Mountaineer Square North gets “branded”
Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s development plans are getting branded, so to speak. Plans for the proposed Mountaineer Square North are being modified to reflect the results of a new branding study.
Mountaineer Square North is a proposed large-scale development planned for just north of the resort’s current base area in Mt. Crested Butte. A public hearing on the plan scheduled in March may now be postponed until April.
In December 2007 CBMR announced it would postpone the public hearing process on Mountaineer Square North to incorporate elements of the recently completed branding study, which determined consumers’ current perceptions about CBMR and what is most important in attracting resort guests.
In December the Planning Commission and resort officials discussed that the re-design wouldn’t involve big changes, with the resort instead addressing more of the aesthetic side of the project.
But Kraatz says the changes were bigger than anticipated. “There’s going to be some pretty significant changes to the plan in terms of layout of the site… The location, size and number of buildings has completely changed,” he says.
Kraatz says, “The massing of buildings, as far as height and overall size, has been reduced significantly,” adding the size will be more consistent with the surrounding buildings and those already considered a part of Mountaineer Square “South,” which includes the Lodge and the approved Cimarron building.
Furthermore, Kraatz says the singular large open space originally proposed in the middle of the parcel has been broken up into smaller, “more intimate” spaces. There will also be more temporary surface parking he says, “so if somebody is running into the aquatic center or a business they can park their car for a short period of time.”
Kraatz says they have also incorporated space for a grocery store or market, a commercial amenity that was requested by Mt. Crested Butte citizens.
Mt. Crested Butte Planning Commission chairman Dusty Demerson had not seen an updated plan, but says building heights and the need for temporary surface-level parking spaces were lingering concerns from the public following the last hearing. Because the public hearing process has never fully closed, Demerson says the Planning Commission has not been able to deliberate their own concerns on the record.
However, Demerson believes some important aspects of Mountaineer Square North, such as linked parking garages and strong pedestrian connections through the development, will remain in the next version.
The town’s planning consultant, Julie Ann Woods, who has seen a revised plan, agrees that some of the original planning work conducted in public hearings is still valid. “CBMR has been responsive after hearing comments regarding the aquatic center… smaller buildings and a more village-like scale. I believe CBMR is coming forward with a plan that does address this better,” Woods says.
Demerson is excited to see the new plan, despite any duplicated planning work that may occur. “I think getting everything to work together and toward the same end is critical. My patience is there… I’d rather do it fully and do it right than do it quickly and feel we didn’t get what we needed,” Demerson says.
Kraatz says the resort is tentatively planning to unveil the latest version of Mountaineer Square North during the first Planning Commission meeting in April, but won’t know for sure until meeting with the Planning Commission on March 19.
Once the public hearing process is closed, the plans will be up for deliberation before the Planning Commission. Once the preliminary plans meet the Planning Commission’s approval, the plans will head to the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council table for a final review process. Kraatz hopes final review will be completed early this summer.