Snowmass Village ready to restart entryway work
Snowmass Village is restarting the process to develop its entryway.
Development of the town’s entryway began in 2003, and buildings such as the Snowmass Recreation Center and the Visitor’s Center were completed before construction was put on hold in 2008 due to the recession. Now, the Town Council has directed that the second phase of the project should begin, and at the July 7 council meeting, Community Development Director Julie Ann Woods presented a proposal of how the process should go.
Potential structures had been proposed in the past, but on July 7, Woods suggested that the town should revisit what the community’s needs are now.
“This is a long list of things that were communicated in previous discussions, and I don’t know if these are still all valid or not,” Woods said. “Perhaps we don’t need a baggage- transfer station anymore.”
Some of that information, Woods said, could come from the community survey conducted last fall, which asked several questions about the entryway and what residents felt were priorities for the town.
Woods also recommended creating a technical advisory group, with representatives of involved town departments, such as Parks, Recreation and Trails; Public Works; and Snowmass Tourism; as well as a group of stakeholders, with representatives from entities such as Aspen Skiing Co., the Ice Age Discovery Center and the Town Council.
Woods said she expects to hire consultants to help with meeting facilitation, design, cost estimating and construction drawings. She has requested $29,850 for consulting services during the meeting and preliminary design phase of the project.
A draft timeline Woods presented to the council showed meetings starting this month.
“We wanted to get this going while we still had some of our part-time homeowners here,” Woods said.
Woods cautioned that, depending on the design, the town might need to make land-use code amendments, which could slow down the process. Excluding extra steps like that, Woods is hopeful that the town could have a final design by early next year. Because the project might need to go to a vote in November 2015, Woods anticipated breaking ground in 2016 in her draft timeline.
Much of the discussion on July 7 revolved around who should be included in the stakeholders group. Councilwoman Markey Butler said she didn’t think the council should be involved because the officials might influence the group.
“It’s sort of inappropriate for us to be inputting our ideas and our concepts,” Councilman Fred Kucker said. “I would rather have it be a community effort and stakeholder effort that comes to us.”
Councilman Jason Haber added that the same could be said for the Planning Commission and the town’s other advisory boards.
“I think that it’s important to have council and Planning Commission participating because it allows you to go back and inform the respective boards,” Woods said. “It helps the whole process when there’s the buy-in present of council and Planning Commission because you see it as an important community project.”
Woods suggested that only two council members show, because a meeting of three or more members is required to be noticed publicly. Town Attorney John Dresser said it would be fine if the elected officials joined the meeting as long as it was “as receptors, not advocates.”
“If you’re going to do it, it would be best to simply notice the meeting,” Dresser said.
That would mean the whole council could be present, Haber said, which he thought would be better. Most of the council members agreed that the group shouldn’t be limited to the organizations Woods listed.
“The meetings would be open to anyone,” Woods said. “However, we would want to make sure we had at least one person from each of these organizations participating so we have continuity and they can report back to their organizations. … We’re definitely wanting to stay as open-minded as possible in this process.”
Bystanders, Mountain Rescue Aspen volunteers, CareFlight of the Rockies and other public safety organizations helped respond to an injured hiker near Snowmass Lake on Tuesday, according to a news release.
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