Housing proposal takes step toward preliminary plan review
By Katherine Nettles
Despite a plea from the Mt. Crested Butte town manager to not impose a condition on the number of units allowed beyond those already stated by the county, the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council voted to approve a memorandum on January 15 outlining its recommendation to move The Corner at Brush Creek project into the Gunnison County LUR Preliminary Plan phase.
The memorandum will be sent to the Gunnison County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), the Gunnison County Planning Commission, the Crested Butte Town Council, Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR), and APT Brush Creek Road, LLC (an affiliate of the developer, Gatesco, Inc., formed for the purpose of acquiring and holding title to the property).
The memorandum reflects conditions reached in consensus with the Crested Butte Town Council last week and includes withholding five acres of the 14.3-acre property for future uses, requiring two parking spots per unit and capping the number of units on the development to 156.
In August 2018 the BOCC approved the sketch plan for Gatesco’s affordable housing proposal with several conditions.
Condition one of the sketch plan approval states, “prior to the submittal of the Preliminary Plan, and prior to the submittal of the Final Plan the applicant shall obtain consent of three of the four parties (Gunnison County, Town of Crested Butte, Town of Mt. Crested Butte, and Crested Butte Mountain Resort).”
The county and CBMR represented the first two nods of approval.
The Mt. Crested Butte Town Council states in its memorandum that it “has independently discussed the consideration of giving their consent for the application to move into Preliminary Plan process.” This included public meetings in August and December 2018 and January 2, 2019; work sessions in September, October and December 2018; and joint work sessions with the Crested Butte Town Council in September and October 2018 and on January 7, 2019.
The Mt. Crested Butte Town Council settled, by majority opinion, on giving its consent for Gatesco to submit its preliminary plan application to Gunnison County with the following conditions:
1) Five acres of the site shall be set aside to the MOA parties for such future uses as the MOA parties may determine, consistent with the terms and processes contained in the MOA.
2) The total number of residential units for the remainder of the parcel (after 5 acres are set aside to be retained by the MOA parties) shall not exceed 156.
3) The developer shall provide two parking spaces for every unit constructed, to be provided contemporaneous with the construction of the units.
The applicant, Gatesco, Inc., must agree to such conditions and formally amend its application to reflect these conditions in order for the town’s consent to remain valid, according to the memorandum.
Mt. Crested Butte town manager Joe Fitzpatrick made his plea to the council to not restrict Gatesco to 156 units on the property during the council’s Tuesday discussion, stating, “I believe we are making a major mistake if we do not allow 180 units.” He said the need for and expense of workforce housing, coupled with the project needing to be equitable for the private partner assuming all costs and risks involved, were reasons to allow the applicant to proceed at his previously reduced number of 180.
In recent weeks, Gatesco has lobbied for 180 units. Project manager John O’Neal has stated that developing the project at 180 units with the 41 conditions in the Sketch Plan Approval will be challenging.
“Maintaining feasibility down to 156 units would be extremely difficult. Regardless of feasibility, we sincerely believe the project is better for the community at 180 units,” he wrote by e-mail.
Prior to Fitzpatrick’s statements, council member Janet Farmer had also made a plea not to restrict the applicant. She read a prepared statement to the council detailing her desire to move the project forward but her conflict with adding the three conditions. She believed restricting the project would “kill it,” she said repeatedly. Farmer was the sole council member to vote against the memorandum.
Gary Gates was not at the meeting, but responded to the vote in an e-mail. “I’ve not had time to fully digest. But, I’ll just keep moving forward. I still want to do the deal,” he wrote Wednesday, citing “overwhelming public support for the project.”