Ten Mile Planning Commission moves on without Miller’s vote
COPPER MOUNTAIN – The Ten Mile Planning Commission was smaller than usual at its meeting Thursday night, with only five commissioners present. Commissioner Dick Boylan was absent, Commissioner John Lokie completed his term earlier this month, and Commissioner Michael J. Miller was not reappointed to the commission.
Miller had completed the first year – a probationary period – of a three-year term, said Jim Curnutte, Summit County planning director.
Miller said he had hoped to complete his term on the planning commission – one he began because of his concern “about the massive development that was going on in Summit County.”
“I was also concerned of Intrawest and Vail taking over Summit County,” Miller said.
Though Miller had expressed interest in continuing as a member of the Ten Mile Planning Commission, the Board of County Commissioners chose to appoint someone else in his place because of concerns that Miller was unable to review the developer’s application impartially.
Summit County Attorney Jeff Huntley became concerned that Miller had a bias against Intrawest after the developer and a Copper homeowner expressed concern.
The Ten Mile Planning Commission has been in charge of reviewing Intrawest’s application for a long-term build-out plan for Copper Mountain, known as the Comprehensive Development Strategy or CDS. According to Curnutte and Huntley, commissioners must be prepared for meetings, act in a civil and courteous manner and review an application objectively.
“Planning commissioners are judge-like roles,” Huntley said. “It’s not exactly like a judge … but it’s similar in nature.”
Miller said he never voted for anything Intrawest wanted, but it wasn’t because of a bias against the developer.
“When I go to meetings and I read the letters and the comments from the community, most people are against the development,” he said. “And that’s how I base my opinion.”
Miller, who is the building manager at Snowflake Condominiums at Copper and director of maintenance for Carbonate Real Estate, added that he recently lost his temper with Intrawest over a parking issue and threatened to deflate its guests’ tires and tow their cars without warning.
Intrawest sent Huntley a tape recording of Miller’s threats.
“I heard the message that Mike Miller left and certainly echoed the concerns (voiced) by Copper about bias,” he said.
“I feel – and so do other people, I believe – they were hoping I would screw up so they could get me off, and I screwed up,” Miller said.
Though Miller was not present at Thursday’s meeting, he will see the CDS review through to the end, he said.
“I’ll be there at meetings,” Miller said. “I’ll be there in the public forum, but I will not be able to be back on the commission.”
Tom Malmgren, a Copper homeowner and owner of Carbonate Real Estate, was upset Miller will no longer serve on the commission.
“It’s very frustrating that just because someone has dissenting views from the obviously powerful corporation that they are pushed aside,” Malmgren said, adding his concern that Miller’s replacement will not have knowledge of prior commission discussions and public concerns as Miller did. “It seems like continuity of the commissioners would be a high priority.”
The Ten Mile Planning Commission will have three new commissioners at its next meeting in April, Curnutte said. The new members – Ruth Hertzberg, Nancy Savidge and Gary Haseloh – will replace Miller, Lokie and Commissioner Bonnie Moscatelli, who completed her term Thursday.
The Ten Mile Planning Commission has spent 13 meetings and one worksession to date reviewing Intrawest’s CDS. Each new commissioner is required to listen to the recordings of those meetings, Curnutte said.
“They all said, “I’ll do it,'” he said.
Lu Snyder can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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