Snowmass Planning Commission finishes review, gives guidance to council on next Base Village development
After six meetings and more than 11 hours of discussion, the Snowmass Planning Commission finished its review of the minor planned unit development (PUD) amendment submitted for “phase three” of Base Village.
In a resolution to Snowmass Town Council detailing its findings and recommendations for approval of the minor PUD amendment, Planning Commission aligned with much of the changes proposed by Snowmass Ventures LLC — the name for the collaborative developer group made up of East West Partners, Aspen Skiing Co. and KSL Capital Partners that owns Base Village — and accepted by town staff, with minor alterations.
However, the commissioners spent much of their time over the past month discussing whether the changes requested align with the town’s legal review definition of a “minor PUD amendment,” as issues raised with the commission by Base Village residents and neighbors suggest the proposed changes will have adverse impacts on them and their properties.
“I think we’ve heard enough concerns that we need to raise this to Town Council and not just say, yeah, (the amendment) is consistent with the review standards because I think there have been significant issues raised,” said Tom Fridstein, chairman of the Planning Commission, at a recent meeting.
“This is a 400,000-square foot project, five buildings, over a nine-year building period; it’s a big deal.”
As defined in the town’s land-use code, the review standards for a minor PUD amendment are that the proposed changes must be consistent with the original PUD approval; have no substantially adverse effect on the neighborhood surrounding the land where the amendment is proposed; make no change to the basic character of the PUD or surrounding areas; and comply with all other applicable town standards. Snowmass Ventures’ minor PUD amendment for Base Village phase three — which includes the last five Base Village and Viceroy Snowmass area buildings (10A, 10B, 11, 12, 13B) approved for development — looks to create and adjust the following:
Create an overarching master development plan for phase three of Base Village and more streamlined building- or site-specific approval process. This allows for more reasonable design flexibility and establishes a master development plan with minimum and maximum parameters (like square footage, building heights, employee housing mitigation, etc.). Upon the approval of the master project plan, developers would then be able to bring site-specific development plans with real-time market trends and design adjustments to Town Council for review and approval. Snowmass Ventures feels this process would be more efficient for all parties versus going through a full, more time consuming minor PUD amendment process for every proposed design change over the next several years of the phase three project.
“Pivot” or shift the positioning of both Building 11 and Building 10A, which are proposed along Wood Road, to create a more amenable and easily accessible “village pool” area for Base Village tenants. Building 10B’s position will be relatively unchanged from what was originally approved in 2015.
Allow for the potential of making Building 13B, which is planned adjacent to Viceroy Snowmass, a commercial, hotel extension of the Viceroy versus a residential building.
A revised alternative parking plan that would follow ratios of .75 spaces per residential unit, two spaces per residential unit with four bedrooms or more within a building with at least 20 units, and .5 spaces per hotel/lodging unit. The plan also would allow for the potential to charge for Base Village parking in the summer, some parking requirement reductions as a result of a residential car share program, and a dedicated stall program Base Village owners can utilize to store their vehicles.
Extend the vested rights to complete the full Base Village development another five years, giving developers until November 2029.
As presented by Andy Gunion and Ellen McCready with East West Partners, which has represented Snowmass Ventures through the Planning Commission review process, adjustments to Building 11 (a 90-degree rotation) and 10A (moving its right wing closer to Wood Road) would allow for the planned village pool to be placed in a more centralized, accessible location. The pool would be a part of Building 11, the first among the five buildings to be completed, making the pool courtyard area available to Base Village tenants sooner, Gunion said.
The adjustments also bring a larger portion of Building 11 adjacent to Wood Road and Building 10A closer to the roadway, but Gunion stressed that this would not have a substantially adverse impact or change the character of the originally approved development.
“We still have good landscaping around the perimeter and whether you have 20 feet or 40 feet or 60 feet of landscaping around a perimeter, I don’t think it’s going to make a material difference. What does make a dramatic improvement though to this plan is pulling more space into the interior of the site and really opening up this phase of the village,” Gunion explained at a recent Planning Commission meeting.
“I think we gain a lot, the community gains a lot, the public gains a lot with this without sacrificing or materially impacting the perimeter site.”
However, The Enclave Association of the Enclave Condominiums, which sit directly across from the proposed 10A and 10B buildings of Base Village, expressed to Planning Commission that the shift of both 10A and 11 has a substantial “adverse impact” on the views from the Enclave units and property, creating an increased “wall effect” along Wood Road.
“The proposal creates a relatively solid wall of development across Wood Road. This negatively impacts the entry and exit experience of Enclave owners and most significantly affects the north facing views of Enclave users as perceived from its units and the pool deck,” said Michael Hoffman, a local attorney who represented The Enclave Association at a recent Planning Commission meeting.
Hoffman also explained that the Enclave had an informal agreement with the previous Base Village developers that led to the originally approved layout of Building 11 and 10A, which puts the buildings farther off of Wood Road and has more open space adjacent to the Enclave.
“The Enclave has worked diligently throughout the history of this project to protect the views. … It intends to continue doing that and it believes those views are endangered by the current proposal,” Hoffman said.
Pat Keefer, a Base Village resident who has been vocal of its development over the years, also raised issues to Planning Commission about the minor PUD amendment proposal, specifically citing concern that making Building 13B a commercial hotel extension of the Viceroy would have a negative financial impact on Base Village’s Metro District 2 tax district and Base Village owners’ overall right to accessible parking.
Over the past six meetings, both Keefer and Hoffman voiced their views to commissioners, who spent much time deliberating what impacts the proposed changes could have on views and massing along Wood Road, and on current Base Village owners.
Most commissioners felt conflicted, as they could empathize with both the developer’s viewpoint and the Base Village owners’ and neighbors’ viewpoints. Others felt the minor PUD amendment’s proposal to shift Building 11 and 10A does not have any more of an adverse impact to the Enclave than the originally approved PUD, and would greatly improve the Base Village pool layout and design.
Ultimately, the commissioners decided it was important to make Town Council aware of the issues and concerns raised by The Enclave Association and Base Village residents so it could consider them, but felt they could not “determine if the proposed amendment will not change the basic character of the PUD because the application does not contain sufficient drawings or descriptions to portray the character of the proposed amendment,” as stated in the resolution approved July 15.
“The fundamental issue is that we’re being asked to review this as a minor PUD amendment yet there are some very striking changes that impact neighbors, impact the character. … It’s a pretty big ask,” said Fridstein at a recent meeting.
“What we’re saying is there is a concern that this reconfiguration can cause an adverse impact on the neighbors and we want Town Council to roll up their sleeves and get into it and try to sort it out. We’re not in the role to do it.”
In addition to informing Town Council of these issues and to the resolution recommendations put forth by town staff, Planning Commission also recommended that it be included in the site-specific development plan review process moving forward and that the newly aligned pedestrian crossing proposed on Wood Road be equipped with traffic calming measures and warning signs.
And although the commission is done with its review of the Base Village minor PUD amendment, it is now in the early stages of reviewing a minor PUD amendment to the proposed Fanny Hill Cabins, which are a part of phase 3 of the Base Village development and would consist of 10 single-family detached units adjacent to the Crestwood subdivision to the north and Woodrun Place to the southeast. Planning Commission’s next meeting is planned for next Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Town Council is expected to start its review of the Base Village minor PUD amendment at its regular meeting Monday at 4 p.m.
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Break out the neon windbreakers and the ski jeans for the last week of the at Snowmass: the lifts stop turning at the end of the day April 25.