Mt. CB recall election candidate questions

Roman Kolodziej

What is Mt. CB doing well, and where do you think it is missing the mark?

I’m glad you asked it that way because too often the focus is on the town’s council. In short, our town is fully staffed and firing on all cylinders right now. 

The Maintenance and Parks departments are doing a great job keeping our town functioning and in good repair and our Finance department has done well in advocating for them to have the tools they need.

Our Marketing and Events department has a firm grasp on how to organize and manage the many events our town has to juggle. They do their research, develop plans and are transparent about how to improve. The way our Admissions Tax Grant Program has evolved in the hands of Marketing is remarkable and I’m thankful of how thorough the vetting process has become to help us be better stewards of taxpayer money.

Over the last year, the Capital Projects and Planning reports and memos have become far more robust, which is a reflection of how many projects and items staff is managing. Often, their agenda items are complex and contain highly technical documents and staff has done a great job of highlighting key components for the council to consider in their meetings.

Finally, our town manager seems comfortable and confident in navigating his role. He’s presided over several big accomplishments, does well in managing his staff, ensures our town functions properly, and looks down the road to see the bigger picture.

Although there’s always room to improve, I can’t say Mt. CB is missing the mark on anything. 

What is your approach to the proposed major developments coming down the pipeline, such as the Village at Mt. CB (North Village)?

Several years ago, I sat on the North Village working group with our current mayor. We met every week for about six months in an effort to help shape a massive project that would heavily impact our community. The project idea was complex, very unique and lacked needed definition. Progress was slow but productive. My time on that committee helped me appreciate the work of the town’s staff. 

When I now see a project as an agenda item in my packet, I’m thankful for how much heavy lifting the staff has done ahead of time so I might best fulfill my role on council.

In short, my approach to large projects is to understand what the project is, what the developer wants, what it has the rights to do, what it is asking for from the town and how the council can best advocate for its community’s needs, wants and values.

What do you think the town’s relationship should be with CBMR?

The relationship between CBMR and the town seems strong and there appears to be effective communication given the inherent limitations of CBMR’s organization structure. However, I would like to see CBMR demonstrate it is serious about the deficit of affordable housing by engaging the town, offering ideas of its own and contributing some of its resources.

Favorite event in the North Valley and why?

That’s tough. The Chainless is very special to me. Not just because I may be the winningest World Champion of all time, but because the slow roll in the back of the pack is unlike anything I’ve been a part of. That being said, the AJ might take the cake when the weather cooperates. At either event, I find true joy when I look around and see the best people in the world.

TOM ROLLECZEK

What is Mt. CB doing well, and where do you think it is missing the mark?

Mt. CB is doing a great job of carrying forward the spirit of the community that I fell in love with in the mid ‘90s. The major accomplishment of completing the rec path should be recognized. Along with improvements to the base area parking, bus stops, recent signage and efforts to bolster this summer’s event schedule. Additionally, the staff of Mt. CB does an excellent job of creating a welcoming culture and attitude of inclusiveness for full and part-time residents. There is room for continued improvement on long-term development strategies, and aligning complex priorities between town council, staff and the community as a whole. 

What is your approach to the proposed major developments coming down the pipeline, such as the Village at Mt. CB (North Village)?

Major developments in Mt. CB such as North Village are inevitable. My approach is to consider them in a framework of “thoughtful development.” As a caveat to this philosophy, we would strive to preserve the audacious beauty and serenity that we celebrate in Mt. CB. I believe with aligned leadership, thoughtful planning and healthy input from the community, this outcome is ours to create.  

What do you think the town’s relationship should be with CBMR?

The relationship between the town and CBMR is of the utmost importance. Clear alignment between all the CBMR/Base Area shareholders should be a priority. Definition of a two, five and 10-year outlook surrounding committed investments and long-term development should be earnestly discussed, implemented and monitored for progress and best practices. We are a team and can make great things happen if we play as one.

Favorite event in the North Valley and why?

The annual town picnic. Because it feels like a family dinner and a big part of why I moved to the mountains. However… Chili and Beer fest is a close second!

BRUCE NATION

What is Mt. CB doing well, and where do you think it is missing the mark?

Mt. CB is doing a lot of great things. Planned Unit Development decisions are being made with affordable housing at the forefront. I like that the speed limits have been lowered to coincide with the rest of the valley. The town manager position has been solidified with the promotion of Carlos Velado.

I would like to see more of a focus on housing density where it makes sense. Our land is our most limited resource. We certainly don’t want large buildings popping up everywhere disturbing our sight lines, but there are places where density should be made a priority. I’d also like to see more of a focus on solar energy being used in new developments.

What is your approach to the proposed major developments coming down the pipeline, such as the Village at Mt. CB (North Village)?

When done correctly large developments like North Village give us a lot of opportunities for positive impacts on the town. For a project like that, I like to not only focus on the normal issues (affordable housing, transit, density, sight lines), but on how it will impact us as a community. I’d want to see a North Village that gives us a place to hold community events, have an après-bike coffee or just hang out. Right now, the base area is the main hub of our town, and it’s nice, but it is focused on the ski experience.  I’d like to see the North Village focused on community.

Also, I hate the name “Village at Mt. CB,” it makes it sound like a golf course community. Since I don’t want to complain without giving a constructive alternative, I nominate calling it “Snodgrass Valley.”

What do you think the town’s relationship should be with CBMR?

Mt. CB and CBMR could not exist without each other, at least not as we currently recognize them. I think both parties know this and have been working together well.  My biggest concern is that after the Vail acquisition of CBMR, it seems much of the decision-making power has been moved to Broomfield. I’ve heard multiple reports of requests to Vail getting lost in the bureaucracy. I would like to see Vail address this and make some kind of commitment to keeping someone with decision-making authority in touch with the town.

Favorite event in the North Valley and why?

I really enjoy the Grand Traverse races; I’ve been helping out with them the last few years as my wife was the race director. The history of the race mixed with the logistical challenges and a true backcountry experience make it really special.

PETER ESSELSTYN

What is Mt. CB doing well, and where do you think it is missing the mark?

As far as what Mt. CB is doing well, I would point to many things: I’ve heard many positive comments about the newly installed direction signs, the town’s street division is doing an excellent job with the snow clearing and year-round road maintenance, the summer recreational activities are well run, and I was quite impressed with the Planning Commission when I attended the early planning session related to the proposed Crested Butte Ridge (aka Nevada parcel) project. The job of running the town is often thankless, but in my opinion, the town can pat themselves on the back for many of their unsung successes.

On the other hand, I found it disheartening to see how the Homestead project unfolded over the past several years. Unfortunately, the missteps related to that project not only cost the town unnecessary substantial taxpayer dollars, but that fumble also left many people who had contracts for that property and needed affordable housing with no real options. A properly designed performance bond would have protected the town and the contract holders if the project went south with the developer.

What is your approach to the proposed major developments coming down the pipeline, such as the Village at Mt. CB (North Village)?

I believe this is where my past professional experience will help me succeed if I am fortunate enough to join the town council. In my career, I have managed the development of numerous very large-scale projects which relied on the combined cooperation of both public and private entities. Identifying dedicated stakeholders early and gaining alignment is key, agreeing on a master plan, setting a road map with clear deliverables at each stage in terms of costs and schedule, and not reversing decisions is key. Large projects such as the North Village are difficult, but not insurmountable given the right leadership and clear unwavering goals. All the existing development in the North Valley was completed in the face of adversity, but eventually persevered and we have a fantastic town and wonderful ski resort because of their dedication.

What do you think the town’s relationship should be with CBMR?

Mt. CB and CBMR surely understand their relationship is symbiotic. It is difficult to see either party succeeding without a positive and productive working relationship with each other. CBMR has substantial opportunity for growth and there are ample expansion opportunities which can and should be capitalized on. I don’t claim to have all the answers on why CBMR hasn’t invested more in their 5+ years of ownership of the resort here, but I believe with proper incentives provided by the town, CBMR can perceive a long-term vision for the resort and develop the area to its full potential. Also, I would be interested to meet with town council members from other ski towns to gain insight in their dealings with corporate ski companies.

Favorite event in the North Valley and why?

There are so many fun events in the North Valley year-round to choose from that it’s tough to pick only one. But for sure, I try to hit all the summer concerts both in Mt. CB and CB. Our community spirit really shines at the concerts!

Bobbie Sferra

What is Mt. CB doing well, and where do you think it is missing the mark?

Mt. Crested Butte is a magical place with unmatched views in every direction. This quality is not lost on our residents or guests. The rec path helps many access this outdoor playground. Mt. CB has been proactive in moving the community toward public transportation, pedestrian paths, bikes and e-bikes for commuting within the valley. The rebate program has been a success and the public reaction to FirstTracks has been positive. The town has done a good job of focusing on events that foster community which include the fall festival, town picnic, Music on the Mountain, 50th anniversary series and many more. The town park provides a foot path, exercise equipment, playgrounds and both tennis and pickle ball courts. A wedding garden and reception area provide the most wonderful place for couples to begin their lives together. The town is also generous in providing grants to a number of nonprofits that reach out to many in our community improving their lives and helping to create our “mountain vibe.” Mt. Crested Butte is addressing the housing issue head-on and has hired additional staff to oversee town sustainability and construction projects.  I also believe the town is exceptional at valuing employees, providing a positive work environment and assisting employees with housing in Mt. CB.

Over the years, Mt. CB has worked with developers in expanding the community which include new developments and affordable housing. Mt. CB needs to be more proactive in determining what our town will look like in 10, 20 years and further into the future. Currently, it feels like developers are the ones who are driving this vision at the detriment to the perceived goals of a vibrant community. Obviously, we need to work with developers. Colorado ski towns are not islands, but have developed in similar ways. Mt. CB is unique in that we have an opportunity to step back and evaluate the paths various ski towns have taken and look at the results both pro and con to see our path forward.

What is your approach to the proposed major developments coming down the pipeline, such as the Village at Mt. CB (North Village)?

I believe the town needs to pay attention to all future developments and their impact on the community. As our footprint grows with the Village at Mt. CB, we have an increasingly exponential effect on the environment through water consumption, impacted movement of elk and mule deer through the natural corridors and a huge increase in traffic on the only artery through this valley. How do we balance this growth with the ideas that support a growing community? Future development should focus on creating a smaller footprint for the environment and community. Mt. CB should maintain its roots as a community, not become just a high-end ski resort.

What do you think the town’s relationship should be with CBMR?

CBMR has changed since it was purchased by a large corporation. The town and CBMR should work together in partnership to provide the quality of experiences for residents and visitors to enjoy the mountain resort and the town. It would be nice to see CBMR make proactive investments in housing for seasonal employees at the resort and become actively involved on ventures that benefit both entities.  

Favorite event in the North Valley and why?

My favorite event is Music on the Mountain. The opportunity for families and vacationers in the community to come together and enjoy a variety of high quality music is exceptional. 

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