Copper may offer housing to locals |

Copper may offer housing to locals

SUMMIT COUNTY – The Ten Mile Planning Commission suggested changes to Copper Mountain Resort employee housing and parking guidelines at a meeting Thursday, opening the possibility of more county employee housing.

If the suggestions are implemented into the revised planned unit development (PUD) being proposed for the area, any rooms at the mountain’s EDGE building that went unfilled by Copper employees next season would become available to a county employee housing project. If further additional units were left over, they would be made available as short-term rentals.

Last year, Copper Mountain bought the vacated Club Med building at the resort for $8 million and converted it into the so-named EDGE employee housing building. It opened for ski season and offered residents amenities such as a meal plan, computer access and entertainment.

In addition to supporting the housing changes, various commissioners opposed a request for all employee housing parking to be located off-site. Various commissioners pointed to unnecessary inconvenience for employees under the proposed guidelines.

Density at the site was also addressed, in discussions concerning one of the more complicated details of the plan – water. Copper Mountain’s current water rights provide for 635 acre feet of water, which can support only 2,151 development units without the creation of further efficiencies in those units.

The planning commission recommended a cap on density for no more than the amount 635 acre feet of water could support until additional water rights are secured.

“That’s a pretty serious cap,” said Chris Hawkins, manager of current county planning.

A proposal to secure an additional 96 acre-feet of water from the Wolford Mountain Reservoir has emerged in order to complete the additional units the developer desired, allowing for possible completion of the proposed 1,350 total additional units.

The PUD revision under consideration since the early part of 2002 is resort owner Intrawest Corp.’s plan to build out the resort to create critical mass and amenities at the resort.

“There’s so many unknowns in this, we should find out about them sooner or later,” Hawkins said. “We did take action on the water because, again, all these unknowns can pop up.”

The commission will hold a meeting at 5:30 p.m. July 24 in the Copper Mountain Chapel to discuss final amendments to the PUD. Hawkins said the text of the document will be finished and made publicly available by early August at latest.

The final commission’s public hearing on the topic is scheduled for Aug. 24.

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