have high-capacity transmission of digital information at a high rate of speed, specifically a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps and minimum upload speed of 3 Mbps.
David Zelenok with HR Green Inc., a consulting firm out of Denver, spent over an hour explaining the various forms of broadband network technology to Snowmass town officials, and how fast that technology is advancing.
The advancement trend is moving toward smaller, more numerous “small cells” versus large cell towers, and 5G, or even greater, faster digital capacity.
Recent legislation and FCC mandates have made it so local governments can’t deny an application to install small cell towers within the public right of way, Zelenok explained, and local authorities must review and approve those applications within a certain timeframe.
Snowmass hasn’t received any small cell infrastructure design applications yet, but Zelenok emphasized that it’s only a matter of time and in the best interest of the village to develop design guidelines and regulations to control the appearance of any future small cell towers.
Zelenok said his company is working with Aspen officials to expand the small cell design guidelines it has in place and develop a broadband master plan for the city.
After listening to Zelenok’s presentation, both Town Council and Planning Commission officials agreed the town should pursue a set of design guidelines similar to what Aspen has in place with the help of a consultant like HR Green Inc.
Town staff agreed to continue evaluating emerging broadband technology and to draft both design guidelines and land-use code revisions, which it will bring back to the Planning Commission and Town Council for review.
Criteria and guidelines for Town Park redesign
Town Council offered some guiding criteria for town staff and Parks, Open Space, Trails and Recreation Board members to consider as they develop final recommendations for a redesign plan and layout of the Snowmass Town Park.
According to Andy Worline, town parks, recreation and trails director, the project aims to look at reorienting and refurbishing the Snowmass Rodeo arena; creating more sufficient parking and creating more flat, multi-use recreational and event space, and is still in the conceptual design phase.
In September, Worline and Connect One Design presented the project and five potential options for the redesign to Town Council, as previously reported.
About a week later, Jazz Aspen Snowmass said it is considering a change of venue for its Labor Day Experience historically held in Town Park, heightening the redesign process as town officials hope to keep the annual music festival in Snowmass.
Since the preliminary reconfiguration designs were presented to Town Council, Worline and his staff have met with several local stakeholders, including Jazz Aspen Snowmass, and identified the two most supported redesigns: Option 3, which slightly reorients the rodeo arena and increases field space; and Option 5, a hybrid option that moves the rodeo arena to where the softball field is now and significantly increases field space and parking.
After discussing the stakeholder feedback and reviewing the top two plans, Town Council voiced its preference for Option 3, as members felt it better serves the Snowmass Rodeo organizers and competitors and doesn’t have as much paved parking space.
“To me, it’s the most minimal disruptive part of this plan that I like,” Mayor Markey Butler said of Option 3.
Councilmembers encouraged town staff and POSTR board members to continue to discuss the designs with town park stakeholders, and offered ideas like preserving aesthetic visibility and screening parking areas with landscaping as guiding values to follow moving forward into the more finalized design planning process.
Council ok’s changes to housing regulations
Town Council also approved a handful of changes to the town’s Permanent Moderate Housing Regulations on Nov. 11.
The regulations, which govern all matters related to the town’s 175-unit deed-restricted housing portfolio, were last revised in 2011.
The town identified that the regulations needed to be revisited this year, and several changes were proposed, including making language changes to ensure both business and individuals are benefitting the town through their work; adding a new section to govern the resale calculation for Coffey Place homes; and policy changes incentivizing longtime owners of deed-restricted property to downsize.
Town Council unanimously approved the proposed changes to the regulations.
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After this season, the Rifle inmate hand crew will no longer carry out wildfire mitigation projects in Snowmass or the other Roaring Fork Valley communities it regularly works with. The state is set to dissolve it as part of a business reorganization of the Colorado Correctional Industries inmate job skills programs across the state.