Mayor's Minute: October 2021

Hello Neighbors,

Mountain Village received its first major snowfall last week, which always brings mixed emotions. That first snow solidifies for us that another fabulous summer has come to a close, but that same snow also brings the hope that many bottomless powder days may soon be on the way.

The Town is in a similar period of mixed emotions. After seventeen years with the Town, Kim Montgomery has stepped down as Mountain Village Town Manager. Kim left her mark on many initiatives that have shaped Mountain Village. Kim oversaw the implementation of the original Comprehensive Plan, instituted policies to improve the gondola while working with regional partners, and she shepherded the Town through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. More important, she assembled an excellent staff who worked tirelessly for her and for the community, and who will miss her dearly.

Town Council has appointed Town Attorney Paul Wisor to serve as the Interim Town Manager. Paul joined the Town in the fall of 2020 and we are excited to have him step into this role. While Kim’s departure is certainly a loss for the Town, the Town has many exciting initiatives on the horizon, some of which are discussed below.

Potential Community Housing Opportunity in Norwood

Mountain Village Town Council and staff have dedicated significant time and effort in 2021 to address the affordable housing crisis facing the Telluride region – a crisis that is ubiquitous throughout ski communities across the country. In speaking with housing experts, and from the Town’s own experience, it is clear no single policy or program will solve our housing crunch. As a result, the Town is taking big steps, such as the construction of Phase IV of Village Court Apartments, as well as small steps, like amending the Community Development Code to give priority to deed-restricted developments, to mitigate the impact of the lack of workforce housing has on the Mountain Village community.

The Town’s next effort to create more community housing is another big step. The Town is currently under contract to purchase a 37-acre parcel located just outside of Norwood. This acquisition is currently in its due diligence period, but we envision the creation of a public-private partnership that will finance and construct affordable, and primarily, single-family homes. These deed-restricted homes will ultimately be occupied by individuals working for businesses located within Mountain Village, as well as for the Town and other non-profit entities.

Comprehensive Plan Amendments

On Thursday, October 14, Town Council and the Design Review Board held a joint meeting to review a draft of amendments to the Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan). The Town has been working with MIG and EPS to amend the Comp Plan so that it reflects the economic realities of Mountain Village’s tourism-based economy, and so the document can better provide future town councils, property owners, and community members solid, yet flexible, guidance to inform and support the critical decisions they will face in years to come.

Members of Town Council and DRB provided useful comments and feedback to our or consultants. The Comp Plan amendments will be subject to a three-week comment period starting October 28, in which the public may provide their input on the proposed amendments. Comments can be submitted here, and the comment period runs through November 18. Town staff and its consultants, MIG and EPS, will evaluate these comments and bring a revised draft for Council to adopt on December 9.

The Comp Plan is a vital community tool. The Town encourages residents and business owners to voice their opinion so the Comp Plan can truly represent the community’s vision for the future of Mountain Village.

Town Council Meeting

Town Council will conduct its next regular meeting on Thursday, October 21. The agenda includes several items that may be of particular interest to the public:

  • Town-Owned Properties Plan – John Miller, the Town’s Community Housing Program Director, has assembled a Town-Owned Properties Plan. This plan identifies all the undeveloped property owned by the Town and sets forth a vision for how each parcel could be utilized in the future. Council will discuss the plan in a work session and no action will be taken. However, the plan represents another step in the Town’s Community Housing Initiative.
  • Telluride Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant– Representatives from the Town of Telluride will be presenting on the future of the Telluride Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (TRWTP). Although not typically at the forefront of our minds, the TRWTP is one of the most critical pieces of regional infrastructure, and the TRWTP will soon require critical near-term and long-term capital investment and overhaul. The presentation should give residents an overview of these challenges.
  • Gondola Long Range Planning Update – The Telluride region has benefitted from the operation of the Gondola since 1996. The gondola is owned and operated by the Town, with operation funding coming from TMVOA, grants and a 1% fee of TSG lift ticket sales. At the end of 2027, the agreement that governs these operational and funding obligations will expire. TMVOA will be presenting on the critical regional efforts to address the sustainable future of the gondola beyond 2027.

To learn more about attending the meeting either in person or virtually, please visit our website.

Gondola Reopening

Speaking of the gondola, as is traditionally the case, the gondola is shut down for some well-deserved maintenance. The gondola will resume operations on Friday, November 19. San Miguel Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) is now operating the free bus service between Mountain Village and Telluride during the gondola's maintenance.

Coffee With the Interim Manager

If you have something on your mind that you would like to discuss with our Interim Town Manager Paul Wisor, or you just want to learn more about what is going on with the Town, please stop by our new event, Coffee with the Manager, which will be held every month. The first one will take place at 11 a.m. on October 27 at the Telluride Coffee Company.

Enjoy the fall!

Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

Paul Wisor
Interim Town Manager

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