But taking other community needs, like multi-use rec field, into account
[ Kendra Walker ]
The Mt. Crested Butte town council is looking at its options for developing on the town’s 17-acre parcel known as Parcel F. Past town hall and adjacent to the Village at Mt. Crested Butte (formerly known as North Village), the council made it clear during their August 2 meeting that affordable housing is a priority for the parcel.
“There was discussion about putting in some housing, leaving it as open space, or putting recreational facilities on it,” said town manager Greg Sund. “There’s lots of ideas but it is the largest single piece of property that we own that we can do something with.”
Community Development director Carlos Velado added, “It’s not an either/or situation. It doesn’t have to be just housing or open space or just a park. It can be a mix.”
Sund explained that given the sloped geography of the parcel, there are around 6 or 7 acres that could possibly be developed, especially for housing. This area is approximately where the town campground is currently located. “In reality the property does drop off in every direction,” he said.
Parcel F is also located within the existing Village at Mt. Crested Butte Planned Unit Development (PUD). According to Mt. CB communications and marketing officer Marisa Maudsley, the applicant, North Village Associates has requested a land trade to accommodate the proposed site plan for The Village at Mt. Crested Butte in exchange for increasing the existing Parcel F frontage along Gothic Road. “Town is open to collaborating with the applicant to further community housing goals within the project; however, there are no collaborations proposed at this time,” she clarified with the Crested Butte News.
Kristin Engle, executive director of the West Elk Soccer Association (WESA) asked the council to consider a multi-use field on Parcel F. “Not just for soccer but things like lacrosse and for youth and adult programming,” she said.
Engle explained that there are over 200 local youth who participate in the WESA programming every year. “There are about 12 teams this fall season, in addition to the two high school boys’ soccer teams,” she said. “We are practicing on five fields at the north end of the valley…we conduct practices of about 60 hours a week and in 2021 we supported 50 home games in Crested Butte. The development of this would help take the burden and overuse of the five fields.”
“I appreciate your comments, but I can’t help but feel our primary concern is housing,” said council member Janet Farmer. “Right now the housing situation is so critical. Parcel F is sort of the low hanging fruit that we have where we could start finding developers, jump onto it, and find grants and get started ASAP. And to me that’s my number one priority.”
Velado explained that it would take significant excavation to put a full-size field onto the property, given the slope.
“So not impossible, but it’s impractical,” noted mayor Nicholas Kempin. “Would a field that is smaller than needed for 11 on 11 play, but is maybe large enough to serve as a practice venue, be valuable, or no?” he asked Engle.
“There’s a dire need for multi-use fields,” she said. “Ideally we’d all love a full-size field but if that can’t work, we’re asking it not to be off the table.”
“Have you approached the entities about Brush Creek?” asked Farmer, noting the four Brush Creek owners, the town of Crested Butte, town of Mt. Crested Butte, Gunnison County and Crested Butte Mountain Resort. “I see that space as much more functional for what you want. It’s relatively flat and it’s 13 or 14 acres.”
“I would like to possibly explore an answer of what would it take with housing and the field in the space,” said council member Dwayne Lehnertz.
“At the end of the day, I do appreciate that the whole valley is in definite need of field space,” said council member Alec Lindeman. “But it’s so true that the direction from our constituents has been the need for affordable housing.”
“There’s a clear priority for housing…but maybe it doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive,” said Kempin. “Could staff see what a smaller sized community housing project looks like with open space and if there’s room for a field of some sort? With workforce housing as the priority, what sort of combination and trade-offs could be done?”
Town staff agreed to the council’s direction and will continue the discussion at a future meeting.