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09-03-02 Town Council MinutesMayor T. Michael Manchester called to order the Regular Meeting of the Snowmass Village Town Council on Tuesday, September 3, 2002 at 8:00 a.m. Item No. 1: ROLL CALL SNOWMASS VILLAGE TOWN COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING MINUTES SEPTEMBER 3, 2002 COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT: Mayor T. Michael Manchester, Douglas Mercatoris, Robert Purvis, Richard Virtue and Arnold Mordkin COUNCIL MEMBERS ABSENT: All Council Members were present. STAFF PRESENT: PUBLIC PRESENT: Item No. 2: Mike Segrest, Town Manager; Carey Shanks, Assistant to the Town Manager; Jim Wahlstrom, Senior Planner; Chris Conrad, Planning Director; David Peckler, Transportation Manager; Stephen Connor, Town Attorney; Marianne Rakowski, Finance Director; Craig Thompson, Community Development Director; Joe Coffey, Housing Manager; Trudi Worline, Town Clerk; and Rhonda Coxon, Deputy Town Clerk. Jack Hatfield, Madeleine Osberger, Bill Kane, Gary Suiter, Brent Gardner Smith, Dave Bellack, Rick Griffin, Paul Shepherd, Penny White, Joe Pocaro, Larry Dempsey, Don Schuster, Dave Spence and other members of the Public interested in today's Agenda items. SECOND READING ORDINANCE NO. 12, SERIES OF 2002, AN ORDINANCE PROPOSING AMENDMENTS TO THE HOME RULE CHARTER TO BE CONSIDERED BY THE QUALIFIED ELECTORS. The first reading took place on August 12, 2002. In response to a question by Councilman Mercatoris, the Town Attorney pointed out the designation of the fiscal year of the Town will commence on January 1 and terminate on December 31 is a requirement of the Charter. Mercatoris also asked for clarification concerning removal of the Town Manager i.e., does the Council feel it should be an affirmative vote of the majority or a three quarters' vote to remove the Town Manager? The Town Attorney stated that a simple majority is currently required. Mordkin commented that some of the language on page 2 needed revision. The Town Attorney agreed. Dick Virtue made a motion, seconded by Arnie Mordkin, to approve the Amendments. The Amendments were approved 09- 03 -02tc Page 2of8 by a vote of 5 in favor to 0 opposed. Mayor Manchester called for a vote on the Ordinance. There being no further discussion, Ordinance No. 12, Series of 2002 was approved as amended by a vote of 5 in favor to 0 opposed. Mayor Manchester asked for any other concerns or comments before opening discussion on Item No. 3. Arnie Mordkin suggested that Town Council consider Snowmass festival alternatives if Jazz Aspen Snowmass moves its Labor Day Concert to Buttermilk. This idea will be revisited at another time. The question of whether or not there would be sufficient critical mass in the Base Village development to sustain a vibrant commercial core was posed. Councilman Mordkin suggested that Council arrive at a policy decision or position concerning the potential demise, whether benign or intentional, of the Mall. Manchester commented that these issues would be considered at a later time. He noted that the agreement for the Snowmass Resort Association's sale of the Conference Center for the estimated purchase price of $7,570,000 and the suspension the civic assessment was being considered at this time. Mercatoris stated that the S.R.A. Board of Governors has agreed to suspend the civic assessment for a minimum of five years and may or may not reinstate it. Item No. 3: BASE VILLAGE REVIEW OUTSTANDING ISSUES ON BASE VILLAGE Housing Mitigation Mayor Manchester brought up the Housing Mitigation issue. Town Manager Mike Segrest reviewed the sources for employment generation data, which support the housing mitigation estimates for the current submission. According to Segrest the employee generation numbers used were based on information gathered in 2000 from the Aspen Snowmass area in a merged database with comparative data from other areas. The results were then applied to a rough average of the number of jobs held by each individual employee and the estimated need for employee housing was reduced accordingly. The Town Council at the time applied a 65% housing mitigation requirement to the above mentioned estimate. Council required that the applicant contribute housing either in rental or in deed restricted units or mitigation in kind for 65% of estimated full -time employee generation resulting from the proposed project. He added that the applicant's options under the Municipal Code included meeting the standard entirely in terms of the requirement, demonstrating that some of the proposed building is actually in a different category which may or may not generate the same number of new full -time employees, or demonstrating special circumstances which might impact employee generation and justify modification of the proposed mitigation requirement. One alternative the applicant has already utilized involves deferral of the mitigation through the planning phases until a later date when resulting employee generation can be verified. Segrest noted that if the applicant team had applied the current Municipal Code requirements fully throughout the development of Snowmass Village they would have been required to provide a million square feet of employee housing. Instead the Village currently has 300,000 square feet of employee housing that is either owned by the Town or deed restricted and another 100,000 square feet that is privately owned and managed. According to Segrest, meeting the Code requirements of 311,000 square feet of mitigation for the proposed project would 09- 03 -02tc Page 3 of 8 double the amount of employee housing currently provided by the applicant. He then reviewed some of the alternative scenarios, which had been discussed and requested feedback from the Council. Mayor Manchester asked for clarification of the agreed -upon mitigation requirement for Mountain Improvements and suggested that it be addressed separately from mitigation requirements for the current proposal. Bill Kane asserted that Mountain Improvement housing mitigation requirements should be derived from an audit of the actual numbers of "real gained employment" i.e., deferred until real employment generation numbers have been verified. Kane added that at one time there had been a hypothetical estimate of 89 "FTE's" (full time employees) which was reviewed and, according to the Town's Code at the time, translated to a mitigation obligation of approximately 32,000 square feet. The applicant's response had been the initial proposed Multi Family Rental Program at Sinclair Meadows project, which was subsequently withdrawn. Kane suggested that the Mountain Improvement mitigation issue should probably be revisited at another time. He asserted that a reasonable interpretation of the Municipal Code allowed for the ultimate resolution of that number to be predicated upon an actual net change in employment (from 1994 to the end of the project) i.e., that the mitigation requirement should be deferred until actual employment generation numbers could be verified after improvements had been completed. Mayor Manchester responded that the essence of that agreement was that the applicant would then mitigate 100% of the actual employee increase as a result of the development. Kane noted that it might, in fact, involve a decrease of full -time employees. Manchester asked if the applicant might also want that agreement to apply to additional employee generation numbers as a result of the current application. Kane said no, explaining that the applicant would prefer to conduct another audit and address mitigation for the current application separately. After further discussion Council members and the applicant team agreed to deal with the two mitigation issues separately. Councilman Mordkin requested a copy of the 1994 application. Planning Director Conrad explained that it was only a few paragraphs and an exhibit illustrating mitigation requirements and conditions. He added that the Mountain Improvements issues should be fully addressed at the Preliminary PUD phase to amend the Snowmass Village Ski Area SPA. According to Conrad the agreement becomes fully binding at that time. Mayor Manchester then suggested discussing possible uses of a credit of 42,105 square feet, known as Brush Creek Land Co. Housing Credit [packet page 10], inherited from the Snowmass Land Company. Town Attorney, Stephen Connor, explained the extenuating circumstances of the credit and the conditions that apply to the applicant's use of the credit with reference to the development of the Base Village site. He clarified that, in theory, it would be appropriate for the applicant to apply the credit in lieu of actual square footage toward the current housing mitigation requirement. Connor added that verification of documentation concerning transfer of the credit and associated land from Snowmass Land Company to the Aspen Skiing Company would be a prerequisite to its use toward mitigation in this application. 09- 03 -02tc Page 4 of 8 Mordkin asked Segrest if he had been able to determine the genesis of the special circumstances determined by the Town Council in reference to job generation rates noted in the Municipal Code Section 16A -4 -410. Segrest replied that he had not. He noted that it was a broad statement which gives a large degree of flexibility to the acting Town Council. The applicant would need to present a compelling argument to the Council to demonstrate special circumstances that warranted a different approach to housing mitigation. Mordkin was more concerned about what studies were done to determine the job generation rate than he was about the applicant's options to appeal on the basis of special circumstances. He also requested more information concerning the applicant's option to offer cash contributions in lieu of constructing employee housing. He noted that this seemed to apply only to minor developments. Connor explained that under Terms Acceptable to the Town Council, the Code allowed for a determination by the Town Council of unique circumstances other than a minor development wherein the cash -in -lieu option might be appropriate. Staff, Council and the applicant discussed the current economic trend in relation to job generation estimates. The applicant asserted that the economy has had a negative impact on job generation. Councilman Purvis responded that, according to the R.R.C. study, in previous years it had been estimated that each Snowmass Village employee held 1.3 jobs on average while estimates in the current Code showed as few as 1.08 jobs per employee. Segrest explained that, in determining the current average, rates of multiple -job holding by category had been taken into account. Purvis acknowledged that current estimates of the average number of jobs per employee by category range from 1.07 to 1.53, including 1.07 for teachers, 1.08 for property management, real estate and lodging with an overall average of 1.21 jobs per employee demonstrating a significant decrease. Manchester noted that Segrest's assertion that "if the applicant had mitigated according to the Code from the time that development of the ski resort was begun the history of the village applicants would have had to contribute one million square feet of employee housing" represented 100% mitigation rather than the established maximum of 65 He added the applicant's housing mitigation to date accommodated between 20% (at 300,000 square feet) and 26% at (400,000 square feet) of total employees generated. He noted the discrepancy between the actual 26% and the ideal of 65 He pointed out that the Housing Office has a waiting list which fluctuates between 30 to 80 applicants eligible for employee housing in Snowmass Village and added that many eligible employees don't even bother to sign up because they're discouraged by the length of time they might have to wait for housing. He acknowledged that as the Roaring Fork Valley grows the Town's capacity to provide local businesses with locally- housed employees diminishes. He stated that more and more employees who live downvalley are taking jobs closer to home to avoid the commute. He asserted that it's important to keep as many employees in Snowmass Village as possible. Segrest noted that the changing work force may have an increasing desire to be part of communities that exist downvalley. Mordkin expressed the opinion that it was not a good idea to adjust mitigation numbers in order to accommodate one specific application. Mercatoris noted that a previous Council had already decreased the mitigation 09- 03 -02tc Page 5 of 8 requirement from 100% to 65% in order to lessen the burden for private- sector applicants. He asserted that employee housing creates socio- economic diversity, increases the number of year -round residents and contributes to a more vibrant sense of community. He advocated not changing the Code. Segrest pointed out that, subject to approval by the Town Council, mitigation housing locations are not required to be within the Town of Snowmass Village. Paul Shepherd from Intrawest stressed that the current applicant team is not representative of the typical applicant and should be given the opportunity to put together a report using R.R.C., i.e., the same consultant the Town had used, to demonstrate special circumstances and other differences. Mr. Shepherd explained that the team is specifically asking for special consideration in reference to residential aspects of the project and does not expect the Council to amend or significantly change the Municipal Code. The team would also like to use empirical data from other Intrawest resorts and development projects. Mayor Manchester replied that there is a very real number of full -time employees that the Base Village project will generate and that this number could be estimated in advance and /or measured upon completion of the project but that housing mitigation will be required. He posed the question, what would happen if the estimated number of jobs generated were significantly lower than the actual number? How would the applicant and Council remedy the situation? Shepherd responded that throughout future phases of the proposed long -term development, the Council could demand that housing mitigation requirements be adjusted to accommodate the actual job generation numbers before the applicant would be issued a permit for the next phase. He noted that Intrawest has had similar agreements with other communities where it has developed real estate and contributed to resort design. He cited Copper Mountain as an example. Don Schuster mentioned that the audit might not match the actual demand for housing. He asserted that the vast majority of employees generated from the residential units would be Hispanic. He added that even if the applicant built housing within the village that this group of people would not want to live here. In his opinion, "they want to live with family, around their churches...in a very cultural background and so forth." He explained that the employees Mayor Manchester referred to who are taking jobs downvalley were generally the full time and seasonal front desk or reservations employees as well as accountants and other skilled employees that function as support staff to the applicant. He stated that the need for housing as a result of employment generation in the particular job codes of Housekeeping, "Food- and Beverage, back -of- the house" and other jobs filled mostly by Hispanics would probably be less. He suggested that the applicant team could possibly provide additional information and data to support this assertion. Attorney Dave Bellack, representing the Aspen Skiing Company concluded that, assuming that 311,000 square feet of employee housing mitigation would equate to 676 units of employee housing, the applicant would never be able to maintain reasonable occupancy levels in the required number of units. Bill Kane clarified that the applicant's request at Sketch Plan had been for an opportunity for the applicant to put forth an alternative methodology. He reiterated that the applicant would like to use the same consultants, i.e., R.R.C. to compile comparable data and present it to the Council. He stated that the 09- 03 -02tc Page 6 of 8 current Code requirements contained multipliers for housing mitigation that were not reasonable, adding that the applicant had previously asserted to the Council that the regulations were onerous. He pointed out that a previous Council had explained that these "land -use processes seem to take on a negotiated character." He concluded that, in reference to the ski area impact, the applicant would like to estimate the ski area employment based on "real employment" i.e., real audits which would assess net gains in FTE's. He cited some examples of projects which, in his assessment, would not create new jobs. Councilman Mordkin commented that he had not heard anything significant which would warrant changing the Code. He asserted that the reason a Code like this exists is to establish uniformity. He pointed out that, if the Council accepted a low estimate from the applicant and later discovered that the real job generation had been significantly higher, there might not be land available to devote to adjusted housing mitigation requirements. He suggested that, if such an agreement were made, perhaps the applicant could be required to put up a bond as cash -in -lieu in case their estimate turned out to be inaccurate. Councilman Mercatoris stated that the applicant was welcome to submit its own numbers in terms of job generation with reference to residential aspects of the projects. He pointed out to Dave Bellack that whether or not the applicant was having trouble maintaining occupancy at The Commons, an Aspen Skiing Company seasonal housing facility, the Town was having no trouble maintaining occupancy in studios and one bedroom facilities because they represented the kind of housing that employees do want to live in. He noted that the current proposal involves doubling the commercial square footage in Snowmass Village and increasing the bed base by 50% and cautioned that this will create a significant number of new employees. Mercatoris expressed the opinion that the current Code is reasonable in its requirements and stated that he didn't think the Town would have any problem maintaining occupancy in its mitigation housing. Shepherd acknowledged that the application would create a significant impact but argued that much of the proposed development resembled a different category such as Condos rather than Multi- Family units and would not generate as much impact. The Town Manager clarified that the question before Council seemed to be, based on the preliminary information the applicant has given the Council today, are they willing to entertain the possibility of adjusting Housing Mitigation requirements to accommodate data submitted by the applicant? After some discussion the Council agreed to consider additional information from the applicant. Manchester pointed out that unless the applicant could convince the Council with a compelling argument to the contrary, it had been the Town's policy that any employee housing mitigation becomes part of the Town's Affordable Housing. He added that another important point to consider was that in past years the unit mix has been determined by the Town with consideration given to the existing inventory of affordable housing and the projected need. He noted that the Town has never considered seasonal housing desirable in terms of community interest. He stated that if Council and the applicant agreed that some seasonal units were appropriate perhaps the applicant could manage those units. He suggested that, with the possible exception of some seasonal housing, housing 09- 03 -02tc Page 7 of 8 mitigation units would most likely be deeded to the Town. Councilman Purvis asserted that the success of the Base Village project was critical to the success of the Town of Snowmass Village. He cautioned that neither the Council nor the applicant should lose sight of that goal. The discussion was then opened to the Public. Larry Dempsey explained that there has been a long- standing shortfall of employee housing that has driven downvalley development. He strongly recommended expanding opportunities to live and work in Snowmass Village. He asserted that if additional housing became available there would be additional employees interested in living here, regardless of their culture. He also suggested reducing the qualification requirements in order to increase demand. He argued that the current economic situation should not be a factor in reducing the housing mitigation requirement. Jack Hatfield noted that housing and build -out will impact the roads, especially Brush Creek Road. He nevertheless suggested that it would be inappropriate to reduce the housing mitigation requirements for the current applicant. He noted that Staff had done an excellent job in assessing areas available for development and opposed giving the applicant an opportunity to do an independent audit in order to arrive at reduced numbers of housing mitigation. Chris Conrad pointed out that the relevant text of Ordinance No. 09 of 1994 and other pertinent documents such as required condominium documents would be made available soon. He noted that the abovementioned documents would help determine the employee generation estimate. Mayor Manchester recommended an adequate review of all relevant documents before upcoming meetings. The Town Manager suggested a new survey initiated by the Staff to assess the type and quantity of housing needed to accommodate proposed development in the current application in terms of reducing downvalley traffic and keeping the desired number of employees within the community. Councilman Virtue commented that as long as the data was validated it could be useful. Segrest reiterated that accurate survey results could be helpful in determining what kind of housing would be appropriate. Mayor Manchester expressed the opinion that this discussion had been very productive and thanked the applicant team for its cooperation and patience. Paul Shepherd acknowledged that this was part of the process and thanked the Council for its efforts and time. Other Outstanding Issues Mayor Manchester noted that there would be a Public Meeting and Presentation in the Daly Room of the Snowmass Club on September 23, 2002. He postponed the discussion concerning Planning Commission recommendations. The Intrawest team summarized the concept of H.O.T. (high- occupancy- turnover) beds i.e., what constitutes a H.O.T. bed and how does it work within the hotel infrastructure. Team members noted that Intrawest tries to streamline the interface between the ski hill and the real estate. They contrasted a typical one bedroom hotel unit with a typical one bedroom multi family unit. The typical hotel unit of approximately 350 square feet emphasizes minimal time in the unit, minimal cooking facilities, maid service, a great resort attraction underpinned by 09- 03 -02tc Page 8 of 8 an intense marketing strategy to keep the bed reserved as much as possible. On the other hand, a typical one bedroom multi family unit is approximately 900 square feet with a large kitchen, living area, closets and storage and often a washer /dryer. Intrawest has tried to marry the two concepts. The H.O.T. unit is approximately 625 square feet, has a smaller kitchen, smaller closets, a balcony and other amenities in the room that make guests feel more at home. With the pull -out couch it's possible to sleep four people in the unit, translating to more guests utilizing Snowmass Village. Some units will even provide a small washer /dryer. They will be more like small condo units with hotel amenities. Schuster noted that the units are too small for long -term living but they're more comfortable than many hotel rooms. There will be a consolidated check -in facility. Mercatoris asked if Building 7 would be the main check -in facility. Schuster verified that this was the applicant's intention. Purvis asked about the net change in rental pillows. Conrad noted that the July 8 meeting packet would include the unit mix. Mordkin suggested a parking study at some time during the planning phase. Manchester reviewed the highlights of Intrawest's unit design, amenities package, ideal lengths of stay, increased flexibility for occupancy and rental agreements contingent upon S.E.C. approval and projected enhanced vitality of the village created by new commercial development and more guests. This portion of the Meeting was then opened to the Public for comment. Gary Suiter recommended additional publicity for future discussions involving critical mass and the potential demise of the Mall. Dave Spence asked about the size and number of two bedroom units. The Intrawest team provided a few details. Item No. 4 ADJOURNMENT There being no further business, Councilman Virtue made a motion to adjourn the Meeting, which was seconded by Mercatoris. The motion was approved by a vote of 5 in favor to 0 opposed, the Meeting adjourned at 10:55 a.m. The Minutes for this Meeting were approved at the October 7, 2002 Regular Town Council Meeting. Submitted By: &./3/-6J Rhonda B. Coxon, Deputy Town Clerk