Town Council looks at Snowmass Center community purpose requirements; trail closure extensions; rezoning parcel to open space
Snowmass Town Council allocated another $100,000 to Pitkin County’s COVID-19 relief fund, approved the first readings of ordinances that would extend trail closures on Burnt Mountain and re-zone a parcel of land in the Horse Ranch Subdivision, and continued discussion on the Snowmass Center redevelopment project. Here’s the recap:
TOWN ALLOCATES ANOTHER $100,000 FOR COVID-19 RELIEF
Snowmass Town Council doubled its contribution to Pitkin County’s COVID-19 relief fund with the passage of a second emergency ordinance at its regular meeting April 20.
The $100,000 contribution approved Monday comes two weeks after council OK’d the initial $100,000 the town allocated for COVID-19 relief April 6.
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“I think it’s fair to say these dollars are coming right back to us to help the community,” said Clint Kinney, town manager of Snowmass Village. “As town manager I support this contribution, we have reserves, we’re able to afford it, so if Town Council desires I would absolutely recommend the approval of this emergency ordinance.”
For the full story on the town’s COVID-19 response, visit SnowmassSun.com.
COMMUNITY PURPOSE OF SNOWMASS CENTER PROJECT
Town Council plans to start its review of the Snowmass Center redevelopment project’s proposed community purpose fulfillments in the coming weeks.
As explained by town staff, because the redevelopment project exceeds the “future buildout” identified for the area in the town’s comprehensive plan, “community purpose,” or specific community benefits like providing more affordable housing and developing necessary public facilities, are required for council approval of the planned redevelopment.
On April 20, the Snowmass Center project’s proposed community purpose aspects — which have changed some since council began reviewing the project last fall — were highlighted and explained, including the $500,000 commitment to improve overall community connectivity, $250,000 dedicated to the creation of a public park at the Snowmass Center, more affordable or deed-restricted housing than required and nearly 25 acres of open space dedicated to the town.
The community purpose proposal for the project originally included a $750,000 contribution toward a pedestrian bridge that would extend from the Snowmass Center area to Base Village, but was nixed as it did not appear to be supported by council or town staff.
“There’s a significant number of improvements we believe enhance livability, vitality and resiliency of the town in the future,” said Jordan Sarick, principal of Eastwood Developments and its Eastwood Snowmass Investors affiliate. “Some are tangible, some are intangible, but together we believe strongly that our community purpose obligation is filled and then some.”
Sarick explained that while things like enjoying lunch with a view and meeting a friend for coffee are intangible, the development team has worked to modestly quantify its community purpose contribution, estimating all of the pieces proposed amount to roughly $2.7 million of community benefits.
In addition to the community purposes proposed for the Snowmass Center project by developers, town staff also recommended April 20 that council require the design and construction of a recreational soft trail that connects the Melton Ranch Trail to the Rim Connector Trail; a safe hard trail connection between Melton Ranch Trail and Snowmass Center Main Street in lieu of a public park, as staff feel $250,000 is not enough to create a park; and a sidewalk connection along the east side of Upper Kearns Road from the proposed transit center to the Brush Creek Road roundabout, all as part of community purpose.
But before it could dive into community purpose requirements, Town Council felt it needed more visuals on the significant amendments made to the project as presented on April 6.
Those project changes included removing the two buildings (5A and 5B) between the main center and Woodbridge Condominiums and replacing them with additional commercial parking and the new neighborhood park; adding residential units from 5A and 5B to three of the four buildings (2A, 2B and 3A) located behind the main center building; dropping the overall height of building 6B by 3 feet; and improving loading service, delivery and shuttle loading areas in and around the proposed center.
Council also wanted more detail and specifics on some of the community purpose proposals, including the envisioned connectivity between the Snowmass Center and Base Village and the new Snowmass Center public park.
While there wasn’t much community purpose discussion, council members did say they feel developers should pay in full to create a public park and connection from Melton Ranch Trail to the Snowmass Center Main Street, and that connectivity to Base Village should be part of the overall development cost, not necessarily a community purpose fulfillment.
Town staff plans to bring a draft resolution for the Snowmass Center redevelopment project for council to work from at its May 4 meeting, and the redevelopment team said they would bring more visuals and details to help continue discussion on the project’s community purpose.
“I think this is moving in a very positive direction,” said Mayor Markey Butler.
TRAIL CLOSURES TO BE EXTENDED ON BURNT MOUNTAIN
Council approved the first reading of an ordinance Monday that would extend parts of the Burnt Mountain Wildlife Closure for an additional week this year.
The closure extension was requested by U.S. Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials to help protect the area’s steadily declining elk population from potentially detrimental disturbance during calving season.
Snowmass police, parks and trails officials and administration staff support the extension, which would extend the current seasonal closure of the area south of Tom Blake Trail and east of Sequel Trail until June 28.
Each spring, the Anaerobic Nightmare, Sequel and Tom Blake trails close from April 25 through June 21. The Government Trail east of Elk Camp Work Road is also closed May 15 through June 21, according to the town website.
This year, if the closure extension passes second reading, the Anaerobic Nightmare Trail and Government Trail east of Elk Camp Work Road would be closed until June 28. Tom Blake Trail will remain in the original closure with scheduled opening on June 21.
After little discussion, Town Council unanimously approved the Burnt Mountain Wildlife Closure extension.
REZONing FOR PARCEL IN HORSE RANCH SUBDIVISION
In a 4 to 1 vote, Town Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would rezone a parcel of the Horse Ranch Subdivision from “public” to “open space.”
According to the town municipal code, land that is zoned as public aims to provide areas for “uses required by, and for the benefit of” the public or are reserved for future community facilities. Land zoned as open space signifies the area is not appropriate for development or recreation use and preserves it in its natural state.
However, Councilman Bob Sirkus felt that rezoning the parcel as open space could be detrimental in the future, and would be better rezoned as a conservation parcel.
“I am concerned about changing the zoning to open space because of the difficulty of moving it back to some other zone in the future if it’s necessary,” Sirkus said, explaining that to rezone out of open space requires the designation of a similar open space parcel elsewhere in town. “I would feel more comfortable chaning the zone to conservation as I think it gets to the same result and would still allow flexibility in the future.”
The ordinance also included the allowance of a future public art installation on the parcel adjacent to Brush Creek Road. Town Council members felt that with the open space designation that public art would be inappropriate to include, and amended the ordinance to take it out.
Council approved the first reading of the amended ordinance 4-1, with Sirkus voting against it.
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