Breckenridge passes on plan to build campground off Airport Road
May 9, 2018
Breckenridge's search for a place to pitch a tent continues after town staff produced a campground concept for Tuesday's council meeting but the elected officials decided it wasn't a great location after all.
Mayor Eric Mamula brought up the idea of creating a town-run campground somewhere in Breckenridge late last year. After discussing it in December, council agreed to have town staff begin designing an approximately 20-site campground on a relatively flat parcel of land off Airport Road, next to the Public Works Department's "boneyard" on Iowa Hill.
At the time, it looked like a solid place, one that's within easy walking distance to downtown and hidden from sight for anyone traveling along Highway 9 or the town's major thoroughfares.
After walking the site multiple times, however, Mamula found at least one glaring problem.
"I don't like the adjacency to Public Works, and what you get from having Public Works near your campsite," he said Tuesday, adding he meant no offense to anyone at the department.
Explaining his position, Mamula said he believes there would be too much cut and fill at the site, and he worried about how its close proximity to the Public Works facility and its noise would affect the guest experience.
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"I just don't think it's a great site," he said.
Councilwoman Wendy Wolfe, who also supports the idea of having a town-run campground somewhere in Breckenridge, agreed with the mayor's assessment that the proposed location wasn't all that appealing.
With it ruled out, attention then turned to other possible sites, and Mamula floated the idea of exploring a small piece of the 128-acre McCain property on "a huge grass field" below the recycling center, west of the Blue River.
Town manager Rick Holman said he thought it wouldn't be too difficult to create a buffer around a campground there, and a majority on council supported having town staff start considering the options there.
All of it may be premature without a decided-upon site, but other campgrounds discussions on Tuesday centered on what kind of hookups would be provided, whether the campground would include showers, the size of RVs it might accommodate and whether campers would be allowed to spark a blaze inside approved fire rings.
In addition to offering suggestions for site hookups and the size of acceptable RVs, Wolfe warned town staff that charging $50 a night for a campsite without any hookups was "unrealistic."
Like others, she also expressed fears allowing campfires at a campground inside Breckenridge — even with approved fire rings — would be "poor form" for a community trying so hard to be "fire-wise."
"I know that sometimes takes away from the experience, but I'm just not sure that, this close to town, we should be encouraging campfires when we otherwise ban open fires throughout town," she said.
It was mentioned that the town allows fires in commercially designed fire pits and that some campgrounds actually have fire rings with caps, which can be closed after the fire pit is no longer in use or locked up when there's a fire ban. Wolfe said she was willing to talk about it further, but reiterated her concerns.
In other business
• Council refused to revisit the planning commission's decision to approve a new wireless facility atop one of the buildings inside the town's National Historic District. A handful of concerned citizens pleaded with council to call up the decision, but no one was willing to make the motion.
• Council OK'd landmarking 307 S. French St., known as "the Poor House," on second reading and agreed to make the "Hilliard House" at 110 S. Ridge St. and the "Searle House" at 300 E. Washington Ave. landmarks on first reading.
• Council heard a presentation led by Colorado State University Extension director for Summit County Dan Schroeder and a representative with the U.S. Forest Service and discussed potential measures for wildfire mitigation, in addition to other discussions focused on popular music in Breckenridge and a sidewalk and lighting master plan.
• Council approved a dig-once ordinance on second reading with some adjustments from first reading. The goal is to limit disturbances in the town's right-of-way for underground utility work and ensure broadband conduit is installed with new developments, according to the town. Xcel Energy had suggested some changes to the proposed ordinance, and council agreed to the alterations.
• On second reading, council passed a resolution making slight adjustments to how the elected body can fill vacancies on council or town-appointed boards and commissions with a ballot vote.