Recap: State of Snowmass Village address
The Aspen Times
About 50 people filled the Snowmass town hall on Tuesday afternoon for the biannual State of Snowmass Village address.
Hosted by the Part Time Residents Advisory Board, the address featured a welcome reception followed by a series of presentations from a variety of town officials and businesses on current or future projects.
For the most part, there was a lot of positive growth to report.
“We’re making money here in our town,” Mayor Markey Butler, the first presenter, said with a smile. The group applauded.
“Our sales tax is up 16% over last year. That’s huge, that’s massive and allows us to do some great things for our community.”
To keep that success on the up and up, Butler talked with the gallery to her right and the Part Time Residents Advisory Board about a handful of the Town Council’s current projects and top priorities.
Butler started with the recent openings of The Collective, which aims to be the social hub of the Base Village, and the Limelight Hotel, along with the approaching completion of One Snowmass, referred to as Buildings 7 and 8.
Building 7 is projected to open Dec. 1, and Building 8 is expected to open in spring.
The One Snowmass buildings are set to house 41 condos, ground-floor commercial space, a Base Village Welcome Center and a medical clinic in Building 8, which may be open for tours as soon as December, Butler said. She did not know for sure what was in store for the next phase of Base Village developments.
Butler went on to talk about other projects, including the planned development of the Snowmass Center, which is under review by the town’s Planning Commission and is expected to receive significant modifications; the Snowmass Water and Sanitation District’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is expected to be complete by summer 2020; and the new Village Mall transit station, which is nearing a final design plan.
After Butler’s roughly 20-minute presentation, attendees were invited to ask questions. One of the first was about the status of the “non-contentious cannabis project.”
Butler said the proposed pot shop will most likely open this winter. She said a Snowmass woman who owns three other cannabis shops downvalley is currently leasing the old Hideaway restaurant across from Challenge Aspen on the second floor of the Village Mall.
Once her state cannabis license application is approved, the leaser will enter into the “rigorous” town application process, Butler said.
Most of the other questions for Butler were in regard to pedestrian safety, namely at the three-way intersection at Brush Creek and Owl Creek roads.
Several people talked about this dangerous intersection and suggested short-term solutions that could make it safer.
Butler said the Town Council is working diligently to address this intersection and other pedestrian safety concerns, and is waiting to see the results of the 2019 community survey to identify how the majority of locals wish to see safety improvement projects move forward.
After Butler spoke, Eric Witmondt, new majority owner of the Snowmass Club as of December 2018 and its new general manager, Rick Sussman, took the floor. Sussman’s hiring was announced earlier in the day.
The men briefed the room on how the club will work to strike a balance between ensuring its members receive the exclusive amenities they paid for by joining the private recreational center while also offering more to the entire community.
Witmondt said he feels continued improvements and increased programming for the club’s Black Saddle Bar & Grill may be one way to engage more non-members.
“We don’t want to come in and claim to know what the answers are,” Witmondt said when asked about planned development of the Snowmass Club. “We want to first what I call read the book and understand from the people who have been here what’s good and bad and what enhancements we need to make.”
Following Witmondt and Sussman, John Mele, fire marshal for Roaring Fork Fire Rescue, spoke about the department’s efforts to clear dead foliage and debris from around Snowmass Village homes to make them more defendable against wildfire, and about the fire rescue’s collaboration with town officials and developers to ensure new buildings are constructed safely.
“We’re proud of the fact that we’re designing and helping to design Snowmass Village to be very fire resistant,” Mele said.
Next up, Greg Rulon and Stacey Kelly with Douglas Elliman Real Estate talked about Snowmass Village’s housing market.
The duo said the sections of the market that have been particularly strong fall in the $2.5 million-and-under price range, and described the overall selling trend as positive but mostly inconsistent.
Rulon also mentioned that the number of people living in Snowmass over the summer has increased tremendously over the past five years, estimating a jump from about 25% occupancy to more than 60%.
Starr Jamison, the town parks and trails manager, talked about her department’s efforts to rid Snowmass’ open space and trails of noxious weed; the new Hawk Ridge trail that will connect the Mountain View and South Rim trails and is nearing completion; and the East Snowmass Bridge project that will be completed in early September in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service.
In just under 90 minutes, Jamison wrapped up the State of Snowmass Village address and the attendees applauded all five presenters before dispersing from Town Hall.
The next regular meeting for the Part Time Residents Advisory Board is scheduled for Aug. 27 at 3:30 p.m.
Written arguments between the town of Snowmass Village and the Krabloonik dog-sledding operation were filed last week in a ramp-up to a key hearing in the coming months.