October deadline approaching
By Mark Reaman
A joint meeting between the town councils of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte will be held on Monday, September 23 to continue the discussion about the Corner at Brush Creek.
The developer of the proposed affordable housing project, Gatesco, Inc., is trying to convince either or both of the towns to agree to let the review proceed into Gunnison County’s Preliminary Plan process. The county has asked that three of the four property owners of the land where the project would be located—the two towns, the county and Crested Butte Mountain Resort—agree to let the project proceed.
The county commissioners have set a deadline for such an agreement of October 31. So far the county and CBMR are on board but the two towns have yet to give their blessing, citing several concerns. The two councils spent five months coming to a consensus that the project should be no more than 156 total units, should require two parking spaces for each unit and should set aside five of approximately 14 acres for a future use.
Gatesco has agreed to limit the initial phase of development to 156 units but has requested that parking be reduced to 1.5 spaces per unit and that less acreage be set aside for a future use.
How to divvy up the deed-restricted units based on income and how to treat sewage remain sticking points. The developer has also suggested that if the need is proven, they be allowed to construct more units in the development at a future date.
Some council members from both towns have indicated a willingness to shift away from their negotiated position of the 156 units/two parking spaces/and five acres for the parcel located a couple of miles south of Crested Butte at the corner of Highway 135 and Brush Creek Road.
Crested Butte councilman Chris Haver said he was confused about going much further until more concrete plans were presented by Gatesco. “What’s the point of negotiating with ourselves until we see what they come back with?” he asked at the September 16 town council meeting.
Crested Butte mayor Jim Schmidt said the 156/2/5 numbers were negotiated with the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council as a compromise so he didn’t want to discuss changing the numbers beyond what has already been talked about, until he heard what their position was on September 23. “Gatesco has shifted the goalposts consistently but we were given marching orders from the county that we have until the end of October to respond to Gatesco’s proposal and get a deal,” said Schmidt.
“I’d say it the other way, that the developer has until October 31 to secure a deal with three of the four parties to approve a plan moving into the next phase of review,” said town manager Dara MacDonald.
Councilwoman Mallika Magner asked if the two towns should stick to focusing on the 156/2/5 number or talk about other issues that have come up since that deadline was imposed.
“Before we say ‘no,’ we should hear what they propose with those moving goalposts,” said councilman Will Dujardin. “I would hope we would address anything that anyone’s brought up.”
Skyland resident and critic of the proposal George Gibson said because of county and state sewage treatment agreements, it would be many years before such a large project would even begin on the parcel. He said the property is better suited to a development that contains about 80 units.
MacDonald said she would compile the changes suggested by Gatesco since the end of the sketch plan approval for the two councils to consider at the September 23 meeting. The questions will then be how comfortable a majority of both councils are with those suggested changes, and are the councils ready to make a recommendation, even a conditional recommendation, on their comfort level with proceeding with the Gatesco proposal.