New Urbanism for Crested Butte

Good morning readers!

I’ve been receiving inquiries regarding CBMR’s plans for the North Village and Prospect area. Below is a great article by Laura Freeman of the Crested Butte News that outlines CBMR’s expansion and development plans for the North Village. It appears that the original plan for 3000+ units has been altered. North Village is now looking like a 1000 unit development with 200 units slated for the so-called "affordable" home buyer. The new plan for this development includes implementation of New Urbanism style of planning and architecture. It sounds like there is a similarity to the Pitchfork development but way bigger in terms of the number of units. Additionally, a reservoir is in the works to store water for snowmaking during the winter months. Smart considering the limited water supply of the East River and the amount of power it takes every year to pump East River water up the hill to the ski area.

We’ll be watching this activity closely!

Channing Boucher

CBMR preparing to unveil plans for North Village

“They’re just trying to get their ducks in a row”

Plans for the North Village, a second town-center-like neighborhood at the base of Snodgrass Mountain in Mt. Crested Butte, are taking shape and could come before the public for an unveiling as soon as next month.

Over the past several months, Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) officials have been meeting with architects and planners to hammer out a proposal to be revealed to the public as late as May or early June.

The resort would like to bring a formal proposal for the village before the Mt. Crested Butte Planning Commission by late summer—although dates for the public unveiling and a formal application have not been set.

Conceptual drawings for the North Village contain plans for 1,000 dwelling units, including at least 200 affordable housing units; a reservoir, a post office, and restaurants; the relocation of the Mt. Crested Butte Town Hall; a general store; a hotel; and access to the main mountain via a gondola, according to CBMR vice president of real estate and development, Michael Kraatz.

"It’s probably a 15 to 20 year plan by the time it’s all done," he says.

Plans for the North Village are "totally separate" from the resort’s proposal to expand lift-accessed skiing to Snodgrass Mountain, according to John Sale, director of planning with CBMR.

The Snodgrass proposal is still in a pre-National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, waiting to hear about its viability to proceed in planning from the Forest Service. "We are looking at the North Village happening whether Snodgrass happens or not," according to Sale.

The design is for a dense core with multi-family complexes and commercial space, growing less dense as the development expands from the core, says Kraatz. "What we’re trying to do here is create a true sense of community," he says. The land planners for Mountaineer Square, SE Group, have teamed up with Boulder-based Wolff Lyon Architecture, to create plans for the village with CBMR. Wolff Lyon designed Wellington, a 280-unit affordable housing project in Breckenridge, and is involved in the Stapleton redevelopment in Denver, employing "New Urbanism."

New Urbanism is a plan that comes with its own set of defined codes, for everything from architectural design to building placement on a lot, according to Mt. Crested Butte town manager Joe Fitzpatrick. "It’s not unlike Pitchfork," he says, "but on a larger scale."

When CBMR brings the plan before the Mt. Crested Butte Planning Commission, they will ask for approval of an amendment to an existing Planned Unit Development (PUD) for the parcel, which is a request to develop a piece of land according the developer’s own set of town-approved codes.
The newest plans for the North Village are the recent evolution of visions for the 140-acre parcel, which have been on and off the table since 1984, says Kraatz.

Most recently, the town approved 1,800 units for the parcel in 2001, as part of the East Trade and West Trade Parcel agreement, a complex trade agreement involving state and private land, and property managed by the United States Forest Service. The agreement also allowed CBMR to develop Prospect and Mountaineer Square.

The only stipulation from the town in the North Village element of the East Trade and West Trade Parcel agreement in 2001 was that the resort develop a Nordic ski trail and bike trail system to "circumnavigate" the development, which connects to other trail systems in the area.

In addition to the ski and bike trails, the North Village planners want to develop a neighborhood that encourages walking between the residences, and commercial core of the village, according to Kraatz.

"It’s designed so that most of the development around the perimeter is within a quarter mile walk of the core area," he says, so that "If people are willing, they’ll keep their cars in garages and walk to the town core to get a gallon of milk."

Kraatz says the planners considered making the village core pedestrian-only, but abandoned the idea in light of the parking requirements for a post office and civic offices. Residences will range in size from 400-square-foot hotel rooms to a maximum size single-family home of 2,400 square feet. Each residence will have its own one- to two-car garage, says Kraatz. The lot sizes are smaller, along the lines of the size of a typical Crested Butte town-sized lot, which is 50 by 100 feet, says Fitzpatrick.

"I think it’s terrific," says Mt. Crested Butte council member Mike Kube, who has been sitting in on some of the conceptual design meetings for the North Village over the last couple of months. "Small houses and small lots—it’s exactly what we need," he says. Kube says the plan is much better than earlier proposals for the North Village, which at one point included plans for more than 3,000 units. "It’s like night and day," he says.

The concept for the North Village also includes plans for a bus stop, which would provide public transit between the North Village and the South Village Town Center (Mountaineer Square) as well as downtown Crested Butte. Kraatz says the resort has consulted with Mountain Express to provide the service, but the plans are too preliminary to begin serious discussions with the potential bus service provider.

In addition to vehicle and bus access to the North Village, the proposal includes plans for a gondola to run between the base of the Goldlink lift on the main mountain to either the core of the North Village, or to the base of Snodgrass Mountain if the resort’s proposal to expand lift service skiing to Snodgrass is approved, says Kraatz.

The reservoir in the neighborhood is designed to store water for snowmaking, to maximize the resort’s existing claim on th
e East River, according to Kraatz. The resort currently holds a right to a certain amount of water from the river during peak flows, and utilizes the flow by diverting water through hoses for snowmaking. "During high flow periods of the river, we want to take water out, and staying within the limitations we already have, put it in storage," says Kraatz. "If we want to improve snowmaking even on the existing mountain, we have to add storage," he adds.
The reservoir concept would encompass approximately eight acres of surface land, holding roughly 180 acre-feet, or 55 million gallons of water, according to Sale.

The resort is exploring ways to diversify the use of the reservoir, according to Kraatz, so that it may be used for recreation—such as boating and ice skating—as well as function as part of the sustainable energy plans for the village in a heat exchange system for the commercial spaces in the plans.

Kraatz says CBMR is working with the local sustainable building clearinghouse, the Office of Resource Efficiency, (ORE) to develop energy efficient and sustainable designs for the entire development, such as integrating solar hot water panels into architectural design plans.
Commercial spaces in the North Village core will be limited, says Kraatz, with consideration of the town of Crested Butte’s commercial business. "There won’t be a lot of restaurants," he says, "We want to have enough commercial to support what’s going on down there," says Kraatz, "but we are also sensitive to Elk Avenue businesses, so without detracting from that, if you want to have breakfast, you can go down to a small café."

Mt. Crested Butte Town Council member William Buck says council members have been "taking turns" sitting in on design formation meetings with CBMR. "They’re just trying to get their ducks in a row," says Buck. "It’s really nice looking," he adds. "Modern, but with rustic elements."
Sale says the resort would like to break ground on the North Village as early as 2009.

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