Intrawest to present scaled-back village plan
summit daily news
SUMMIT COUNTY ” Top Intrawest executives will provide an overview of a new development plan for the Copper Mountain village at the annual state-of-the-resort meeting today, outlining a 15-year vision aimed at ensuring the long-term sustainability of the resort.
“Last July was not a great time for us,” said Intrawest regional vice president Joe Whitehouse, referring to county commissioners’ denial of a previous plan that ended a long and bruising planning process.
Among the main issues were concerns over parking and a density increase that ran against the grain of Summit County’s stated intent to prevent up-zoning and cap development at currently approved levels, while allowing exceptions for affordable housing and transferred development rights. A proposed gondola through the village was also a contentious point.
Whitehouse said resort officials spent the past year reflecting on what makes a community and what makes a sustainable resort, and worked closely with major stakeholders, including employees, merchants, homeowners and the nearby town of Frisco to reshape the proposal.
Today’s presentation from 9-11 a.m. at the Bighorn Ballroom of the Copper Conference Center is the first to the wider audience of Copper homeowners. At the same time, officials will continue to meet with homeowners’ association boards to gather additional feedback.
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In a preview, Whitehouse and senior vice president of operations Gary Rodgers said the new plan, still in a conceptual draft stage, represents a 45 percent reduction in density from the previous application and a 58 percent increase in parking spaces.
Whitehouse said he is hopeful that proposed county code amendments will ease the approval process this time around, enabling the county commissioners and the Ten Mile Planning Commission to meet with the resort in joint work sessions to review the proposed plan.
The previous plan won approval from the planning commission before meeting its demise at the hands of the Board of County Commissioners in July, 2004.
Whitehouse said the goal is to get a formal application to the county planning department before the end of the year.
Under the new proposal, Copper is still eyeing a net density increase, seeking to add 639 units (a single-family-home equals 2.5 “equivalent units” of density; condos up to a certain size equal one unit, while larger condos equal two density units).
The number of parking spaces would increase from 2,666 to 4,200.
Whitehouse and Rodgers also touted a series of community benefits, including environmental improvements and a commitment to employee housing. An arrival plaza at Passage Point is also planned to increase the flow of pedestrian traffic through the village.
The Chapel parking lot and the small parking structure near the heart of the village are among the “receiving sites” that would see redevelopment, Whitehouse said, explaining that the resort wants to address the challenge of its limited bed base by redistributing commercial and residential density in the village.
From the start of the previous redevelopment process, Copper officials have said they need to increase the bed base to ensure the viability of the resort’s commercial operations ” the shops and service facilities in the village.
So far, the latest version of the plan has garnered positive reviews from some of the stakeholders, Whitehouse and Rodgers said.
“The Copper Mountain Resort Chamber wants to express their appreciation of your approach in communicating with the businesses at Copper Mountain regarding the proposed (development),” said Steve Bowman, executive director of the Copper Mountain Resort Chamber. “Your open communication with our membership, the businesses at Copper Mountain, was received very positively with many favorable comments,” Bowman said.
Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228 or at email@example.com.
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