North Village plans continue despite COVID-19 pause

Next public open house TBD

By Kendra Walker

Prior to the pandemic and public health orders issued to decrease the spread of COVID-19 in Gunnison County, one of the hot topics circulating around the community included the development of the 150-acre North Village parcel located on the north end of Mt. Crested Butte.

While in person-meetings and public open houses have been put on hold, the North Village partners continue to move forward with their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and meet weekly via teleconference to narrow down their priorities for the project.

Earlier this year, the town of Mt. Crested Butte entered into a MOU with the North Village Associates and Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) to determine how to incorporate their community objectives into the site plan, including affordable housing, town amenities and recreational opportunities.

In the next month, the three entities will then enter into a partnership to jointly develop a financial model and site plan to serve all parties’ goals for the project, which is estimated to take about six months.

“I think both sides would be amenable to extending the MOU period, but are continuing to work under the existing timeline,” said Mt. Crested Butte community development director Carlos Velado.

As part of the process, the partners hosted two public open houses earlier this year to hear community feedback on the proposed development and site design of North Village. During the last public open house, the discussion focused on five main categories that will each play a role into the site design: workforce housing; trails and recreation; local businesses and economic development; community amenities; and conservation.

The idea of considering the Crested Butte Community School’s expansion into the North Village site was also tossed around during the last open house, but reactions ran the gamut, said mayor Janet Farmer. Some had concerns about the traffic implications and others were intrigued and suggested the school could fork off from the main road and be far from the Snodgrass trailhead.

However, the Town Council discussed the school expansion site possibility during their April 4 council meeting and determined it was not an amenity they were interested in pursuing. “At this time, the council is not interested in an expansion of the Crested Butte Community School at the site,” confirmed Velado.

Their biggest concerns included resulting traffic, visual aspects of an institutional-type building and fitting in a school on the site on top of all the other priorities for the town, the RMBL and North Village Associates.

A third open house was originally slated for the first week of April, but has been postponed. “We still intend to have a third open house,” said Velado. “We are still trying to determine the date and method. We realize, given the current COVID-10 circumstances, that a virtual open house may be the way to go.”

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