CMC battles Breckenridge over parking mandate
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
BRECKENRIDGE ” Colorado Mountain College trustees say the needs of their students at a new campus supercede Breckenridge Ski Resort’s parking concerns, despite a generous land offer from the town.
Early stages of the $14 million CMC project are under way on land belonging to the town of Breckenridge.
But the town recently decided not to vote on a contract giving the 16 acres to CMC for $1 because of a parking dispute.
If not resolved, the disagreement could end the project.
“They feel that they have us over a barrel and they can get whatever they want, that they will get it from us because we’ve got too much invested to back out,” outgoing CMC-Breckenridge president Bob Spuhler said at a board meeting Monday.
The specific details on parking had not been addressed in a tentative agreement signed more than a year ago but surfaced shortly before the town had intended to approve the transfer last week.
CMC wants the option to get out of an agreement obligating it to share about 350 parking spaces with the ski resort.
The town agreed in 2003 to provide the ski resort with 500 parking spaces on the 45-acre parcel that includes the campus. Preliminary plans with CMC established shared parking because the college and resort would generally use the parking spaces at different times.
Town plans include developing much of the remaining area for affordable housing.
But CMC officials don’t want to be stuck providing skier parking as they consider the future of the campus.
CMC board president Doris Dewton said Tuesday the town’s responsibility to the resort differs from the college’s responsibility to its students.
“Providing them parking is not part of the college’s mission,” she said.
The school building planned for construction is designed to be “added on to,” Dewton said.
The 35,000-square-foot facility, which would include classrooms, an auditorium and a community wing, is the final component to the campus’s existing master plan.
Residence halls were mentioned at the Monday board meeting as a possible addition to the Breckenridge campus as part of a new master plan that Dewton says is under development.
Dewton also said an addition in Edwards “was an example of, ‘If you build it, they will come.'” Parking lots there have been increased twice to accommodate increased enrollment.
About 3,000 students attend CMC Breckenridge, but the potential for more is one of the reasons CMC officials hoped to be able to “revisit” the shared parking agreement, she said.
Asked whether she thinks it’s fair for CMC to demand the option to get out of the agreement on land that’s basically free, Dewton said: “We are handing the town back something that they wanted, too.”
She said CMC and the town have discussed transferring the existing CMC building to Breckenridge for $2.5 million.
“So it isn’t a one-sided deal,” Dewton said.
Town council member Jeffrey Bergeron said it’s a good deal, but calling it a trade might be a stretch.
“CMC benefits the town, for sure, but they’re also getting 20 acres of land for a dollar, and we are buying the old CMC building for close to retail,” he said.
CMC board member Stan Orr said there have been communications problems regarding the shared parking agreement.
“What they’re doing doesn’t seem really ” very fair. They’re changing the rules,” he said.
Town manager Tim Gagen did not return phone calls by press time on Tuesday regarding the status of the issue.
Dewton said the CMC board has directed staff to “engage” the town in hopes of resolving the issue.
Town council member Dave Rossi said there should be a way for both the town and CMC to get what they want.
“Everybody is confident that something could be worked out,” Rossi said.
Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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