Snowmass Town Council Recap: John Quigley honored; Snowmass Center, Town Park reviews continue with little progress
In a Nov. 9 special meeting for Snowmass Village Town Council — the last full session before new members are sworn in Monday — council members placed their focus on the ongoing review of upcoming developments but did not call any votes to approve those plans.
After honoring longtime Snowmass Village community member John Quigley, council devoted most of the two-hour meeting to discussion of the master plan for a redesign of Town Park and the redevelopment of Snowmass Center.
COUNCIL honors fixture of Snowmass hospitality
Town Council began their Nov. 9 special meeting on something of a sentimental note with the adoption of a resolution honoring longtime Snowmass Village fixture John Quigley “for his contribution to promoting a strong community and enhancing the quality of life for citizens and visitors alike.”
“You’re going to be really missed in this village, sorely missed,” Mayor Markey Butler told him before reading the resolution. “What a legacy.”
November marks the end of Quigley’s second round serving on the town’s Marketing, Group Sales and Special Event Board, where he was a member from 2006 to 2012 and again from 2015 through this year.
Quigley recently moved to Michigan this fall after nearly 40 years working in hospitality in the village; he has served as the director of sales and marketing for Viceroy Snowmass since 2012.
The resolution declared Quigley a “tremendous asset” to Town Council and to the Snowmass Village community at large, praising his “guidance, institutional knowledge, creativity, commitment (to) intelligent solutions and hard work.”
“Snowmass will always have a special place in my heart and in my life,” Quigley said. “Thank you, everyone.”
Questions for Town Park redesign
Ongoing review the Town Park redesign proposal continued, with little in the way of progress addressing concerns about parking arrangements and multipurpose space on and near the rodeo grounds.
Council had previously requested additional parking for rodeo contestants in an updated plan when they reviewed the proposal at an Oct. 12 special meeting.
Parks, Recreation and Trails Director Andy Worline presented three options for parking plans Nov. 9: one using the existing layout and two others proposing modifications to the site plan that create parking bays for trucks and trailers and establish new multipurpose space near the rodeo grounds.
But none of the plans satisfied worries about emergency vehicle access to rodeo grounds and space for horses to stand outside trailers when they aren’t competing. Darce Vold, the executive director of the Snowmass Western Heritage Association that produces the Snowmass Rodeo, had previously raised safety concerns in a letter sent to Worline in September.
“I don’t want to rock the boat, but the current drawings … didn’t really address our issues,” Vold said.
Moreover, council members noted that the drawings insufficiently addressed a community need for multipurpose areas in the Town Park redesign; the current drawings allot space for two small soccer fields adjacent to the rodeo grounds — large enough for youth practice and competition but not for regulation play.
Though suggestions and questions were plentiful during council discussions of the plan, Town Manager Clint Kinney expressed a need for clear direction from council in order to proceed.
“We just need to understand what you’re aiming for, and then we’ll make it work,” Kinney said. “We’re struggling trying to figure out what the goal is at this point.”
The persistent problem with the plan, council members and town staff agree, is one of “too much stuff, not enough space.” Meeting all the requests and needs of the community in Town Park is by nature an endeavor of tight squeezes and compromise.
“Maybe we can’t have everything we want to have,” said Councilman Bob Sirkus during the meeting.
The councilman said in an interview earlier in the afternoon that the integration of multipurpose space into the redesign was one of his primary concerns. The rodeo situation is at “the crux of the matter, frankly” of the Town Park redesign.
“We still have a lot of work to do on what that should look like,” Sirkus said.
Snowmass Center review continues
With the second reading of Snowmass Center redevelopment plans delayed due to a rarely used town charter rule, there was little action Town Council could take during ongoing review of the ordinance at the Nov. 9 meeting.
Most draft changes for the proposal from Eastwood Snowmass Investors were “inconsequential,” said town planner Brian McNellis. But that doesn’t mean there was nothing to talk about.
Council spent nearly 45 minutes discussing updates to the proposal during continued public hearings of the review. Much of that time was dedicated to language regarding retaining wall materials, an ongoing sticking point that, as Councilman Sirkus put it, left town officials and the project applicant “fighting over words” before reaching a resolution.
The plan to soften retaining wall materials was not itself an issue. After council members expressed concern about the severity of tall, concrete walls near the entrance to Snowmass last week, proposals for transparent guardrails, terraced retaining walls and additional landscaping were well-received.
But developers wanted the details of those updates to replace, rather than add to, ordinance language requiring that developers soften retaining wall materials to the “greatest extent possible.”
That three-word caveat would give town officials the flexibility to implement the proposed softening strategies — terracing with vegetation, for instance — wherever they see a need. That could include provisions for softer retaining walls near the Melton Ranch Trail, which were not included in the updated plan.
“To the greatest extent possible, at the discretion of someone else, using our funds, quite frankly, is just not something we can sign up for,” said Eastwood Snowmass Investors principal Jordan Sarick.
Staff and developers will now work together to modify the language to appease both parties, granting council their requests for softer retaining walls while still giving the town some flexibility on the implementation of those strategies.
“We absolutely trust the applicant — we know they’re going to design it as well as possible,” Kinney said. “We’re asking them for that same level of trust.”
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