Public may comment until May 14
Crested Butte South’s Red Mountain Park may be home to an indoor ice rink facility before the year is out. Developer and private school owner Gary Garland says he’s now seeking to build a private rink in the subdivision, which is located seven miles south of Crested Butte off Highway 135.
The decision marks the third proposed site for a hockey rink after Garland considered building a facility in the town of Crested Butte and the Larkspur subdivision, just south of town.
“I’m hoping that the people in CB (Crested Butte) South want this, and if they do, we’ll put it down there. We want to do the right thing here,” Garland says. “But we’re still in the approval process for Larkspur and it’s our Plan B.” Garland has been seeking permission from the Gunnison County Planning Commission to build the rink on a site reserved for a recreation center in the Larkspur subdivision but has now switched gears to pursue a site in Crested Butte South.
Crested Butte South residents may have just one opportunity to comment on the proposed plan to lease land in Red Mountain Park to Mountain Sports, LLC, which owns the private Crested Butte Academy and would own and operate the hockey facility.
The Crested Butte South Property Owners Association board will consider the plan and building during its meeting on Wednesday, May 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the fire station, Sunset Hall, in Crested Butte South.
The association board and Gunnison County must approve the building, although the county has not yet determined what level of review the rink will trigger. “At this point, because we don’t have an application, it’s undetermined,” says county planning director Joanne Williams.
Garland and Crested Butte South manager Chris Behan are hoping that if the property owners association board approves the project, the county will review it administratively, meaning it won’t trigger a public hearing process and Planning Commission oversight as projects considered minor and major impacts under the county Land Use Resolution (LUR) would.
Administrative review takes considerably less time than a minor or major impact project process. “It shouldn’t rise to the level of minor impact,” Garland says.
Under the plan, Garland is proposing to build a 40,000-square-foot indoor ice arena, which would include restrooms, locker rooms, a second-story viewing area/ community room, bleachers, storage areas, concessions area and gravity center in Red Mountain Park. The gravity center is an indoor skateboarding and gravity sports training facility. The site would serve as home to Crested Butte Academy’s new hockey program but would also be open to the public. It would be operated year-round by Academy staff.
The $2.5 million metal-sided building is planned to be 320 feet long by 125 feet wide and 30 feet tall. Two covered lanes for curling would also be attached in the future.
Behan says they are still working on a plan for where the facility would fit into the park, although it’s currently sited on the southwest corner at the intersection of Teocalli Road and Cascadilla Street, adjacent to the existing fire station building. The existing tennis courts would be moved north. However, Behan syas its likely the existing outdoor ice sheet will be removed and replaced with the new building—negating the need to move the courts.
Behan says complete site and landscaping plans, floor plans, elevations and material samples will be available for public viewing at the property owners association building by Friday, May 9. At the POA board meeting on May 14, he says, Mountain Sports LLC will provide information about the building’s hours of operation, the anticipated hours of Academy use, parking and traffic issues, and information about how nearby ice rinks have affected property values in other communities.
Garland has said previously that he intends to keep prices manageable for the public and says the Academy’s use schedule won’t conflict with public use.
During the meeting on May 14, the property owners association board will also decide whether it’s appropriate to lease the land in Red Mountain to Mountain Sports LLC. According to Behan, the land is platted for community use and a recreational facility may be an appropriate use of that space.
Behan says he is currently negotiating with Garland about what Crested Butte South will receive in return for leasing its land, but it may include help with landscaping the park, maintenance of existing ice facilities, and reserved ice-time for Crested Butte South residents. Those items will be part of the lease agreement.
Under the plan, the Property Owners Association would not be financially responsible for building the rink or any maintenance costs. In the event the Academy went bankrupt, Behan says, the rink would be turned over to the association.
Behan says the initial reaction from homeowners has been positive and notes that Garland previously approached the POA board about an ice rink plan last year. “We went through this a year ago and everyone was in favor of exploring the possibility then,” he says. Behan also points out that the 2007 master plan for the park depicted an indoor rink at the site Garland is proposing.
If the POA board decides the plan is acceptable, Behan says, it could be approved on May 14. “If we can sort out all the issues, we can do it at one meeting,” he says.
If approved, the Property Owners Association would then jointly apply with Mountain Sports LLC to Gunnison County for approval.
Williams says once the county receives the application, it will decide what level of review it will trigger.
Garland has said he hopes to have the building constructed and operational by October 1.