The Mountain Village Comprehensive Plan, a document envisioned to shape the future of development in the community, is slated for adoption by Town Council in a special meeting on Wednesday, June 1.
An initial draft of the document was crafted by a team of Mountain Village-hired planning and economic consultants working alongside a Town Council-appointed Task Force, comprised of full- and part-time residents, business owners and stakeholders. The Task Force unanimously accepted a draft of the document in December, after which it underwent another extensive review process by Town Council.
The coming formal adoption of the Comprehensive Plan, Mountain Village’s first such development plan, marks the culmination of many years of work on the part of Mountain Village town staff, consultants and community members.
In the course of its evolution, the document has raised hackles as well as hopes among community members. The plan's most contentious aspect, which would have allowed development of a five-star hotel in what had been deemed the Boomerang/Comanche subarea beneath the Telluride Ski Area’s Goronno Ranch restaurant along the Lower Village Bypass ski run, was eliminated from the Plan at the Town Council’s May 12 meeting. Another major facet of the Task Force-created document struck by council from the plan was a high-density professional housing development at the current location of Telluride Ski and Golf’s Mountain Shops maintenance area, off San Joaquin Road.
At council’s May 19 meeting, Town Planner Chris Hawkins explained that the town has recently explored other options for compensating for the loss of hotbeds and affordable housing due to the elimination of the Boomerang/Comanche and Mountain Shops subareas from the original draft Comprehensive Plan.
The Mountain Village Center subarea has undergone recent changes following additional parcel testing there, he explained, noting that hotbed development has been explored at three different sites, which together could offer as many as 159 additional hotbed units.
“That would make up for the loss of Boomerang and Comanche on a unit-by-unit basis, which is the main target here,” he said at the May 19 Town Council meeting.
The recently explored sites for additional hotbed development in the Mountain Village Center include the current location of the Meadows Magic Carpet, where a 66-unit, 45,000-square-foot development could be located, as well as redevelopment of the Gondola Station to provide 70 additional hotbeds. Another change from the previous Mountain Village Center subarea plan includes moving a proposed TSG Clubhouse from the south driving range to the north side of the Meadows ski run, allowing the footprint of the building to increase by nearly 7,000 feet.
“The goal was to put [hotbeds] in the Core,” Mayor Bob Delves explained of the recent addition of more hotbed sites in the Mountain Village Center subarea.
Although the removal of the contentious Boomerang/Comanche subarea quieted previously vocal concerns from property owners along nearby San Joaquin Road, the elimination of the site was a blow to others who had hoped the site could lure a well-established hotelier such as the Four Seasons – and all the economic benefits that would go with the development of such a property – to Mountain Village.
“It’s frustrating,” said Comprehensive Plan Task Force Brenda Van Der Mije, who owns two retail stores in the Mountain Village Center. “I just feel that we all worked really hard on this, and after it went to Town Council it has changed and not necessarily for the better,” she said following the May 19 meeting, noting her concern that the smaller footprint hotel sites would only be adequate for boutique hotels lacking the multi-million dollar advertising budget she believes is critical for the economic vitality of Mountain Village. She also noted her concern that the Magic Carpet site would raise hackles of property owners at Aspen Ridge.
“If it’s in your backyard, you’re going to complain. And there hasn’t been much time for Aspen Ridge [property owners] to complain,” she said.
Another component of the draft Comprehensive Plan envisioned redevelopment of the current Telluride Apartments site in the Meadows to allow for higher-density affordable housing. That component could be one of the first elements of the Comprehensive Plan to come to fruition.
Randy Edwards of Monarch Development Partners drafted a conceptual plan that he presented to Mountain Village Design Review Board earlier this month, which he discussed with Town Council in a work session at the May 19 Town Council meeting. The Adams Ranch Apartments could provide as many as 100 to 125 for-rent affordable housing units, which Edwards noted would be in-line with the overarching Comprehensive Plan vision for affordable housing. The proposed plan would require a re-plat and density transfer.
Some neighboring property owners aren’t thrilled about the idea of such high-density affordable housing in their backyard, as they expressed at the May 19 work session.
NorthStar property owner John Strand said his neighbors would be more inclined to support a smaller-density development. “Something in the range of 60-80 units,” he said, “would really be more in line with what’s down there currently,” he said.
Town Council will review the most recent draft of the Comprehensive Plan at the coming June 1 meeting, with the intention of adopting it that same day.
The Telluride Apartments redevelopment is still in its conceptual stages, however, and the developer needs to file a formal land use application for the project to move forward into the Mountain Village design review process.