Town Council recap: ‘New’ electeds sworn in; Goode appointed to vacant seat
The Nov. 16 Snowmass Village Town Council meeting marked the first convention of a new council — though “new” is perhaps only a relative term for the familiar faces in council chambers Monday night. The transfer of power was less a transition than a round of musical chairs, as four of the five members of the previous Town Council will continue to convene in council chambers.
Former Councilman Bill Madsen filled the mayoral seat vacated by Markey Butler, who served for the maximum of three, two-year terms in the role.
Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk was re-elected to her seat and Councilman Bob Sirkus has two years remaining on his four-year term; Tom Goode, who lost the mayoral race to Madsen at the end of his first term on council, was appointed to fill Madsen’s council seat, which has two years remaining on its term.
Councilman Tom Fridstein is the only new member at the table; he was elected to fill the seat vacated when Goode decided to run for mayor.
“It’s been a great ride,” Butler said of her six years as a councilwoman and six years as mayor. Butler will likely continue to work with the Board of Health and serve as a liaison between council and the board; a formal appointment to the board from the new council is slated for Dec. 7.
SNOWMASS CENTER GETS THE GREEN LIGHT
After a week of uncertainty about the approval timeline for Snowmass Center, developers Eastwood Snowmass Investors got the thumbs-up they needed from council to take the next steps for their revamp of the town hub.
The second reading of the ordinance approving the plans was approved unanimously by the three council members eligible to vote: Mayor Madsen and councilmen Goode and Sirkus.
Last week, a little-known town charter rule delayed council’s vote on the second reading of the ordinance; its approval timeline hinged on the appointment of a council member who would not recuse themselves from the matter, as half of the new council could not vote on the matter.
Councilwoman Shenk recused herself because her husband is a lawyer working with the developers. Councilman Fridstein’s recusal carried over from his time on the Planning Commission; developers requested the recusal after Fridstein proposed sketches for the project without the applicant’s approval.
Goode’s appointment to Madsen’s seat filled that need, and the ordinance passed without a hitch at the Nov. 16 meeting.
Jordan Sarick, principal for Eastwood Snowmass Developers, said in a phone interview after the council meeting that he was “feeling great” about the approval after last week’s uncertainty.
“We’re really excited to get started,” Sarick said.
COUNCIL DIVIDED ON RIGHTS AT COUGAR CANYON
Council voted 3-2 to extend the vested property rights to 2050 for five lots in Cougar Canyon and five lots in Cozy Point Ridge Planned Use Districts (PUDs). Those rights were originally set to sunset in 2037.
The land, located east of Brush Creek Road near Highway 82, is owned by billionaire David Bonderman. Lots have the potential to become “homesteads” on large plots of land for those who own individual homesites within the subdivision.
The subdivision was annexed by the town in 2006 and is subject to the town’s development codes. The extension granted Monday is essentially approval to “keep on keeping on” for the next 30 years, protecting homestead owners from changes to the development code that may occur between now and when they decide to develop the properties.
“I don’t think I’ve ever come to the Town Council or local government and asked them to approve an incentive for my client to do nothing with their property,” said David Mayler, who represented Bonderman on the matter. “But that’s exactly what we have here.”
Councilmen Sirkus and Fridstein, the two dissenting votes, expressed concern over extending the rights now when the development is likely to impact a future generation of Snowmass Village residents.
For Madsen, Shenk and Goode, the community benefit that comes with tax income from the PUDs was reason enough to extend the rights.
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It’s been just shy of a year since Snowmass Village Town Council reviewed and approved the final redevelopment plans for the Snowmass Center in late fall of 2020 and just shy of two years since the project was first brought before council for review in 2019. But the building still looks the same as it did last year and the year before. Why?