Final schedule for Copper planning set |

Final schedule for Copper planning set

FRISCO – Copper Mountain threw a planning commission party, but, for a change, few people showed up to voice concerns.

The ongoing saga of the ski resort’s comprehensive development strategy revisions – a rewriting of the planned unit development (PUD) for the subbasin – continued Thursday night. Copper’s development consultants, county planning staff and planning commission members reviewed the latest installment of rewrites covering changes to water supply requirements, financial impacts, architectural style and design standards, lighting, landscaping and other issues.

Copper Mountain is applying for a PUD modification that would allow an additional 1,244 residential units (everything from single-family homes to condos and employee housing), 120,000 square feet of commercial space, 7,000 square feet of cafeteria service, 60,000 square feet of conference facilities, parking structures and 65,000 square feet of resort support facilities.

The modification process began more than a year ago and has drawn significant criticism from some homeowners and property associations. But Thursday night, only three residents (including two former planning commissioners) and the manager of Copper Mountain’s metro district offered input on the editing of planning documents.

Despite the long meetings, extensive reading and time commitments, the watchdogs said it’s imperative to attend meetings and keep pressure on the commissioners to weigh every detail of the proposal.

“It’s my home,” said Tom Malmgren, chairman of the metro district that provides Copper residents with basic services and utilities and a former planning commissioner of 12 years. “This is very important for the future of the resort. I’m still very concerned because the commissioners have not technically voted on anything. Effectively doubling the size of the resort is too much for the tiny valley. I hope once it gets to the point, the commissioners take a hard look at this and tone it down.”

For Mike Miller, it was the first meeting on the public side of the table in a while. Miller was a Tenmile Planning Commission member until last month when his term expired. The Copper Mountain property manager’s appointment was not renewed over Intrawest’s accusations of bias. Miller said Friday, looking from the audience perspective, he still sees a lot of bias on the commission.

But he’s still putting in the time and participating in the process, Miller said, because it’s crucial to preserving the quality of life for which he moved here.

The citizens and some current commissioners expressed a few worries at the meeting:

n A water analysis by Copper Mountain’s consultants showed there should be enough water to meet the demands of future development. Commissioner Dick Boylan wanted to make sure the projections accounted for a shift to more permanent residents at the resort. Consultant Scott Fifer said it did.

n Consultants compiled fiscal impact projections for the developer, citing positive gains for the county. Residents pointed out their long-standing objection that Copper Mountain has never enjoyed the full benefit of its contributions to county coffers. Further, resident Brad Leonard lambasted the report as “quick and dirty,” adding “the county is in the dark ages of financial planning, and you’re in for some bad surprises in the future.”

County planners had an independent consulting firm analyze the report. The two groups of consultants will meet to ameliorate the concerns and produce an adjusted report for a future commission meeting.

n Other concerns rested on the proposed, more flexible design standards, including setbacks and lighting.

“The PUD and subbasin plans are meant to constrain development,” Miller said before the meeting closed. “They’re not meant to change every time they want to build something.”

The point of greatest contention was an agreement between Copper Mountain’s consultants and the county’s planning staff to hammer out the PUD modification by the end of June. Three new planning commissioner members joined the board for their first meeting Thursday night and are charged with digesting a year’s worth of previous meeting recordings and planning staff reports.

“What’s the rush?” Commissioner Boylan said.

The commission approved the final meeting schedule, including additional special meetings, with Boylan and Commissioner Gary Wilkinson voting against the motion.

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