KRED plans to dedicate controversial parcel as open space | SummitDaily.com
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KRED plans to dedicate controversial parcel as open space

Jane Reuter

What’s proposed

? Removing development plans from a parcel near a wildlife corridor and dedicating it as open space

? Building a 650-space parking lot along Montezuma Road

? Rebuilding a portion of Montezuma Road, in partnership with Summit County

? Transferring 22 units of density formerly proposed for land near the wildlife corridor to other areas of the resort

? Establishing a density bank of 55 equivalent residential units that could later be built in an as-yet undetermined portion of Keystone Resort

The proposal will be discussed at a meeting of the Snake River Planning Commission, slated for 5:30 p.m. Thursday .

KEYSTONE – After a year of controversy, Keystone developers have dropped plans to build on a parcel opponents say is too close to a critical wildlife migration corridor.

In exchange for that, Keystone Real Estate Development (KRED) officials hope they will garner approval from county officials for development they want to make in the Ski Tip-area neighborhood.

KRED will offer to dedicate 16 acres between Keystone and Montezuma – known as Parcel A – as open space at a meeting of the Snake River Planning Commission, slated for 5:30 p.m. Thursday .

KRED, the Keystone development company that pairs Vail Resorts with Intrawest, once proposed building 21 (later four) residential lots on that parcel. Environmentalists and concerned citizens said the project – known as Settlers Creek and Ski Tip South – was dangerously close to a four-mile-long wildlife migration corridor, and would threaten the migration patterns of lynx, moose, mountain lions and elk, among other species.

The Ski Tip neighborhood is roughly located along Independence Road, off Montezuma Road east of Keystone.

The idea of 21 homes there was rejected by the Summit Board of County Commissioners in July. In November, Snake River Planning Commissioners denounced the prospect of four home sites in the same area.

“It was something identified in (Keystone’s plans) as being able to develop, and now we’re giving it back,” Mike O’Connor, KRED’s director of development and construction, said of Parcel A.

But dedicating Parcel A as open space doesn’t come without some expectations on KRED’s part.

“In exchange for giving up the use of Parcel A, we would like to be able to do this parking lot on Montezuma Road, under the power lines, which the Snake River Master Plan has identified as skier parking,” said KRED planning manager Thomas Davidson.

Plans for that lot, while not as controversial as development in Parcel A, also were debated during November’s presentation at the Snake River Planning Commission. But the lot was then proposed as an 850-space facility; it’s been scaled back to 650, and Thomas says the lot will be built in phases, as demand dictates.

KRED plans also call for transferring the 22 units of density from Parcel A to other areas within the resort. Fifteen units are proposed for an area along Montezuma Road near Hunki Dori Court, another eight to an property eventually planned as the base area of another ski lift.

Parcel C is a planned development at the base of what KRED hopes someday will be a third access point and lift to the ski area, in addition to the already existing Mountain House and River Run ski area portals.

“This lift has been talked about for 16 or 17 years,” said Boyd Mitchell, Keystone Resort’s director of ski area planning and development. “This would have limited retail and only one lift. We’re currently working with the Forest Service to put together a proposal that would include a ski lift, trails and snowmaking (there).”

Regardless of the addition of a Ski Tip portal, Davidson said more skier parking is needed.

“As long as we’ve got a strong national economy, at some point in time we’ll need this parking,” he said. “But we won’t expand this parking until we actually need it.”

KRED also wants an additional 55 units of equivalent residential density, a method of measuring residences that includes condominiums as well as single-family residences. It equals about 22 single-family homes. Davidson said KRED wants to bank that density for eventual use elsewhere in the resort.

Davidson said KRED feels it deserves that additional density, in part because it’s losing value in giving up the density on Parcel A.

In addition, when Parcel A was denied last year, Davidson said, county staff suggested KRED receive a density bonus if it moved its development plans elsewhere. He also pointed out that in 1999, KRED reduced the residential unit count in Ski Tip from almost 700 to 500.

Also included in Thursday’s proposal are plans for KRED to partner with the county to rebuild a portion of Montezuma Road from Hunki Dori Court to east of Independence Road, realign the bike path along Montezuma Road to eliminate two road crossings and add landscaping to screen the parking lot and to provide a buffer between the road and the bike path.

KRED officials don’t expect a final recommendation from the planning commission Thursday. Instead, they anticipate the commission and planners will need to work out some issues with KRED before a final decision by the planning commission can be made, ideally in May. The proposal would then go before the BOCC in June.

Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at jreuter@summitdaily.com


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