town briefs

Believe it or not: BOZAR loosening up some guidelines
The council is going along with proposed revisions to the Crested Butte Building Design Guidelines. Used by the Board of Architectural Zoning and Review (BOZAR) to review building projects, the guidelines have not been updated since 2001.



The revisions, brought to the council’s attention by BOZAR, deal primarily with the hot topics of solar issues, accessory buildings and windows. According to the revisions, accessory dwellings being built in town should look historical. In the core zone, windows are encouraged to be wood framed on new buildings. While solar panels are encouraged in town, they must be well hidden in the core zone.
Councilman Dan Escalante made the point for supporting more deregulation of BOZAR guidelines. Building and zoning director Bob Gillie disagreed. “I don’t think you can be too strict when it comes to the historic fabric of the town,” he said.
But mayor Alan Bernholtz pointed out the revisions actually loosened some of the guidelines.
“Yes,” Gillie agreed and said, “But it is a loosening, not a free for all. The board has decided to allow some flexibility but not hurt the National Historic Designation of the town.”
More material choices will be allowed in construction and renovations under some circumstances.
“We don’t want to lose the authenticity of the town,” Gillie explained to the council. “It is the details that make the town authentic. It’s not Disneyland where we built everything 20 years ago to look authentic. It’s real.”
As for solar panels on homes, Escalante thought such devices were something to be proud of in Crested Butte. “In this day and age it’s an energy issue,” he said. “Are these revisions too limiting? If it’s separate from the house or the roofline could it be okay?”
“We are balancing two laudable goals,” responded Gillie. “We want to be flexible but don’t want to start down the road to ruin the historical fabric of Crested Butte.”
Bernholtz agreed that a good compromise had been reached. “I like solar panels and think they are cool,” he said. “I think it’s a positive step to allow more. But I think the committee that studied this came to a good conclusion and I can live with this.”
An ordinance reflecting the proposed revisions will be drawn up and a public hearing held on the matter next month.

Escalante suggests borrowing Ouray’s winter bread and butter
Escalante brought up an economic expansion idea during the council discussion over service grants. He would like the town to pursue the idea of an ice climbing park in town.
“This is kind of out of left field, but I was thinking this weekend of Ouray and how in the winter their ice park brings in a lot of people to town. They stay at the lodges and eat in the restaurants and I don’t see why we can’t do something similar,” he said. “Can we use some of the money set aside for service grants to pursue that idea?”
The town of Ouray started feeding an ice climbing park in the Box Canyon on the south side of their town a few years ago. According to Escalante, what started with a few climbers hitting the ice on the sheer walls of the canyon for weekends has turned into a major economic success during their winters.
“We are always talking about diversifying the Crested Butte economy. This is one way to add to it,” Escalante said. “Maybe it should be a private person that pursues it but we could help. This is one of the coldest valleys in the state. We could have ice before Ouray and we would still have it after theirs melts. They get hundreds of people over there now every weekend.”
Escalante suggested putting some of the service grant money toward “making an ice park a reality. Let’s be serious about diversifying.”
Bernholtz threw some hot water on the idea. “I looked at the concept with Bob Gillie (Crested Butte’s building and zoning director) a few years back and there are some problems. We actually had an ice climbing tower from when the X-Games were here. But we can talk about it more later. I just don’t think the seed money should come from the service grants.”

Chamber gets to stay in Visitor’s Center
The council agreed to an annual Chamber of Commerce Services Agreement. The chamber will utilize the Visitor’s Center building at the Four-way Stop. In return, the chamber will put on events like the Fourth of July festivities and Fat Tire Bike Week. They will also provide visitor information for tourists.
Chamber director Christi Matthews said that the chamber will take over the second-floor office since moved out. “We will use that space for a number of purposes but we want to make it available a few times a week for the Small Business Development Center. That will be a real asset for businesses up here,” she said.

Council spends for more parking

The council spent $150,000 for two lots to be used for parking in town. The land is located over by the skate park and Big Mine Ice Rink. The deal closed last week so if you can’t find a place to park on Elk Avenue, take a look next to Mikey’s Pizza.

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