March Mayor’s Minute

Mayor's Minute

Words by Dan Jansen / Mayor's Minute

Greetings neighbors,

I hope you are enjoying our spring-like conditions and getting the last few turns in. Your local government continued its efforts this past month, which I’ve outlined below.

February 16 Meeting Highlights

1 > Town Council approved a two-step Design Review Board (DRB) process to enable an initial higher level sketch review and then a more detailed final approval review as unanimously requested by the DRB.

2 > Town Council approved a set of suggested DRB changes to expand the design standards to allow for more contemporary mountain architecture in Mountain Village in a manner still consistent with the overall community.

3 > Town Council also worked on two important lighting issues in the community. The first included reducing the light emanating from St. Sophia Station on Coonskin Ridge. Second, Council approved a communications tower amendment for a FAA-required red beacon. This beacon will connect to an aircraft detection system, similar to what turns the runway lights on when a plane is approaching at night. Similarly, the red beacon will only activate when a plane is within three miles of approach. While nobody is advocating for more light pollution, the new tower is necessary to support emergency personnel and public safety, increase cell coverage, and provide stronger radio tower reception.

4 > Town Council had an extensive discussion of the ‘lawful presence’ requirements regarding Village Court Apartments (VCA), and the recent lapse in the town’s required enforcement of this rule. This is a difficult situation where previous VCA management enforcement of lawful presence lapsed and allowed non-legal residents to rent VCA units. Mountain Village’s federal and state grants, which total over $1.5 million, just in recent years require that lawful presence is proven. A recent review by the Department of Local Affairs issued a verbal warning that Mountain Village was out of compliance and must comply quickly or the town could lose future funding and/or potentially have to return the grant money received. Mountain Village staff is working with the affected residents to resolve the situation in as compassionate a way as possible.

5 > Town Council chose to retain the $5 million insurance requirements for open fire burns, though added the ability to grant waivers at Council’s discretion. This decision is in response to the Telluride Fire Festival that conducts “artistic burns” as part of its festival.

6 > Letters of support were offered for a regional composting facility and expansion of the San Miguel County jail, including a new dedicated detox facility.

7 > Town Council reviewed the Municipal Benchmarking Study. In the end, the consultant hired to conduct this study was not able to complete it per town’s direction (though his interim study is available on the town’s website). Since the analysis of making costs comparable between towns was incomplete, Council concluded that it would be cost prohibitive to finalize. I reached out to several other ski town mayors, and there is no appetite to participate in this study. Instead, Mountain Village will conduct a separate compensation and benefits study to see how this area of the town’s cost structure compares with other towns. I believe other ski towns will provide this information.

8 > Finally, the Town Hall Center Subarea Planning Committee has been hard at work coming up with some exciting options for enhanced services, better pedestrian and vehicle flows, and an aesthetic upgrade to this area. Special thanks to Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association and Telluride Ski & Golf Company for partnering with the town in this exciting work.

March 16 Agenda Highlights

This week Council continues its work with a full agenda.

1 > The Gondola Subcommittee Task Force will provide a preliminary report on their recent market research trip of world-class gondola and transit systems. The hope is that this information will inform Mountain Village’s long-range gondola strategic planning process.

2 > Town Council will receive an annual report from the Telluride Historical Museum and discuss the results regarding the Governmental Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Report in addition to exploring market-based solutions to reduce the town’s carbon footprint.

3 > Town Council will make several important appointments to the DRB, Grant Committee, Region 10 and the Multi-Cultural Advisory Council.

4 > As required, Town Council will hold a second public hearing and reading of previously approved changes to the design review process and design standards.

5 > Finally, routine land use matters and reports from Councilmembers and town staff will round out this month’s agenda.

As always, I hope you can join us whether in person, online or by providing your input in advance of the meeting.

Warm Regards,
Dan Jansen
Mountain Village Mayor