Saturday, June 6, 2020

BRIEFS: Crested Butte

by Mark Reaman

No condo consolidation to be allowed

The Crested Butte town council passed an ordinance that will prohibit people from consolidating condominiums in town. The idea is to preserve smaller, more affordable condo units in town instead of allowing mega penthouses. “This is important and could preserve opportunity for locals,” said councilman Jim Schmidt.

“There appears to have been no negative objections from anyone,” noted councilman Chris Ladoulis. “It feels oddly silent.”

“It may be so far down the road that it is not yet an issue, unlike something like short-term rentals,” said councilman Roland Mason. “Things might change down the road but at least we will have something on the books.”

“It is good to be ahead of the game,” said councilman Jackson Petito.

The ordinance passed unanimously 7-0.

Lots of snow hauled this winter and no extra 

charges to private haulers

Public works director Rodney Due said the town had hauled more than 5,800 truckloads of snow out of the core of town this winter. Now the department is looking to pick up the trash that emerges as the snow melts. He reiterated that town does not charge private contractors any extra money for hauling snow to the gravel pit beyond the seasonal $250. He also said given the recent melting cycle he does not expect any major flooding issues unless a logjam occurs in Coal Creek, and the marshals are keeping an eye on the possibility.

Lots of planning, building and changes coming up

Town planner Michael Yerman said there is a lot of activity ramping up for the summer. Clark’s Market is moving toward submitting an expansion plan. Sixth Street Station’s Crested Butte Hotel is proceeding through the BOZAR, a major building is planned for 208 Elk Avenue, and Cypress Foothills developers have officially submitted a development plan to the county for the proposal on the town’s northern border.

Building and zoning director Bob Gillie said no bids were received for a planned warming house expansion in Big Mine Park. The town extended the bidding process until April 24 in hopes of attracting some interest in the project. Bids for the Four-way Stop transit center will also be opened in April.

Yerman will be taking over Bob Gillie’s building and zoning position once Gillie retires in June. The town will shift some department responsibilities as a result so the council wants to hold a work session to discuss details of the transition. The town will begin advertising for a senior planner position to step into Yerman’s current seat.

Bikes instead of a truck

Town manager Dara Macdonald received the okay from council to turn four wheels into two. The council had budgeted for a new “town hall vehicle” to be purchased in 2017 but MacDonald said senior staff concluded it wasn’t needed. So she proposed that a portion of that budgeted money be spent to purchase some “town hall bikes” instead. The council gave the thumbs up for the new townies.

Wastewater treatment upgrades

Council approved a resolution entering into a contract with Integrated Water Services Inc. to construct wastewater plant upgrades totaling about $3.5 million this summer. The construction will be paid for primarily through low-interest loans and grants. Public Works director Rodney Due said the improvements should put the town in good stead for at least the next 20 years.

Sales tax revenue up; bars, restaurants hauling it in

Sales tax revenue for February was up at least 1.8 percent in Crested Butte and probably more. Town finance director Lois Rozman said some lodges still need to report their revenues. She did note that marijuana sales were significantly off from last year but overall for January and February, sales tax revenue was up at least 6.6 percent over 2016. She credited good snow and the increasing drive market demographic. Councilman Chris Ladoulis noted that the “Bars and Restaurant” category was bringing in about 40 percent of the sales tax revenue for town. “If people question whether we are a tourist economy, there is an answer. I would like to see how that has increased over the last 10 years or so.”

Sidewalk seating meant for summer

In response to a request from a local business owner to allow sidewalk seating and dining during warm days in the winter, town staff gave the council a memo explaining why sidewalk seating season runs between May 26 and October 15. In large part it is due to street maintenance and the limited time town has to prepare Elk Avenue for the busy summer season. Council did not pursue the issue.

Council supports Bennet’s Thompson Divide legislation

The council listened to a presentation by the High Country Conservation Advocates’ Matt Reed on the proposal by U.S. Senator Michael Bennet’s reintroduced Thompson Divide Protection Bill. Reed emphasized that the new bill was a great benefit to Crested Butte since the geography now included lands in the Kebler Pass area. “It really does impact our backyard,” Reed told the council. Council agreed to write a letter of support for the legislation to the appropriate politicos in Washington.

Public House liquor license okayed

Council approved a hotel and restaurant liquor license for Eleven’s Public House located at the corner of Second Street and Elk Avenue. The establishment will include three hotel rooms, a restaurant and bar open to the public along with a tap room/nightclub located in the basement. The renovation has taken many, many months.

How ‘bout some burgers and dogs?

The town council is hoping to hold a town picnic in early June.

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