North Village Mt Crested Butte FAQ
North Village Mt Crested Butte FAQ was released this evening on Tuesday evening February 11, 2020 at a public meeting “Open House”. There was an official announcement regarding a temporary partnership between The Rocky Mountain Biological Lab (RMBL), the Alvarez family who purchased the North Village land, and the town of Mt. Crested Butte. The FAQ below provides answers to many questions and some very high level information regarding the North Village Mt Crested Butte.
The North Village property is located at the Northwest corner of Mt. Crested Butte bordered by Gothic Road to the East and Snodgrass Mountain and Allen Ranchland to the West. The 156 acre property was owned by Tim & Diane Mueller who also were the prior owners of CBMR. The property was purchased in October 2018 for $5.3M by the Alvarez family.
Below is the North Village Mt Crested Butte FAQ that was released:
North Village Development Frequently Asked Questions Updated 11 February 2020
The Town of Mt. Crested Butte, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and North Village Associates LLC (NVA) have jointly executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under which the parties have agreed to enter into a 4 month due diligence period to investigate the potential benefits of jointly developing the North Village and Common Area F parcels. During this time period the parties will work collaboratively in an effort to determine a vision for the property that will best serve the community’s needs and provide for long term beneficial growth for the Town of Mt. Crested Butte, expanded facility capacity for RMBL and a high quality development for North Village Associates. To this end we are encouraging public participation and input from the very inception of the process to better understand the needs, priorities and potential concerns of Mt. Crested Butte’s citizens. The goal is a project that is physically attractive, financially feasible and a benefit to the community.
The Site and Previous Plans
How big is the site? The North Village Parel is approximately 150 acres and is contiguous to the Town owned 17 acre parcel referred to as Common Area F (current tent camping site).
Where exactly is the property? See attached parcel map. The property encompasses the property to the west and south of Gothic Road from just north of Town Hall to the pre-sediment pond at the Snodgrass Trailhead and west to the boundary with the Allen Ranch property on the flank of Snodgrass Mountain.
What has been approved for the property? In 1985 under CBMR’s ownership the Town of Mt. Crested Butte originally granted approval for almost 2,000 housing units as well as commercial development through a PUD (planned unit development). In 2002 the approval was amended to reduce the total number of approved units to a maximum of 1,800. Quite a bit of mitigation, in the form of transfer of Common Area F (the Town’s 17 acres), cash, and other items were provided to offset the impacts of the proposed 1800 unit development. For example, Common Area F is currently zoned only for open space.
The New Plan
What are the goals of the new owners? In 2018 the Alvarez Family purchased the North Village property and they wish to maintain the amazing and unique views, utilize beautiful and harmonious architecture, provide meaningful community and open spaces, and substantially reduce the planned density.
How many free market homes would the current owner like to add? The Alvarez Faimly intend to significantly reduce density from the approved 1800 units, but a specific number of units has not been established. It will depend in part on the feedback received from the public and the financial feasibility of the project.
Would the project include commercial space? Yes. The Town of Mt. CB has indicated that they prefer that any commercial space create a synergy, rather than compete, with the existing base area. The Alvarez Family (NV) are considering a variety of commercial typologies that would be appropriate for the Mt. Crested Butte community and visitors. These include commercial elements as well as a potential hotel on the property.
What will you be building on the site/what are the proposed uses? As part of the design process the Alvarez Family (NV) is considering a variety of uses that would be appropriate. The purpose of the Open House meetings during the MOU period is to understand and prioritize uses for the entire site.
Why aren’t you presenting a site map at this point in time? Until we understand whether the Town of Mt. CB will be a partner, and if so, what its priorities are, it is premature to develop a final design for the site.
Will there be a site plan for public review and an opportunity for feedback? Yes, after completion of the 4 month MOU we will begin the process of actual site layout and design. There will be several opportunities for public input throughout the plan development phase as well as the formal PUD application process.
Will the project include lift served skiing on Snodgrass Mountain? The current Owner’s of the North Village Parcel do not intend to develop lift served skiing on Snodgrass. CBMR still has some entitlements related to skiing on Snodgrass, which will not be affected by this project. But, whether CBMR pursues lift served skiing on Snodgrass at some point in the future is up to CBMR alone. Accordingly the North Village project is not taking any position about developed skiing on Snodgrass.
Will there be skier connection to the Goldlink area? Potentially, but his has not yet been determined. It is however being considered.
Will CBMR be able to continue grooming Snodgrass for non-lift-served winter skiing? CBMR has an easement that provides access, which will not be affected by this project.
Will there be a reservoir constructed on the site? Vail Resorts owns water rights for a reservoir called Cresent Lake, which is located on portions of the site. The legality, feasibility and desirability of actually buildimg this reservoir is currently under discussion.
Town Partnership and Public Amenities
Why is the Town of Mt. CB considering partnering on the project? All parties to the MOU wish to maximize public benefit by taking advantage of economies of scale and realizing a reduced overall density for the ultimate buildout of the site. By partnering with the Alvarez Family (NV) and RMBL, the Town and its citizens will have greater influence over the design of the overall project.
How many housing workforce housing units will be provided on site? All code required housing units associated with North Village buildings will be provided on site. The exact number will be determined once the project program is finalized. As a potential partner in the North Village development, the Town of Mt. CB has the opportunity to include additional workforce housing beyond what will be required of the project.
How will this project affect access to the Snodgrass Trail? There is a legal easement for the trail which will not be removed. Access won’t change on existing trails.
Will dogs and horses be allowed on trails? Access will not change.
How will this project affect public parking for Snodgrass Trail? Existing parking at the trailhead is located on private property, the North Village, and is currently used by permission of the Alvarez Family. The location and amount of public parking is a critical issue. We are soliciting public comment on how to approach this. The intention is to provide a better integrated trail access experience for the community and North Village.
How does mass transit fit in? The Town of Mt. CB will have to decide whether and how they wish to prioritize mass transit. The Alvarez Family (NV) would like to encourage and promote mass transit and incorporate it into the site design.
Will this change bus access to the Snodgrass Trailhead? The project will be designed to accommodate buses. Mountain Express will make decisions about what level of service will be provided.
What public amenities will be available on site? The team will determine the highest and best possible usages based on public input and financial feasibility. Amenities that have been discussed include additional trails, workforce housing, a ballfield, a dog park, a reservoir, a gondola, public parking, and open space. We expect the public to generate additional suggestions. The project team is soliciting feedback from CB Nordic and CB Mtn Bike Association about trails.
What will happen to the Town’s 17 acres? As the owner, and with public input, the Town of Mt. CB will decide what happens to the Town’s 17 acres. The property was given to the Town by CBMR as open space to mitigate the impacts of an 1800 unit development. CBMR has the right to use some of the property for their reservoir. If the Town decides it wants to develop amenities and everyone agrees they are best placed elsewhere on the property, the Owner is open to considering redrawing boundaries.
Doesn’t the Owner (the Alvarez Family, NV) have to provide amenities to mitigate of the development?
Yes! However, a substantial number of amenities have already been provided, including but not limited to the donation of the Town’s 17 acres and payments for a ballfield, all of them assuming an 1800 unit development. Given the mitigation that has already occurred, the planned reduction in density, the workforce housing that will be included and the size of the parcel, there are opportunities for many more public amenities than would be required of the development by Town Code.
How will the town pay for its amenities? There are a wide range of funding sources, including the Department of Local Affairs, the Department of Transportation, and Great Outdoors Colorado, that are available for funding elements of the project. Part of what the Town of Mt. CB will be doing in the next four months is determining whether there are reasonable funding sources to pay to build and maintain them. The Mt. CB voters recently approved a Short Term Rental tax for workforce housing, which could be used to develop workforce housing on this site. In addition, last year, the Town received a $2,950,000 payment from the prior developer that is, in part, intended to develop amenities on the North Village Property.
What happens if the town prioritizes an amenity but can’t raise the money for it? The parcel does not have to be developed all at once. For example, if the Town prioritizes creation of a ballfield, as long as the site incorporates that field into the plan, the Town can move forward with its creation whenever it is ready, even decades later.
The Process and Timeline
What is the process and timeframe? The Town of Mt. CB will be soliciting feedback on the public’s priorities into May. At that time they will decide whether they wish to continue the partnership, including whether there are possible funding sources for the potential additional amenities. If they decide to move ahead, the Town will enter into a pre-development agreement with the Alvarez Family and RMBL. The next step will involve approximately six months to develop a site plan and a PUD application, with public input. Once the application is ready, the site plan and PUD application will be submitted it to the Town as part of the regulatory approval process.
What is the PUD Process? The Town of Mt CB is requiring a new PUD application for the new anticipated project. This process will require public meeting before the Planning Commission and the Town Council. There will be a minimum of 4 public hearings as part of the process. The Town does not anticipate receiving the application until the fall of 2020.
When will construction start? There is currently no set timeline for construction. Construction can only happen after Town approval of the PUD.
How can Mt. CB partner in a project it has to approve? Property owned by the Town of Mt. CB is not exempt from the Town’s zoning process. If the Town decides to move forward, it will have to establish a
process that separates the Alvarez Family (NV) and RMBL from the Town of Mt. CB during the regulatory approval process.
What are the opportunities for public input? There will be two informal stages for public input. We anticipate 2-3 public open houses to help the Town of Mt. CB decide whether to move forward with the partnership, and if so, what its priorities will be. Assuming the Town of Mt. CB moves forward, we anticipate another 2-3 open houses to get feedback on the site plan. Once an application has been submitted to the Town of Mt. CB there will be formal opportunities for public input consisting of a minimum of four public hearings with both the Planning Commission and the Town Council of Mt. CB. Typically the earlier input is provided, the easier it is to incorporate. The public will also be able to review materials and provide feedback.
Are there wetlands on the site? Yes. These have been identified and will be protected or mitigated as required by ordinance.
Will you address light pollution? Yes. Mt. Crested Butte has requirements for exterior lighting. We will use full cut-off fixtures. Additionally, we will be sensitive to light pollution through design and architectural guidelines throughout the North Village property.
How will the project impact the Snodgrass ridgeline? One of the priorities of the owner is to maintain the views and avoid development on the ridgeline. We expect most or all of the development to be below the ridgeline.
Will the pre-sediment pond be moved? It is highly unlikely due to expense. The Mt. CB Water and Sanitation has an easement for the settling pond, and their system is designed for that location. For security reasons, a fence will need to remain around the pond.
What does RMBL intend to accomplish with the project? We wish to create seasonal and permanent housing for RMBL employees, add year-round research and education space, and enhance public access to the outdoors while reducing impacts on the Gothic corridor.
How important will RMBL’s project be nationally? RMBL has become one of the leading research institutions supporting field science, with an annual federal investment in RMBL-related research of approximately $10 million/year. This campus will be a big step forward for the nation’s scientific infrastructure.
Why will it be important? Biology will transform our lives in the next fifty years, much as the last 50 years brought us electronics, computers, the internet, and iphones. Considerable progress in biology is driven by “model” systems, animals or plants, the large teams of scientists working on similar systems. At RMBL, we are creating fundamental insights by extending that approach to an entire ecosystem. From food, to water, to the air we breathe, the environment is critical to the quality of our lives. RMBL is where many foundational discoveries occur. The Mt. CB campus will allow us a year-round campus and serve as a foundation for bringing emerging technologies and big data to field science.
Why is RMBL exploring a campus?
1. More students and scientists want to work at RMBL and we don’t have enough space in Gothic. We would like to accommodate that demand in Mt. Crested Butte to reduce our impacts on the Gothic corridor.
2. We have a lot of scientists and support staff that reside in Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte in the summer. It is increasingly difficult for them to find housing.
3. We would like to bank some land in case we need to provide housing for long-term employees in the future.
4. Most of our Gothic facilities are unused for much of the year. This location will allow us to support scientists and students year-round, and to provide facilities to the larger workforce community when not needed by RMBL.
5. The project is strategically located to support winter access to RMBL.
6. We would like to operate some of our summer programs in Mt. Crested Butte to reduce pressure on the Gothic corridor.
What does the project mean for the Gothic campus? RMBL will continue to use the Gothic campus as it currently does.
Will this change how RMBL supports K-12 education? It will make it easier for us to support year-round programing which is currently difficult due to the lack of year-round usable facilities. We would like to include research space for K-12 education programs alongside scientists.
What kind of spaces will there be for scientists? We will develop year-round office and research space to host scientists.
What do scientists do in their research space? RMBL supports field scientists and they need indoor space for processing field samples. For example, they have balances, microscopes, and drying ovens. More RMBL scientists are also using equipment to do chemical analyses, such as understanding the fragrances plants use to attract insects, or to explore the different ways in which carbon is stored in soil. RMBL
scientists also deploy sensors, such as tiny soil temperature probes or weather stations. The research space is a place where they can store and work on those sensors.
How much space will be provided for science, education, and administration? We are still analyzing this, but it will probably be between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet.
Does RMBL currently have the funds to build a campus? No. We have conducted a feasibility analysis of our fundraising capacity. When and if the Town of Mt. CB approves a PUD, then RMBL will determine whether it has the financial capacity to build.
RMBL, Recreation, and Public Lands
Is RMBL pro-growth or anti-growth? Neither. We love to see people get outside; it is why everyone comes to Crested Butte. Education is a core part of our mission and visitors give us a chance to reach more people. We are strong advocates for managing impacts, including providing effective signage, ensuring access to bathrooms, and encouraging respect for private property. Our scientists have been working on public lands since 1928 so we work hard to help research and recreation co-exist. As more people come, unfortunately management has to be more active to make it all work.
How does this project fit with land conservation? RMBL has directly conserved, or partnered, in approximately 30 conservation projects valued at $20+ million with a focus on the Gothic corridor. As most of the critical pieces in the Gothic corridor have been preserved, the community focus is turning to management. The location of the campus, which is in a municipality, is perfect to serve as a portal for public access to, and enjoyment of, public lands.
How will RMBL enhance public recreation? We will examine opportunities to improve public parking at the Snodgrass Trailhead and provide developed bathrooms and indoor interpretative space. We will also explore ways to support organizations which provide recreation services in the area.
Will this change vehicular access to Gothic? No.
Will this change bus access to Gothic? Mountain Express will decide whether there will be any changes to the service.
What facilities will be provided for the public? Depending upon availability of funding, we are interested in providing a visitor’s center including interpretative space, bathrooms, a coffee shop, and lecture space.
Who will control the seasonal workforce housing? RMBL intends to create approximately 25 seasonal
housing beds. We remain open to collaboration and different ownership/management structures.
Who will reside in summer housing? We intend to fill the units with seasonal RMBL employees as well as seasonal employees of scientists.
Who will use winter housing? RMBL has only a limited demand for seasonal winter housing. We will make the housing available to seasonal employees from the larger community. Currently RMBL has no agreement with an employer that would restrict use of the housing to employees of a particular employer in winter. We are open to such partnerships.
Will there be year-round housing in the first phase? There may be a unit for a facilities person helping maintain the campus. We would also like to create 2-4 housing units for long-term RMBL employees, if it fits with the rest of the sight.
How will people qualify for seasonal housing? We are still figuring this out. One idea we are examining is employer certification; if an employer certifies an employee is working in the Valley, the employee will qualify.
When will housing be available? We don’t know. The earliest units would be available would be 2022, though that would be a very aggressive schedule.
How does the seasonal housing relate to obligations? We do not know yet. When the Town approved 1800 housing units, CBMR accepted an obligation to provide 17 housing units. The current owners of the property accepted that obligation as part of the purchase of the property. What the future obligation will be if the density is reduced, and how seasonal beds will count towards that obligation, will be determined by the Mt. CB Town Council.
How much will rent cost? We don’t know. However, our goal is to provide beds, cooking facilities, and utilities to the seasonal workforce at a cost that is reasonable based upon average seasonal wages.
Are there examples of this type of project in other communities? Yes. The Aspen Music Festival uses the Marolt Ranch for housing in summer, and the facility is available to the larger workforce community in winter. https://www.apcha.org/176/Marolt-Ranch.
What will the units be like? We are still designing them so we can’t say for certain yet. We do know that to provide seasonal housing on an affordable space they will need to be small and we will need to be efficient in terms of bathrooms and cooking spaces. We are exploring efficient designs that involve sharing of bathrooms, living, and cooking areas, as well as efficiency apartments. Ideally there will be a mixture of different types of units.
How big will the seasonal housing building be? We currently estimate it will be between five and eight thousand square feet.
Will pets be allowed in the housing? We do not know yet. Dogs are not allowed in the Gothic Townsite because of research. RMBL is not exploring this location as a research site, so there are no research reasons to exclude pets. Once we figure out the design and management of the housing, we will consider the issue more carefully. Our preference is to allow pets if it is feasible.
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