BOCC approves controversial Keystone development
KEYSTONE – Keystone Real Estate Development (KRED) got its highly controversial development amendment Monday – including a parking lot around which most of the debate was focused – with a 2-1 vote by the Summit Board of County Commissioners.
Commissioners Tom Long and Bill Wallace voted for the amendment; Commissioner Gary Lindstrom voted against it.
But KRED officials say they aren’t through talking with neighbors about the parking lot many of them so vehemently oppose. Between now and the time KRED submits a site plan to the county commissioners – indicating they’re ready to build the lot – they will meet with neighbors and officials of the U.S. Forest Service about the plan. KRED representatives also agreed Monday not to submit a site plan until the lot is needed, most likely not until the Ski Tip Lift is built. The Forest Service is now seeking public input on the lift proposal. The soonest that lift could be built is in a year.
Public testimony during Monday’s hearing on the amendment was heated at times, with some property owners calling other owners “self serving” for decrying the parking lot.
KRED has proposed a variety of plans for the Ski Tip Neighborhood. It battled to develop one parcel for more than year – reducing its plans from 21 to four homes – then finally giving up completely this year to the protests of people who believed the area was situated too near a wildlife migration corridor.
In exchange for giving up development there, KRED proposed building a 650-space parking lot on Montezuma Road, rebuilding a portion of Montezuma Road, transferring 22 units of density formerly proposed on Parcel A to other Ski Tip Neighborhood parcels, transferring 23 employee units from the Ski Tip to the Wintergreen neighborhood and establishing a density bank of 14 equivalent residential units that could later be built in an as-yet undetermined portion of Keystone Resort.
On Thursday, the Snake River Planning Commission unanimously recommended the BOCC deny the application.
KRED planning manager Thomas Davidson said some concession must be given to KRED for giving up Parcel A, which “was going to be a multi-million-dollar project.”
The parking lot also ties into the Ski Tip Lift.
“As we look at the chances of having Ski Tip approved, a parking lot in the neighborhood is very important to us,” said Paul Stashick, corporate vice president of Intrawest, which is a partner with Vail Resorts in KRED. “It might be crucial to the success of that whole portal. We need to find a resolution that’s good for everybody long term.”
Paul Siegert, president of the Elk Crossing Homeowners Association, urged opponents to think about Keystone’s future.
“In my opinion, Keystone is not a viable economic entity,” he said. “And it won’t be until it is allowed to develop itself. God created it. We are privileged to live here. But we don’t have the right to keep others from coming here.”
Homeowner Mike Alexander said Keystone should concentrate on existing development before building in new areas.
“Why has Keystone not finished this resort?” he said. “Why are there empty buildings? Let’s finish the resort. Let’s get businesses into the resort that drive people here.”
Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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