BRECKENRIDGE - Peak 8 base area residents turned out in force Tuesday night to oppose a development proposal for a 75-unit time-share resort they say would limit mountain views and access.
"This is devastating for our community," Todd Stewart, who owns a unit nearby, said at a planning hearing. "These two buildings are absolute monstrosities."
Opposition has largely originated from owners at two long-standing condominium complexes, Peak 8 Place and Ski Watch Condos, where views would be impacted by the new building.
Dozens of people packed the auditorium at Breckenridge Town Hall to weigh in on the project at an emotionally charged planning commission meeting Tuesday.
Despite heavy criticism from the audience, the revised and slightly smaller plan presented won considerable support among planning commissioners, who sent it back to developers for further tweaks before the next hearing.
Developers have met with concerned neighbors several times during the planning process and promised to continue to consider community input before coming back with a refined plan for the building at the next hearing.
"We feel very pleased with the progress that we've made through the planning process so far," said Mike Millisor, co-owner of Breckenridge Grand Vacations, the company pitching the time-share. "We look forward to continuing to work with town staff as well as the community to create the finest resort ever built in Breckenridge."
The building will house 75 time-share units along with amenities, such as an aquatics area, spa and multiple movie theaters. It will replace the now-defunct Bergenhoff, a historic restaurant which was already set to be torn down.
The Peak 8 master plan, a guiding document for the development of the base area, demands that new buildings on the mountain be subordinate to One Ski Hill Place, another time-share which was intended to be the centerpiece of the area.
Opponents of the new time-share say it's too big and too tall to meet that requirement. Breckenridge Grand Vacations presented a scaled back proposal Tuesday - five units lighter than the original design - to keep the resort in line with the master plan and allay the concerns of neighbors.
"I think they're working in both the best interests of the community and the town," planning commissioner David Pringle said Tuesday. "I've always said these are going to be big buildings."
The proposed resort has sparked a community debate between those who see a new time-share as an economic booster - providing jobs for locals and beds for tourists - and people who claim the several-story building doesn't fit within the master plan.
Some residents also expressed concern the new building would carve into an existing ski run adjacent to the resort. However, Millisor said the most recent design shifts the building back from the mountain 30 feet, actually widening the trail in question.
The project is on a strict time line. With final approval from planning, developers hope to start utility work and the Bergenhof's demolition next summer. Full-scale building will follow, possibly starting as early as March 2014, with the first phase of time-shares available by December 2015.
As part of their continuing business plan, BGV executives say they need the construction of the new development to coincide with the projected sell-out of their existing resort, the Grand Lodge on Peak 7.
"It's kind of a machine," Millisor said. "On some Tuesday we'll close the Grand Lodge sales center and we'll bring in the signs and the model for the Peak 8 project. We might take a day off and then on Thursday we'll have our clients come in to tour that."
Owners say the new development will protect existing sales jobs that would otherwise be lost when the Grand Lodge sells out.