It’s been a marathon
By Mark Reaman
What initially started in the fall of 2014 was completed Monday, May 18 as the Crested Butte Town Council formally approved a series of ordinances annexing about 14 acres of property north of town across from the Gas Café. The council action annexed the property, zoned the property and subdivided the property, most of which will be owned by the town.
The action comes after years of discussion and negotiations with Cypress Equities that initially asked the town to annex all 44 acres of property in 2014. But after negotiations fell apart the developers went to the county asking for development approval.
Given its location adjacent to Crested Butte, county officials urged them to try again with the town. Ultimately, a hybrid development was worked out where the primary residential area with 23 single-family home sites would remain in the county but be serviced with town water and sewer, while the other 14 acres that included six individual residential lots would go inside the town, primarily for public uses.
Given an extensive pre-annexation agreement between the town and developers, there was not much recent public or council input as the final stages of the annexation started to go through the council. Public uses allowed on the town’s property include things like parks, affordable housing, a potential school site and a possible fire hall. River access has always been a sticking point but the public will be allowed to use a spot on the town land to launch and take out boats from the Slate River.
“The agreement contemplates a small parcel of land that could be a boat ramp to the Slate,” explained town manager Dara MacDonald.
Mayor Jim Schmidt pointed out the “ramp” was located on a steep hillside and while boaters could carry boats and paddleboards down the hill, cars would not be able to use it to get bigger boats into the Slate.
“There is also a boater access easement for boaters to float through the property under certain guidelines,” MacDonald added.
The only public question and comment on Monday came from Jay Indovino, who lives near the Gas Café. He asked about the potential increases in traffic and density, given new affordable housing potential in the area, especially with a busy Gas Café already located in the neighborhood.
Schmidt made it clear that while some sections of the land were set aside for housing, the housing was still just a concept at the present time. “The actual plans for those lots will require town review and lots of opportunity for public comment,” he said, “Who knows when it might be in the works, given the current situation with the coronavirus.”
“The town would subject itself to its own regulations and there would be ample opportunity for public comment,” concurred town attorney Barbara Green.
“We appreciate all the effort that has gone into this project and the assistance provided by the town and its staff,” said Cypress vice president Cameron Aderhold.
“It’s been a marathon,” said council member Will Dujardin. “It’s really cool to see it wrapping up.”
“It has indeed been a marathon,” agreed Schmidt, who noted this was the fifth annexation he’s been involved with while on the town council. “In some respects I’m actually amazed we’ve gotten past it.”
The council unanimously approved several measures on Monday that will bring the land into the town boundaries.