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Copper wants water

BOB BERWYN
summit daily news

COPPER MOUNTAIN ” The Copper Metro District wants Intrawest to resolve an outstanding water rights transfer before taking a stance on the latest development plan at the resort.

The district outlined a laundry list of concerns in a memo to the Summit County planning department in advance of tonight’s Ten Mile Planning Commission work session on Intrawest’s latest development plan for Copper’s base area.

One issue is the long-standing Intrawest obligation to convey 35 acre-feet of water rights to the metro district. Intrawest may not have the water rights necessary to meet demands of the current planned unit development (PUD), “let alone the proposed PUD,” according to the memo.

“We do owe them the water rights under the 1999 PUD,” said Intrawest public affairs coordinator Laura Goode. “We know it’s something we need to actively and aggressively work with the metro district on before we go to Board of County Commissioner hearings in the fall.”

Intrawest wants to reallocate existing development rights at Copper, as well as add 613 new units of “equivalent density,” mainly for new residential units in the A Lift neighborhood and for a planned flagship Hardrock Hotel in the Center Village.

Conceptual versions of the plan have been floated at informal meetings at the resort in advance of the formal review process beginning today.

The metro district wants to see site-specific plans for each development pod, “showing building heights, bulk, elevations … building footprints,” as well as plans for transportation facilities and infrastructure, according to the May 4 memo.

The metro district concerns are not intended as a statement in opposition to the new development plan, according to the memo, but to identify the issues that need to be resolved to approve increased density.

The metro district is also concerned about Intrawest’s proposal to provide only 25 percent of the required employee housing within the resort, calling that element of the plan detrimental to the Copper Mountain community by discouraging families from living at the resort. “That commits the community to … a non-residential population of absentee property owners,” stated the memo.

Goode acknowledged that affordable housing would be discussed during the planning process.

“The principal objective is absolutely to acquire guidance and direction on our concept and ideas,” Goode said. “We’re not looking to debate the merits of the plan. We’re looking to listen and gather information from the planning commission.”

A previous Intrawest plan was subject to more than 20 meetings and hearings before gaining the planning commission’s recommendation for approval. But the plan was rejected by the BOCC in July 2004, partly because of concerns about density and parking issues.

Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 331-5996, or at bberwyn@summitdaily.com.


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