Planning Commission to review conditions for Town Park revamp Wednesday

Resolution would recommend “approval with conditions” for special review application

The rodeo grounds at Snowmass Town Parkon Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Kelsey Brunner/Snowmass Sun

The Snowmass Village Planning Commission will consider a resolution Wednesday afternoon that would recommend to Town Council “approval with conditions” for a special review application that contains criteria for the revamp of Town Park.

A draft Town Council agenda schedule from early June indicates the council could then conduct an “owner review” of the plans for upgraded multi-use space at the entrance to the town on June 20, with a public hearing tentatively scheduled July 5.

The town submitted a special review application for Town Park on Jan. 26, and the plans went through a “completeness review” on Feb. 15, according to this week’s Planning Commission meeting packet. After that, the applicant resubmitted updates and responded to comments on April 12, and the Community Development Department deemed it complete on April 22.

Then, the application was “referred to town departments, districts, and other referral agencies on April 25,” the packet states.

Comments were due May 23, and the packet includes applicant responses dated June 7.

During the special review application process, both the town and the applicant (which, in this case, is also the town of Snowmass Village) need to follow several review standards.

Those standards ensure that the plans are consistent with the comprehensive plan, meet the standards of the town’s development code and are “compatible with the character of surrounding land uses in the area, and shall not adversely affect the future development of the surrounding area.”

The standards also include provisions to ensure adequate access to the site, minimal adverse impacts, adequate public facilities and sufficient off-street parking.

A draft resolution in the Planning Commission suggests the applicant has met those standards. Town staff are recommending that the Planning Commission approve the resolution and make their recommendation to the Town Council, but it’s up to the commission to make the decision at the meeting.

Some of the comments from outside agencies and other town departments indicated some concerns about safety, parking and other impacts.

John Mele, the fire marshal for the Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority, wrote in a May 27 email to Town Park planners that safety officials didn’t agree about the proposed location for emergency medical services and ambulances in the parking lot that was shown in the landscaping plans, “as we have indicated several times before.”

“This equipment and personnel need to be located in a position to respond appropriately to rodeo emergencies,” Mele wrote in the email included in the Town Council packet.

The Planning Commission packet indicates that “the applicant has removed reference to EMS parking locations on the plans, and recommends that the rodeo operator coordinate directly with emergency services for staging during their event,” according to applicant responses to comments dated June 7.

Mele wrote in a June 14 email that the concern had not been “specifically addressed” yet, but that “we (have) a great working relationship with all concerned and I know we will eventually come to (a) place where emergency services can be provided in a quick and efficient manner.”

Transportation Director Sam Guarino noted in two emails to town planners on May 20 and May 24 that the proposed number of paved parking spaces (about 430) is less than the dirt lot can currently accommodate and day-skier parking will fill up more often.

“This will lead to a greater demand for the skier bus service from the intercept and possibly increase abuse of the numbered lots,” Guarino wrote. “Understanding that these parking numbers have been approved by council I want to make sure that the transportation system is properly set up and (the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority) and/or (Aspen Skiing Co.) are prepared to take on the demand that is currently handled by the Village Shuttle on those biggest days.”

There is potential for about 90 more unpaved spaces in the rodeo arena and other parts of the rodeo grounds but “there is on-going discussion regarding whether parking in the rodeo arena is the best use, and we did not want to over-estimate our parking counts if that arena parking goes away,” the applicant wrote in response.

Plans have also been revised to improve access to Snowmass Water and Sanitation District infrastructure, and a construction management plan will be submitted at the time of permit submission, according to the packet. There aren’t any anticipated negative impacts to the wetlands or waterway, according to the packet.

The Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council has also submitted an updated rodeo safety report on May 25. Members of the Horse Council have on several occasions expressed concerns about the impact of paved parking and lack of a warm-up area on horses, the layout of the rodeo and parking, equestrian access to trails and about the size of the rodeo arena and the footprint of the grounds, which they believe should be bigger. They have asked that the Planning Commission doesn’t “rubber stamp” the application without line-item review.

The group is not affiliated with the Snowmass Western Heritage Association that organizes the rodeo. The association has indicated that they’re OK with the current plans, board member Markey Butler told the Snowmass Sun in May.

According to square footage stats provided by Andy Worline, the current rodeo grounds (not including parking) are about 82,000 square feet currently and will be about 90,000 square feet with the new plans.


See more