Town to discuss contentious letter to Forest Service again

A little about what’s going on in the East River Valley

Crested Butte Town Council to consider its letter on Snodgrass expansion again
The Crested Butte Town Council will again consider its draft letter to the U.S. Forest Service supervisor Charlie Richmond about Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s proposed expansion onto Snodgrass Mountain.



During its meeting on May 5, the Town Council said it was continuing to work through drafts of the letter, in hopes of creating a letter that its members would unanimously sign. The Town Council has been crafting a letter to Richmond since it held a public meeting in March on the Snodgrass expansion and received a deluge of comment both supporting and opposing the idea.
Town Council member Skip Berkshire urged the Town Council to delay sending the letter, due to his belief that the application will enter the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process despite attempts to prevent it. “What’s the upside of sending the letter now that’s going into the process?” he asked.
Town Council members Billy Rankin and Kimberly Metsch said the town had heard from the public and urged the Town Council to draft a letter and send it. “We need to do it,” Metsch said, noting that Richmond is seeking comments from the town. “We’re being asked to do it.”
Town manager Susan Parker suggested that the Town Council consider sending two letters to the U.S. Forest Service, the first of which would simply ask that the town become a participating agency or partner in the NEPA and pre-NEPA processes, which could provide the town a voice as the project moves ahead if granted. The Town Council could also send a secondary letter outlining its concerns, she said.
The Town Council agreed to send the first letter and will discuss the content of its second letter during its meeting on Monday, May 18.
Rec Path closures
The recreation path between Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte may close temporarily this summer due to two situations at the float bridge near the Slate River.
Mt. Crested Butte town manager Joe Fitzpatrick says the rec path may close due to flooding at the float bridge. The bridge uses a special foundation to cross a sensitive marsh area, and rests close to the ground. Depending on the water level in the marsh this spring, Fitzpatrick says, there is a good chance the float bridge may be submerged for a period of time. “We’re keeping an eye on it. It depends on how the runoff goes and what happens to the level of the Slate River,” Fitzpatrick says.
Later in the summer, Fitzpatrick says, the rec path may close for a few days to accommodate necessary repairs to the float bridge. The bridge is currently slumped and twisted in several areas due to foundation problems. Fitzpatrick says the bridge will be getting a new foundation, using a stronger and more advanced technology to keep the bridge “afloat.”
Mining bill awaits governor’s signature
A state bill that will shed more light on the mining industry’s prospecting activities cleared both state houses and is awaiting the governor’s signature. If adopted, Senate Bill 228 would give the public access to information that’s provided by mining companies to the State Department of Natural Resources when the companies file notices about prospecting, which is among the first steps in developing a mine. Senator Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass Village), who represents Gunnison County, sponsored the bill, along with Representative Kathleen Curry (D-Gunnison). Schwartz says the bill came directly from concerns she heard from the Crested Butte community.
Town Council changes sign code
With a 5-1 vote, the Crested Butte Town Council passed an ordinance that will allow additional hanging signs in Crested Butte, during its meeting on Monday, May 5. Mayor pro-tem Leah Williams cast the single vote against the measure.
With the change, buildings with entrances that face different streets or buildings with separate entrances that serve businesses on different floors would be allowed to have two protruding signs.
Elk Avenue building owner Priscilla Banks brought the issue to the Town Council in February, asking it to consider allowing her to add another protruding sign over the second entrance of her 100-block structure. She said the current single sign, which hangs over her shop door, was confusing for customers who were looking for businesses that are accessed through the secondary door.
Williams didn’t feel that the change was appropriate. “I feel like the sign code isn’t broken, so why fix it,” she said.
Other Town Council members didn’t comment during the May 5 hearing but have previously stated they felt it was a minor change to the code.
The ordinance is now in effect.
Flower boxes on Gothic
During a regular Mt. Crested Butte Town Council meeting on May 6, town manager Joe Fitzpatrick briefed the council on a new trial strategy to install several flower boxes in the middle of Gothic Road as traffic control this summer. “We’re looking to put some near the pedestrian crossing on Gothic… basically between the foot bridge and the north side of the Grand Lodge,” Fitzpatrick says.
He says the flower boxes are meant to be a traffic-calming device since many motorists speed through an area where there are several crosswalks. He says the town has put flower boxes on the sides of the road, but never in the middle. The flower boxes will be inside of sections of the road that are already “islands,” which are isolated by regular traffic lines.
Mountain Express transportation director Chris Larsen says traffic-calming devices are definitely needed in the area, but flower boxes could cause issues with large vehicles, depending on their configuration. “That’s a pretty congested area. There’s four or five crosswalks. I do think traffic should be slowed… but I have mixed feelings about planter boxes,” Larsen says.
Fitzpatrick says the town is working on a landscaping plan for next summer that will encourage motorists to slow down, and will encourage pedestrians to use the sidewalks and rec path.
Wednesday concert series
In the same vein as the Alpenglow concert series in the Crested Butte town park on the Center for the Arts outdoor stage, the Mt. Crested Butte Town Center Community Association will be presenting a free Wednesday afternoon concert series, called Live from Mt. Crested Butte, this summer. The concerts will feature top country, bluegrass, folk and rock performers from around the nation, every Wednesday starting on July 2 and ending on August 20, between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.
The new concert series will replace the Live from Mountaineer Square concerts held last summer, typically at Trackers Whiskey Bar or the deck of Butte 66.
Town Center Community Association events coordinator Allison Yeary introduced the new concert series to the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council during a public hearing on May 6 regarding a liquor license.
CBMR’s liquor license formerly covered the patio of the Gothic Building, but with that building now demolished, Yeary said, CBMR would like to extend the license to a new stage venue next to the Red Lady Express Lift.
Council member Wendy Fisher asked if they were going to serve food, similar to Alpenglow.
Yeary said CBMR did not intend to sell food, but there would be restaurants open in the area. Yeary said concertgoers can bring picnic food and snacks, but outside alcohol will not be allowed.
Mt. Crested Butte town clerk Donna Arwood said for this type of liquor license the applicant is required to provide some kind of food within the concert venue premises, but it does not have to be sold or prepared by CBMR.
In that case, Yeary said, CBMR would be able to provide food within the premises. The Town Council then approved the liquor license modification.
The first Live from Mt. Crested Butte concert is on July 2, featuring Whitewater Ramble.

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