Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Gates team open to more changes to get towns on board

Councils struggle for open meeting date

By Mark Reaman

Given the directive by the Gunnison County commissioners to strike a deal by October 31, the members of the Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte town councils are working to find a date for a joint public meeting that fits into each of their 14 schedules. That is no easy task.

The Crested Butte council tried to accommodate suggestions from Mt. Crested Butte for a meeting on either August 21 or August 27. But Crested Butte councilman Will Dujardin, one of the most vocal advocates on either council for making a deal with the development team, was hard pressed to make either date. He advocated for an earlier meeting date or sometime in the first week of September so he could be present for the discussions.

The other council members had work or other meeting conflicts for the suggested dates but indicated they would try to work around them.

In Mt. Crested Butte, mayor Janet Farmer said August 27 seemed to work for everyone. She said one council member planned to be out of town on August 21 and as with the Crested Butte council, it was noted that the town league softball championship game was scheduled for the evening of August 21.

Gatesco attorney Kendall Burgemeister attended the Crested Butte Town Council meeting and told them Gary Gates was willing to give it “one last good faith effort to keep the project going.”

Burgemeister admitted that the nearly two-year process was causing fatigue but the fact Gatesco was awarded a 76-unit affordable housing project in Gunnison changed the development dynamic enough to give Gates hope he could bring in a 156-unit rental project at the Corner at Brush Creek.

“It seems the 156-unit request was the most important of the conditions,” said Burgemeister. “Gary got there so the question is, is there flexibility with the other two? If so, Gary is willing to put his money at risk.”

The cited conditions are leaving five acres of land for a future use such as an intercept parking lot and requiring two parking spaces per unit. Burgemeister indicated the detailed issues such as water availability and traffic could be set aside for the moment in order to get the town comfortable with the big picture.

“Gary is not ready to give up,” Burgemeister said. “The need for this rental housing is obviously there. If you want some more specificity on some of the outstanding issues I can take a crack at a bullet-point list. Given the things in Gary’s latest letter I think there is probably some flexibility. You said you wanted five acres left for a future use and he said two. Is there room to move? Probably.”

The councils are conducting intense online polls to see when a date conducive to everyone’s schedule makes a meeting possible.

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