Vote coming at the next meeting
The four Crested Butte Town Council members at Tuesday’s regular meeting admitted they were “sick” of dealing with the proposed timeshare ordinance slated for a vote August 18, but agreed to not include a mandated public use percentage for rooms in timeshare properties.
The issue of whether or not to force a certain number of rooms in a “fractional ownership” or timeshare project to be open for public rental had split the council over the proposed ordinance, which has been discussed for more than eight months.
The current proposal states that rooms not being used by owners must be put into the public rental pool. Some council members wanted to require that a certain percentage of the rooms (between 15 and 25 percent) are always available to be rented, much like a hotel.
Crested Butte zoning and building director Bob Gillie wrote the council a two-page memo discussing the pros and cons of such a requirement. “Everyone wishes there was a definitive answer to the question over this public use percentage but I don’t think there is in this case,” he said. “I’m not sure I have anything to tell you that will clarify the issue.”
Town attorney John Belkin reminded the council that the ordinance was not just aimed at the proposed Sixth Street Station project. That proposed development would include timeshares and the proponents of Sixth Street Station have helped the town craft the current ordinance. Located on the north side of Crested Butte across from the Gas Café, the proposed Sixth Street Station development would include an approximately 40,000-square-foot building with 47 possible rooms for rent.
“My feeling is we have the opportunity for public use in this ordinance as it is written,” said mayor pro tem Leah Williams. “This town is maxed out at certain times anyway so I don’t see the benefit of adding a required percentage of rooms to be made available for rent.” Williams noted that at the last council meeting the board was split three-to-three over the issue. “Now we are down to four and hopefully we’ll have all seven us here on the 18th to vote. But I don’t want to add the language making it a requirement.”
With mayor Alan Bernholtz and council members Skip Berkshire and Reed Betz not present, the council at Tuesday’s meeting consisted of Williams, Kimberly Metsch, Dan Escalante and Billy Rankin.
“I’m sick of this ordinance, personally,” said Rankin. “As I said last time, I like the Sixth Street project and wish we could just vote on it but this will apply to the T and the B-2 zones. So I’m not going to lay down in the tracks over having or not having the public use percentage required. The little public feedback I’m getting is that they think this is still all about being a hotel. Maybe it’s the time to take Bob’s advice and take a leap of faith.”
“I’m pretty sick of this ordinance as well,” agreed Escalante. “My worry is that the town in the busy times will be a place where you have to own something to be here. You can’t just come to town and get a room. That kind of worries me. But I think there is enough good stuff in this project and ordinance to move on and okay it.”
“I feel we made this ordinance specifically for Sixth Street Station,” added Rankin. “Maybe when another project comes to us we’ll do an ordinance for it. We’ve reacted to the developers of the Sixth Street project every time. The next time a proposal comes in we can do the same thing and do an ordinance for it.”
“That’s too painful,” replied Williams.
Town attorney John Belkin said it wasn’t the staff’s intention for it to be an ordinance just for Sixth Street Station. “There are a lot of other issues addressed in this ordinance besides the room rental percentages,” he said. “The proliferation of these types of fractional ownership deals into residences was a big concern at the beginning of this process and that is now prohibited.”
Gillie sided with Belkin. “The public use percentage is probably less than five percent of this ordinance,” he explained. “There are a lot of other things in that ordinance.”
Metsch felt the ordinance protected the interests of the town. “I don’t think this was specific to one project but the Sixth Street proponents have given us some help and that’s been a good thing,” she said. “But as we’ve said before, a head on a pillow is a head on a pillow. I think this is a good ordinance.”
All seven members of the council are expected to vote on the ordinance at its next meeting August 18.