Garfield County discussions of Sunlight Mountain Resort development continue tonight |

Garfield County discussions of Sunlight Mountain Resort development continue tonight

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colorado ” The survival and redevelopment of Sunlight Mountain Resort will continue being discussed in a County Planning Commission hearing tonight.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Garfield County commission meeting chambers. Last week, the hearing began with a discussion about a request to change the county’s comprehensive plan for the area around Sunlight from recreation and low density residential designations to entirely recreation.

The Planning Commission would have to vote to make the switch before it could hear Sunlight’s planned unit development (PUD) application.

People packed the commission meeting chambers last Wednesday to observe the discussion or to make comments. County Building and Planning Director Fred Jarman said, “I haven’t seen that room that full for a long time, so I think people on either side of the issue, they’re interested in this and want to track it.”

Last week’s meeting ended well after 10 p.m. when people were still offering public comments on the proposal. The planning commission decided to continue the hearing tonight.

The resort entered a contract in late 2006 for sale to Florida-based Exquisite Development. The deal is contingent on winning county approvals for development. The sale price is confidential, but the resort went up for sale asking for $50 million.

The PUD application includes 830 residential units with three villages connected by gondola and 110,000 square feet of commercial space. Of the residential units, 50 would go for employee housing.

Sunlight says it must undergo the development to survive and fund on-mountain improvements like new lifts, more terrain, a mountain-top restaurant and increased snowmaking. Sunlight Inc. president Richard Schafstall said Sunlight operated at almost a $1 million loss over the last 11 years, and the area’s shareholders have never received a dividend from any profits.

County staff and the city of Glenwood Springs have recommended denying the development proposal for concerns about incompatibility with surrounding low density zoning, impacts like traffic, housing and public safety. There are also concerns over slope constraints, soil instability, road conditions and distance from urban services.

The developers and potential owners reportedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and over 18 months working on the application.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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