Round 2: BOCC and Intrawest
SUMMIT COUNTY – Golfers are teed off about Intrawest’s proposed change to the golf course, but that’s not the only issue the Board of County Commissioners faced Tuesday.More than 30 people attended part two of a worksession at the County Courthouse in Breckenridge where commissioners considered Intrawest’s proposal to develop Copper Mountain. The Canadian company wants to add 613 new units, including a hotel on the current Chapel parking lot, as well as condos and single-family houses at the A-Lift area. It also plans to restructure the main road leading into Copper Mountain, redesign the golf course and add other amenities.Parking problems continueOne of the hottest issues, parking, affects most skiers and snowboarders in Summit County. As resorts favor building high dollar condos over free parking lots, getting to chairlifts, restaurants and shops becomes more and more laborious. Summit County senior planner Rob Pyzel said parking is one of the most significant problems at Copper Mountain. “If I counted all of the hours we spent talking about parking at homeowner association meetings, it’s unbelievable,” said Tom Malmgren, a Copper resident for 33 years and a member of the Copper Mountain Metropolitan District.When Commissioner Bill Wallace asked where the thousands of cars will park, Intrawest representative John Wheatley said planners are working on the problem and will present solutions in the final proposal. So far, Intrawest says it’s increasing day skier parking from 3,482 spaces at build-out to a minimum of 4,200 spaces, but four areas Intrawest counts in its total do not qualify for day skier parking (see Thursday’s edition). Commissioner Bill Wallace and Copper residents called for a comprehensive study of parking spaces, including car counts when Copper is full. Last season, Copper used Officer’s Gulch as an overflow parking area, which had never been used.Wallace warned Intrawest about creating bad experiences for day skiers because of lack of parking. He also questioned why Intrawest won’t build parking structures.”You want to use parking lots to build condos, but you don’t want to look at structures to take care of parking,” Wallace said. “To me, there’s a disconnect.”Ron Carlson, who represents the Elk Run homeowners’ association, said residents support improvements at Copper, but the current proposal doesn’t meet their standards. Homeowners want parking near shops and restaurants for easier access. “This proposal does nothing to sustain business,” Carlson said.Commissioner Bob French agreed, saying customers must have a close place to park to keep businesses thriving year-round.Instead of adding parking spaces near businesses, Intrawest plans to add bus stops to the new Center Lot and redesign the existing bus stop at Passage Point for service within the resort, as well as for the Summit Stage. Smaller shuttles will run between Lewis Ranch on the west side and the Village Center.One of the most dramatic changes includes widening Copper Road from two lanes to four and removing a portion of the bus lanes and landscaped median. Overflow parking would no longer be permitted on the road.Open spaceThe transfer of development rights continued to cause problems Tuesday. Intrawest’s proposal would result in a net loss of open space.”I don’t support any plan with a net loss of open space,” said Commissioner Tom Long. “It bothers me that private open space was for stables, cross-country and golf, and all of the sudden, private open space is good for condos.”Not on parIntrawest wants to hire award-winning golf course architect Jim Engh to redesign and shorten the course, but local golfers don’t care. Wheatley said Engh’s design would make the course more interesting, making it a par 70 instead of a par 67. But most residents oppose reducing the course size in order to fit in more development.”You need to do a better job selling this to the golfing community because I haven’t heard anyone say, ‘It’s going to be shorter, but boy, it’s going to be more fun,'” French said.”It seems to me shortening the golf course is like closing Copper Bowl to make a better ski area,” said resident and attorney Karl Anuta.Residents are also worried about the new design’s effect on their properties. Anuta wondered if proposed holes 1 and 9 would necessitate the removal of C Lift, which residents use to access the mountain. He and other residents worry the redesign will increase the risk of stray balls flying toward their condos. Stan Sprinkle, an owner at the Anaconda complex, already sees a lot of damage to units from golf balls.Long expressed concern that focusing on the golf course is taking focus off of considering other amenities. Those proposed amenities include an outdoor performance amphitheater, pocket parks, a nature interpretive center and a fishing lake.The next Copper PUD worksession is set for 9:30 a.m., June 20, at the County Courthouse in Breckenridge.
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