Village at Mt. CB close to town approval

Second reading of ordinance on May 7

By Kendra Walker

The Village at Mt. Crested Butte development plan at the base of Snodgrass Mountain is close to receiving final town approval. During their April 16 meeting, the Mt. Crested Butte town council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance approving the final plan of a planned unit development (PUD) major alteration application and lot line adjustment for the Village at Mt. Crested Butte, formerly known as the North Village. Council members Roman Kolodziej and Michael Bacani were not in attendance and did not vote. The council will review the second reading of the ordinance and updates to the town’s list of conditions for final approval consideration on May 7.

With the application having undergone extensive review for the past three years, property owner Dr. Claudio Alvarez and his applicant team North Village Associates (NVA) have proposed a plan with flexible zoning that will allow for publicly driven opportunities and a new Rocky Mountain Biological Lab (RMBL) campus and visitor center. The project, located between the Mt. Crested Butte town hall and the Snodgrass trailhead, consists of 15 tracts that allow for different designated uses, including a year-round multimodal trail system, a potential hotel site and opportunities for civic and commercial spaces, residential and mixed-use development. The design can accommodate up to 139,000 gross floor area (GFA) of commercial uses, up to 342 residential units, 20 dormitory units and up to 100 accommodation units.

While each tract will require individual design approval from the town prior to development, phase 1 will build out the roads and utilities infrastructure. 

Community housing

A total of 88.97 community housing units would be generated by the development should it see full build out, per the town’s inclusionary zoning requirement. In addition, NVA has an agreement with RMBL to construct 17 community housing units related to the property’s annexation agreement. The NVA team explained that RMBL has agreed to take on the responsibility of the 17 additional units, which must be constructed and done prior to any other certificate of occupancy (CO) for any other development on the project. “In the event RMBL fails to construct those, we are still under that obligation and NVA would still have to construct those 17 units and also be done prior to any CO,” said Heather Henry of the NVA team. “At this point RMBL would have tract 3, come up with design plans, and say this is what our community housing plan looks like.”

“I’m concerned about the usage of them,” said councilmember Janet Farmer, wondering if those 17 units would all be dormitory-style housing units. “I want people to have somewhere to live.”

“It would be at the discretion of the council,” said Henry. She explained that the approval of the final plan clears a path for RMBL to begin moving forward with their campus and visitors center design process. “That will all be determined once they can start design and dive into their needs and costs. You all will have the ability to say, that’s appropriate and it satisfies the 17 units.”

Mayor Nicholas Kempin noted that the town’s housing needs assessment does identify housing for seasonal workers, such as dorms, as a community need. 

Water and Sanitation

The ordinance includes a list of conditions, including the requirement that the town will not issue any construction, excavation, land disturbance or building permits for the project until the developer obtains written approval from the Mt. Crested Butte Water and Sanitation District of the developer’s final engineer stamped and construction-ready water and wastewater utility plans.

Town attorney Gerald Dahl explained that Water and Sanitation had previously wanted the approval of the construction plans as a condition of final approval. “That is earlier than is traditional. This has been an issue of real concern and had injected uncertainly into what is usually standard process,” he said. “To move that approval by the district earlier and require those construction plans earlier than entitlements is sooner than necessary.” 

Dahl clarified that the town, NVA and Water and Sanitation have come to an agreement on that condition. “They just want to make sure there’s no kind of construction out there until they have approved the written construction plans,” he said. “And we both mutually agreed to this outcome, and it was satisfactory on both sides.”

Trails

The council also requested an additional condition that includes more assurance for the building of trails and trail connectivity throughout the property. 

Henry explained that a commuter trail will be constructed along with the road during phase 1 infrastructure; however, designing recreation trails into the other tracts at this stage proves challenging until the development of the community evolves. “The intention is to do all those recreational trails, but those are going to need to be paced,” she said. 

“So there is no way to make space for future trails at this point because we don’t know what or where they’re going to be?” asked Kempin. 

“We’ve engaged with the Crested Butte Mountain Biking Association (CBMBA) and the Nordic Center from the beginning,” said NVA project manager Crocket Farnell. “The Alvarez family is very much into conserving all the open space and utilizing it as much as they possibly can.”

“It seems like we are leaving it up to chance,” said Kempin, expressing concern that individual tract owners/developers might not have the same intent. “We know it’s important to our community, so anything we can do to build it in to try to make sure that happens.”

“We’re all on the same page so happy to work on that,” said Farnell. 

Town staff agreed to work with NVA to develop a condition for trails and trail connectivity as individual tracts are proposed for development, which will be ready for the council’s review upon the second reading of the ordinance on May 7. 

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