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Crested Butte council watching Brush Creek process closely

Public hearing February 16 in Mt. Crested Butte 

by Mark Reaman

The Crested Butte Town Council is keeping a close eye on the Brush Creek affordable housing situation as it moves through the county review process.

Town Council members Chris Haver and Kent Cowherd were appointed as special representatives to act as a subcommittee of the council to follow the progress of the proposal and report back to the board. Each has attended the Gunnison County Planning Commission meetings on the proposal.

Haver reported on the January 5 work session, explaining some of the changes made by Gatesco, the proponent of the plan. Corresponding to issues brought up by the council, Haver said the number of parking spaces was expanded and some setbacks from Brush Creek Road were adjusted.

While there was a reduction in the number of bedrooms, there are still 240 units on the 14-acre site that also includes a transit center. He reported that more units are now reserved for low-wage earners making less than 80 percent of the AMI (Average Median Income) but there are six more free market units in the plan. He said there were still no “for sale”’ units as part of the plan and the compatibility with the neighborhood was still an issue, with nothing nearby in the same density range. He said the proponents estimate there will be a maximum of 540 people living on the site.

Cowherd told the council that the developers believe they can build the 28-building complex relatively inexpensively by bringing in workers from Texas and using scale to cut costs, hence some of the need for the large number of units.

“This is a county process and we are a review agency,” emphasized Haver. “The public hearing is scheduled for February 16 in Mt. Crested Butte so if you are for or against this project that is the time to show up and make your voice heard.”

That meeting is slated to take place that Friday morning at the Mountaineer Square ballroom.

Town manager Dara MacDonald said the staff was compiling information for a detailed comment letter and a draft of that letter will be reviewed at the January 22 council meeting.

A representative of the Friends of Brush Creek, Robert McCarter, was at the council meeting and he told the council that it appeared that county approval is all but official. “It’s a done deal. The three county commissioners and most of the Planning Commission basically verbally approved it at the last meeting,” he said. “It is unequivocally over. The only way to stop or pull it in to a reasonable level is if you or Mt. Crested Butte stands up for the north end of the valley. When this goes in, there will be stoplights needed at that intersection and the Four-way Stop and probably at the north end of town and not just a roundabout.

“The town will certainly keep growing but this is a steroid injection,” McCarter continued. “The council will own this decision to let it happen. I hate the position you are in and the pressure you are under from the county. It is sort of dirty politics. But I hope you will consider protecting the north end of the valley. There is a better way to do this.”

The February 16 planning commission work session is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. with the public hearing starting about 10:30 a.m.

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