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Keystone parking lot wins unanimous OK

KIM MARQUIS

KEYSTONE – Before approving a site plan Monday for a Keystone parking lot along Montezuma Road, County Commissioner Bill Wallace reminded the public that in any ski resort community, there are three sure things people can expect: skiers, chair lifts and parking lots.

Vail Resorts Development Co. received support for one more lot at Keystone Resort Monday when county commissioners voted unanimously to approve the ski company’s request.

But it may take another lift – a much bigger hurdle to jump – in the Jones Gulch area before the lot is actually built.

The parcel is located along the north side of Montezuma Road under the power lines and across the street from the Ski Tip neighborhood. It is designed to hold about 600 vehicles.

The lot could some day be used by skiers who would cross through residential neighborhoods to access a future Jones Gulch lift, a lift that is currently on hold by the ski company because of lynx wildlife corridor issues.

“We aren’t in need of constructing this parking lot now,” said Thomas Davidson, director of development for Vail Resorts Development Co. “We don’t know when we’ll build it, but it will be built.”

First, the ski company will team up with the county to make about $400,000 in improvements to Montezuma Road by rebuilding about a mile of it between the center of the resort and the edge of the Trapper’s Crossing neighborhood. Vail Resorts will kick in up to $200,000 for the project. Road construction is expected to begin this summer.

In exchange for funds for Montezuma Road construction, the site plan that won approval Monday provides developers a 20-year vesting right to build the parking lot.

The parcel was identified in the 1995 Snake River Master Plan as suitable for parking and the county established design standards for it in 2002 during a modification to the resort’s planned unit development (PUD) approval.

Ed Wood, president of a neighborhood homeowners association, questioned the validity of approving development two decades into the future.

But Wood said the neighbors’ main concerns center on what they perceive as a poor parking plan.

“It makes no earthly sense whatsoever to bring traffic through the entire length of the resort and park people at the eastern terminus,” he said.

The neighbors called for a comprehensive parking plan before county commissioners approved the lot on Montezuma Road.

“The entire county is operating with no master plan for parking,” he said.

“If there’s no plan for parking it’s impossible to make decisions like this that will lower property values.”

Wood said he represented 50 Ski Tip neighborhood homeowners.

Kim Marquis can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 249 or kmarquis@summitdaily.com.


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