Snowmass Town Council digs into Base Village amendment; approves status quo parking plan and ballot question; and sees detailed Town Park redesign plan
In a three-hour regular meeting Aug. 17, Snowmass Town Council dug into its review of the minor Base Village planned use development (PUD) amendment, approved a status quo winter parking plan and a ballot question asking voters to extend the mill levy in place that helps support the Aspen School District, and received an update on the proposed redesign of Town Park. Here’s the recap:
COUNCIL DIGS INTO BASE VILLAGE PUD AMENDMENT
Snowmass Town Council began digging into the minor PUD amendment submitted for the already approved last phase of Base Village on Aug. 17.
During the first real council discussion on the proposed amendment, council members decided to start by going through each of the amendment’s five major asks identified by town staff. These asks include increasing the potential maximum unit equivalents to allow for a variety of unit sizes and types within a building’s existing overall square footage; a lot line adjustment to reflect moving the Base Village pool as part of Building 11 versus 10A and shifting the orientation of both of those buildings; allowing for Building 13B to potentially be a commercial hotel versus more permanent residential housing; parking program modifications; and requesting more time for project completion, extending the vested rights until November 2029.
Council also began to look into the concerns raised by Base Village neighbors and homeowners that aspects of the project would have adverse impacts to the surrounding area.
These aspects include pivoting or shifting the positions of Building 11 and Building 10A, which are proposed along Wood Road, which The Enclave Association of Enclave Condominiums feels impacts their owners’ views and creates a “wall effect”; making Building 13B a commercial hotel extension of the Viceroy, which some Base Village homeowners feel would negatively impact the current Base Village master homeowner’s association and Metro District 2 tax district; and the revised parking plan, which owners feel inhibits their overall right to accessible parking.
The Planning Commission also expressed split views on the potential impacts of the changes to the original Base Village project outlined in the minor PUD amendment, but overall made a recommendation to approve the changes, as previously reported.
Council made it through the first major ask identified by town staff, increasing the maximum unit equivalents, which members did not have a problem with and agreed with the need for unit type and size flexibility.
But when looking at the second ask, the lot line adjustment, council members felt they couldn’t address it without addressing the concerns raised about the shift in Buildings 11 and 10A.
“The lot line adjustment is essentially a function of the request to move the building spaces around. One has to get past the Planning Commission’s concerns about having adverse effects and changing community character in order to really talk about this adjustment,” Councilman Bob Sirkus said. “So I think it’s kind of a cart before the horse situation.”
In regards to these concerns, Andy Gunion and Ellen McCready of East West Partners went through some of the “before and after” specifics of the building shifts and emphasized that they do not feel these shifts create any significant massing or viewplane impacts different than what was originally approved for construction.
They also said they’d met with The Enclave Association recently and had prepared a 3D presentation showing the projected viewplanes, scale and massing of the amended Building 10A and 11 layouts compared to the originally approved ones.
Gunion and McCready said they would share this 3D presentation with council at its next meeting and also would bring back specific Building 10A and 11 parameters requested by council. Council members decided to hold off on further discussion until it could review these specifics.
Town Council will continue its review of the minor Base Village PUD amendment Sept. 8 at 4 p.m.
WINTER PARKING PROGRAM TO STAY THE SAME
Town Council unanimously approved a 2020-21 winter parking program that maintains the status quo and does not include any permit price increases.
At the Aug. 3 council meeting, town staff presented a draft year-round parking program that included a paid summer parking plan and permit price increases to council for consideration.
The town has not increased parking permit prices in several years and proposed a summer paid plan to help manage access to day-use parking as visitor numbers continue to increase, as previously reported.
However, after council expressed concern at the Aug. 3 meeting with raising prices amid the COVID crisis, staff came back with a status quo winter parking plan for approval and proposed delaying a decision on a year-round program with permit price increases until “more is known about COVID-19 restrictions on summer groups and events,” for next year, town documents state.
“If we’re able to address COVID and have special events we think we’ll go to a summer program, if we’re not we probably won’t,” said Town Manager Clint Kinney. “So we’ve set it up for that level of flexibility but for the public, what we’re projecting right now is a status quo type program.”
Council approved the status quo winter parking plan and agreed to delay looking at a year-round parking program until it begins its 2021 town budget discussions in October.
MILL LEVY FOR ASD BALLOT QUESTION OK’D
This November, Snowmass voters will be asked to extend the mill levy put in place in 2016 to provide additional funding to the Aspen School District.
The Snowmass Village Education Property Tax Mill Levy, which provides $510,000 to ASD annually, is set to sunset at the end of 2022, leading school district officials to ask council to add a ballot question on the proposed five-year extension of the levy through 2026, with the last collection year being 2027.
“We really appreciate you all considering this,” said Susan Marolt, president of ASD’s Board of Education.
Marolt emphasized that Aspen City Council approved a November ballot question last week asking voters to extend the city’s sales tax in place to support ASD, referring to it as the “companion piece” to the Snowmass tax.
At its July 13 work session, council discussed the potential for adding this mill levy extension question on this year’s ballot in a joint meeting with ASD officials, requesting more hard data on how the district’s $30 million budget for 2021 was calculated, what the cost per student would be and how the district’s revenue sources and expenses compare to similar school districts in the state and the nation.
On Aug. 17, council unanimously approved the question with little to no discussion outside of ballot language specifics to make clear the mill levy is an extension of what’s already in place.
FINAL TOWN PARK REDESIGN PRESENTED TO COUNCIL
In the last roughly 30 minutes of the Aug. 17 council meeting, town parks and recreation staff presented its more detailed working redesign plan for Town Park.
In late 2019 and early 2020, council discussed through a handful of potential redesign options that would help better utilize the space for community focused activities and recreation, and create a more appealing entrance to Snowmass Village.
In February, Town Council voiced support for the “Option 3” redesign, which slightly reorients the rodeo arena and increases overall field space.
Six months later, staff and Connect One designers presented a more detailed “Option 3” proposal that includes creating a wetland recreation area with beach, wading, swimming, fishing and other gathering area access at the pond; shifting the rodeo arena so its parallel with Brush Creek Road and is utilized for winter parking; creating about 64,000 additional square feet of field space; and creating 119 more paved summer parking spaces.
“The design firm has encompassed the years of community input and feedback to plan and efficiently utilize the current used and unused space at Town Park to create a beautiful, engaging destination that offers fun for all ages,” town documents state.
Staff and designers explained that they wanted to introduce council to the more detailed design they hope to move into the final master plan phase with before diving deeper into the cost projection and next project phases with council next month.
“We’re hopeful that we captured all of the information in this new updated design and basically created that front door feel to the town of Snowmass Village,” said Andy Worline, director of parks, open space, trails and recreation.
Council briefly expressed consensus around the wetland recreation area aspect of the proposal, noting that it gives a nod to Hallam Lake and North Star Nature Preserve.
When asked by staff if the design was “going in the right direction,” Butler said she could not answer that because the council has yet to dive into the plan’s specifics and to ask questions.
More in-depth discussion and review of the proposed Town Park redesign will take place at the Sept. 8 council meeting at 4 p.m.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story said council will begin 2021 budget discussions in Sept. The story has been updated to reflect the fact that they will actually begin in October.
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User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
The Snowmass Villager (what we now know as the Snowmass Sun) was launched on October 23, 1967. Anybody still have a copy of the first edition?