Mountain Village holds election June 30; four open Town Council seats and two ballot questions

Election

Words by Nichole Zangara / Election

The Town of Mountain Village will hold a Regular Municipal Election June 30 to elect four candidates. Hitting a record high, 13 candidates declared their candidacy for the upcoming election, and are listed on the ballot in this order: Dan Jansen, David Schillaci, Laila Benitez, Bruce MacIntire, Jonette Bronson, Dan R. Garner, John E. Howe, Jeffrey Fasolo, Dan Caton, Jonathan Greenspan, Suse Connolly, Brian Kanaga, Richard Child. The order of candidates was determined based on a draw by lot. To learn more about each candidate, visit https://townofmountainvillage.com/election.

In addition to electing four candidates, electors may vote on two ballot questions pertaining to Lot640A, site of the former Telluride Apartments. The first ballot question is a citizen-initiated ordinance which limits any increase in density on Lot 640A to 45 units. The second ordinance also pertains to density on Lot 640A and is Town Council-initiated. This ordinance limits density on the site to 60 units in addition to other requirements and limitations.

Ballots will be mailed to registered voters between June 8 and June 12, and may be returned either by mail or in person to Town Hall, located at 455 Mountain Village Blvd., by or before June 30; ballots postmarked June 30 will not be counted. On Election Day, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. A sample ballot is available online.

Mountain Village Town Council Candidate Forum

Wilkinson Public Library will host the Mountain Village Town Council Candidate Forum June 10 beginning at 4:45 p.m. in Mountain Village Town Hall. The format will include opening statements by each candidate and three questions pertinent to the election prepared by library staff. Each candidate will be given a specified amount of time to answer each question. To close the Forum, written questions from the audience may be asked by the moderator if time permits. The forum will be streamed live at townofmountainvillage.com/video and available to watch on-demand that same day.

Solar rebates available to Mountain Village residents and business owners who invest in renewable energy

Words by Nichole Zangara / Environment

In line with Mountain Village’s environmental ethos, the town is offering significant savings to those who install solar on their home or business. First launched in 2014, the Solar Energy Rebate Program awards those by offering a rebate of $0.40 per watt of power generated by solar. This is in addition to San Miguel Power Association (SMPA) current rebate of $0.75 per watt.

“Mountain Village wants to encourage its property owners to utilize renewable energy, and the town’s $0.40 per watt rebate along with the current federal tax credits and SMPA’s rebate of $0.75 per watt really improves the payback period for solar investments,” said Environmental Services Director Deanna Drew.

As for program rules, the town rebate applies to solar installations up to five kilowatts for residential properties and 10 kilowatts for commercial meters, which translates to a maximum rebate of $2,000 per meter for residents and $4,000 maximum rebate per meter for business owners. Residential and commercial owners may also receive a 30 percent federal tax credit. To get started, the town recommends contacting a Colorado solar professional or electrician to obtain a competitive bid.

“With the federal tax credit and SMPA rebates set to expire in 2016 and the recent sellout of the SMPA community solar array, now is the time in invest in solar on your home,” explained Drew.

In 2009, Mountain Village pledged to support Colorado Governor Ritter’s Climate Action Plan goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 20 percent by 2020. In 2014, the town government reduced its own GHG emissions 22 percent from 2010 levels. The town government measures greenhouse gases using the amount of fuel, electricity and natural gas consumed by government operations annually.

“This solar rebate program is another creative way that our government is encouraging the responsible use of natural resources throughout the community,” said Drew. “Once a home or business becomes as energy efficient as possible, we hope that folks will take the next step and offset their electricity from coal with cleaner, renewable sources of electricity.”

The Mountain Village Solar Energy Rebate Program, a $20,000 funded program, is part of the town’s overall energy reduction strategy.

Mountain Village hosts a regional, educational noxious weeds seminar; launches community weed control rebate program

Noxious Weeds

Words by Nichole Zangara / Environment

Controlling noxious weeds in the alpine environment of San Miguel County takes the entire community’s support and due diligence. To educate the populous on this issue, the Town of Mountain Village is hosting the San Juan Green Living Noxious Weeds Seminar June 5 beginning at 10 a.m. in Mountain Village Town Hall. This informative and educational event will provide San Miguel County property owners and landscaping professionals the opportunity to learn how to identify weeds, why to control weeds, best practices for treating weeds, and how Mountain Village is incentivizing its residents to manage weeds on their property.

“Last Fall Town Council asked staff to step up the enforcement of noxious weed control in the community,” said Environmental Services Director Deanna Drew. “Our 2015 program will include education and incentives for our property owners to control noxious weeds effectively, efficiently and according to the State of Colorado, San Miguel County and Town of Mountain Village regulations.”

The two-hour seminar will stream live at townofmountainvillage.com/video.

Community Weed Control Rebate Program

For 2015, the Town of Mountain Village was awarded a $10,000 grant from Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Noxious Weed Management Fund to implement a rebate program incentivizing Mountain Village residential property owners to manage noxious weeds on their properties. Residents who hire a certified and licensed applicator to treat noxious weeds on their property may be reimbursed 25 percent of their total bill, up to a maximum rebate amount of $250 per property. Funds are limited, so rebates will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. To receive a rebate, one must complete and submit a rebate application form that verifies the applicator’s license number and proof of payment.

In addition, for the 2015 weed season Mountain Village has hired Kenny Smith of Premier Weed Management, a qualified and licensed noxious weed control specialist, to assist with the treatment of weeds on residential properties in June and September. If a resident would like Smith’s assistance, they will need to complete and submit a consent form to the town. For added convenience, the town will apply the Community Weed Control Rebate to the cost of Smith’s services and invoice the resident directly.

“All property owners should know that commercial weed control applicators must be trained and licensed by the State of Colorado so that they are applying herbicide in a way that is both effective and least harmful to the environment,” explained Drew. “Our contractor is licensed and very experienced in high altitude weed management throughout the region.”

For more information about the San Juan Green Living Noxious Weeds Seminar and the Community Weed Control Rebate Program, contact Environmental Services Director Deanna Drew at ddrew@mtnvillage.org or 970.369.8236.

Overall energy consumption down in Mountain Village

Solar Energy Rebate Program

Words by Nichole Zangara / Environment

The Town of Mountain Village took a no-holds-barred approach to reducing its energy use in 2014, and it paid off. This same approach continues into 2015.

“Mountain Village made significant capital investments for energy efficiency projects in 2014, and staff intends to continue to monitor energy consumption throughout 2015 to get a more thorough understanding of the effects of our efforts,” said the town’s Environmental Services Director Deanna Drew. “When efficiency projects are complete, next we will consider implementing more renewable energy projects to further reduce our emissions.”

In 2009 the Town of Mountain Village with the Town of Telluride and San Miguel County adopted a resolution to mirror the State of Colorado’s Climate Action Plan of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by the year 2020. Using 2010 as the baseline year for achieving this goal, Mountain Village calculates greenhouse gas emissions by converting total electricity, natural gas, and fuel consumed by government operations to carbon dioxide, a primary greenhouse gas.

“Overall, we are experiencing a downward trend in electricity, natural gas and fuel consumption through most Mountain Village departments. We can attribute this to employee awareness, capital investment and a focus on energy efficiency projects during 2014,” explained Drew.

Energy Reduction Highlights

Following is a list of 2014 and 2015 energy reduction statistics, projects and programs lead by Mountain Village in order to reduce energy consumption.

  • In 2014 carbon dioxide emissions were reduced eight percent from 2013 levels, 13 percent from a six-year average, and 22 percent from 2010 baseline emission levels.
  • Mountain Village community’s electricity use was down five percent in 2014 based on 2010 energy use totals and down four percent based on a five-year average.
  • The Gondola Parking Garage LED project is showing the greatest energy savings of all facilities, with a 45 percent reduction from 2013 totals and 33 percent reduction over a five-year average.
  • Every inefficient light bulb in the gondola terminals will be replaced with LEDs this spring thanks in part to a San Miguel County grant that will cover nearly half of the cost of the project.
  • Solar panels purchased through Green Gondola Project donations and installed on gondola terminals have offset approximately two percent of the gondola’s total electricity use. The town intends to install more solar panels on gondola terminals in 2015.
  • In 2014, the town earmarked $300,000 for energy efficiency projects on town facilities based on energy audits and recommendations provided by energy consultants. Of the $300,000, $200,000 was rolled over into 2015, primarily to complete the efficiency projects at Village Court Apartments (VCA), Telluride Conference Center, and Heritage Parking Garage.
  • VCA staff has engaged an energy consultant to provide analysis to prove if conversion of the apartment complex to natural gas is economically feasible. If not, further analysis will include recommendations for efficiency measures to reduce electricity consumption in the units, such as programmable thermostats with thresholds for electricity use.
  • The town’s maintenance staff is working with an energy consultant to analyze potential efficiencies in plaza snowmelt systems and make recommendations for improvements in 2015.
  • The town is considering a new renewable energy project which entails installing solar panels on the town’s maintenance shop. Doing so may offset 100 percent of the energy used in this facility.
  • The town offered its community members three energy reduction incentive programs in 2014: Relight Mountain Village, community solar panel discounts, and rebates for on-site solar. These three programs are available to the community again in 2015.
  • The Mountain Village community is currently generating approximately 77,647 kilowatts per hour of rooftop solar energy (about 216 panels); purchased 193,058 kilowatts per hour (505 panels) of renewable energy at the community solar array in Paradox Valley; and purchased 22,316 Green Blocks (100 kilowatts per hour per block) of renewable energy from San Miguel Power Association in 2014.

SBDC expands into San Miguel County, offers free access to business consultants

Business Development

Words by Nichole Zangara / Business Development

Due to an increase in demand and support from the Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA), an initiative of the Telluride Foundation, and the towns of Mountain Village and Telluride, the West Central Region 10 Small Business Development Center (SBDC) satellite office is expanding to include San Miguel County and Ouray County.

According to Region 10’s Small Business Resource Director Vince Fandel, the West Central SBDC program has been building slowly over the past year with robust programs in Montrose and Delta counties. After receiving requests from TVA and the Town of Mountain Village to expand its program to include San Miguel County, Fandel contacted the state’s SBDC office and the SBDC’s host, Western State Colorado University, requesting a full satellite expansion.

To celebrate the expansion, the SBDC is hosting a grand opening of the satellite office March 31 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Region 10 office, located at 300 N. Cascade in Montrose. Representatives from the state SBDC office, Western State Colorado University, and other community members will be available to answer questions.

A popular and invaluable service offered by the SBDC is free access to one-on-one business consulting and no to low-cost business training. According to Fandel, several consultants who live in the region have been screened, are in the certification process, and will be able to specifically serve the area’s entrepreneurs. Local companies will also have access to other consultants certified throughout the state. To access services, San Miguel County business owners register online and will be paired with a consultant to discuss in confidential meetings an array of topics like business planning, valuation, accessing capital, financial reports and analysis, just to name a few. Qualifications to become a consultant vary depending upon the individual’s expertise.

“With the start of TVA, more and more entrepreneurs and small businesses owners have emerged and requested access to mentors and advisors to help them grow their business,” explained TVA Director Thea Chase. “SBDC is a national resource that has provided this assistance for over 40 years, but until now service to our community was limited. We are excited to work with Region 10 and the Town of Mountain Village to build a robust network of consultants to help our local business community and entrepreneurs start and grow successful companies in the region.”

To attend the SBDC grand opening, RSVP online or at 970.249.2436, and for more information about the SBDC, visit, region10.net/smallbusiness.

Task Force to review initial medical center site plans at a two-day design charrette session

Telluride Medical Center

Words by Nichole Zangara / Development

The Town of Mountain Village is hosting two design charrette sessions to evaluate the initial site plans for the new regional medical center development project. The Telluride Hospital District (THD) Board is proposing to build a 25,000-square-foot medical facility between Mountain Village Town Hall and the Gondola Parking Garage. If financially feasible, this facility may include a second floor, which could house allied health offices in the short-term and serve as an expanded medical center in the long-term. Town Council unanimously agreed to convey roughly a one-acre parcel to the THD in January at di minimis cost. According to Mountain Village Mayor Dan Jansen, the town is excited that the process can shift from site selection to more critical issues.

“While the site selection step was important, the process is now moving into the critical issues of developing the best medical facility, doing so in a fiscally responsible manner, and providing a broader range of services quickly for our communities,” Jansen said.

The proposed medical center is envisioned in the Mountain Village Comprehensive Plan, and due to its location – it falls within the Town Hall Center Subarea Plan – THD representatives will present site-specific development plans to the Town Hall Center Subarea Task Force and members of the public March 31 and April 1.

“The Task Force was created as a condition when the town rezoned several properties within the Town Hall Center Subarea to civic uses. A medical center falls under civic use,” Hawkins explained. “The main responsibility of the Task Force is to review site-specific plans within this subarea in order to ensure that all concerns voiced by surrounding neighbors are considered prior to formal review. During the medical center design charrette sessions, the THD’s architectural firm, Mahlum Architects, will present initial site plans for purposes of obtaining input from the Task Force. Subsequently, the Task Force will provide a non-binding recommendation to the Design Review Board and Town Council.”

The Task Force was formed by way of Town Council appointment in January, and is comprised of four homeowner association representatives from surrounding developments, one Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association Board member, one Town of Mountain Village representative, one Comprehensive Plan Task Force member, and two at large community members. This will be the third time the Task Force will convene formally. This past month the Task Force reviewed The Lofts at Mountain Village development proposal.

Both design charrette sessions will be take place in the conference room in Mountain Village Town Hall on March 31 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and April 1 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The public is invited to attend these meetings in person or watch online at townofmountainvillage.com/video.

Mountain Village celebrates 20 years

Mountain Village Turns 20

Words by Nichole Zangara / Event

Mountain Village has a reason to celebrate: the town turns 20 March 10. Incorporated on this date in 1995, Mountain Village became a home rule municipality, hired staff, and held its first Town Council meeting 19 days later. To commemorate this special day, past and present town officials, staff and community members will gather and share memories of the last 20 years.

“Mountain Village is truly a unique place to live, whether it is our open and spacious setting, one-of-a-kind gondola transit system, unmatched recreational amenities, or even the rare ability for our second homeowners to fully engage in the community by voting in local matters, there truly is no other place quite like our community, and the future looks even brighter,” said Mayor Dan Jansen.

Twenty Years of Mountain Village

March 10, 1995
Incorporated on this date 20 years ago, Mountain Village formally becomes a home rule municipality.

March 1995
Mountain Village hires 10 very special employees; 20 years later they continue to work for the town.

March 29, 1995
Town Council calls its first meeting to order. On the agenda: appointment of offices and departments.

June 25, 1996
The Town of Mountain Village holds its first election with 43 residents and 92 non-residents casting their vote. Since its incorporation, seven mayors have served the electorate.

1996
Mountain Munchkins is a welcomed addition to Mountain Village, and currently offers childcare to 51 families in the region.

December 20, 1996
The gondola opens on this date, becoming the first and only free transportation of its kind in the United States. Almost 20 years later, it is the top rated tourist attraction

July 1999
The town officially opens the doors to the 31,000-square-foot Telluride Conference Center. Today it is still owned by the town, though operated by Telluride Ski & Golf Company.

December 1, 2001
The town accepts deposits for Village Court Apartments Phase II rental units, which includes 90 additional apartments. In all, there are 222 units at VCA, and more affordable housing is envisioned in the Comprehensive Plan.

December 2001
The ski area expands to include an additional 733 acres of skiable terrain accessible by way of ski lift.

2002
Mountain Village joins the World Wide Web at townofmountainvillage.com. In 2015 Mountain Village will launch a new responsive website so it can be easily viewed on any device.

July 2006
Busting at the office space seams, employees move into Mountain Village Town Hall with The Market at Mountain Village as its neighbor. It took just over a year to build Town Hall.

January 1, 2007
From 1995 to 2007, the Mountain Village Metropolitan District provided municipal services like transportation and water. Since this is a typical function of local government, the town gradually took over these services and Metro District formally dissolved. During this same year the town separates from the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association.

July 22, 2008
Mountain Village kicks off its comprehensive planning process.

September 14, 2009
The Mountain Village Bike Park opens with over 1,000 feet of vertical drop, about 30 berms, and multiple jumps. Today the town continues to make improvements to the park and its entire summer trail system.

October 12, 2009
With demand growing, Mountain Munchkins expands its operations to include 14 preschool-aged children.

June 16, 2011
After a three-year process and 51 public meetings, the Mountain Village Comprehensive Plan is adopted unanimously by Town Council. This guiding document embodies the community’s short and long-term visions for Mountain Village.

January 1, 2012
Mountain Village creates its first department focused on the environment. To date, the town has placed 41 wetlands – or 55 acres – in conservation easements. Also, 375 native mountain bluebirds fledge in nest boxes on the golf course, calling Mountain Village home.

Fall 2012
A critical step in developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem, the Telluride Venture Accelerator opens for business in Mountain Village, attracting over 15 companies and 80 mentors who work on a broad array of cool new products and services.

August 2013
Mountain Village offers its customers 33 percent faster Internet speeds – from 6 MBPS for an individual customer to 20 MBPS – making Mountain Village the best option for Internet service. In 2015 the town will acquire 10 times more capacity, allowing the municipality to offer faster and more reliable service.

March 10, 2015
Mountain Village turns 20!

The developer of The Lofts At Mountain Village presents its initial site plans at a two-day design charrette session

The Lofts At Mountain Village

Words by Nichole Zangara / Housing

The Town of Mountain Village is hosting two design charrette sessions in early March to evaluate the initial site plans for The Lofts at Mountain Village development project. The Lofts developer, Belem Properties Co. LLC, is proposing to build a 43- to 45-multifamily unit professional workforce housing project on the north and east sides of the Gondola Parking Garage. Over the last year the demand for workforce housing has increased exponentially. According to Mountain Village Mayor Dan Jansen, Town Council has moved quickly in response to urgent requests from numerous local businesses to help solve a housing issue.

“The town believes that maintaining a high level of service is critical to our community and it is in the best interests of our residents, businesses and overall economy, but to do so you need quality employees and those employees need a place to live.”

The proposed housing project is envisioned in the Mountain Village Comprehensive Plan, and due to its location – it falls within the Town Hall Center Subarea Plan – Belem representatives will present site-specific development plans to the Town Hall Center Subarea Task Force and members of the public March 3 and March 4.

“The Task Force was created as a condition when the town rezoned several properties within the Town Hall Center Subarea to civic uses. Workforce housing falls under civic use,” Hawkins explained. “The main responsibility of the Task Force is to review site-specific plans within this subarea in order to ensure that all concerns voiced by surrounding neighbors are considered prior to formal review. During The Lofts design charrette sessions, Belem will present initial site plans for purposes of obtaining input from the Task Force. Subsequently, the Task Force will provide a non-binding recommendation to the Design Review Board and Town Council.”

The Task Force was formed by way of Town Council appointment in January, and is comprised of four homeowner association representatives from surrounding developments, one Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association Board member, one Town of Mountain Village representative, one Comprehensive Plan Task Force member, and two at large community members. This will be the first time the Task Force will convene formally.

Both design charrette sessions will be take place in the conference room in Mountain Village Town Hall on March 3 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and March 4 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The public is invited to attend these meetings in person or watch online at townofmountainvillage.com/video. To learn more about this project and the Task Force, visit townofmountainvillage.com.

Mountain Village relaunches its LED instant rebate program after much success in 2014

Words by Nichole Zangara / Environment

It’s lights out on the traditional light bulb for the Rocky Mountain town of Mountain Village. Mountain Village announced today that it is offering its residents and business owners yet another opportunity to save money and energy by switching from inefficient light bulbs to new light-emitting diode technology (LEDs). In partnership with San Miguel Power Association (SMPA) and Cooperative Business Lighting Partners, the program Relight Mountain Village provides instant rebates and exclusive offers to those who purchase LEDs at greenlivingtown.com. The online order period begins March 1 and will run until midnight April 5. Program participants can expect to save up to 75 percent for each LED bulb they purchase.

“Based on the excellent response from the community in 2014 we are launching the program again in 2015 with even more opportunity for the large commercial sector,” stated Environmental Services Director Deanna Drew. “More importantly, this effort is engaging the community while making more people conscious about their energy use. As a bonus, the success of this program has encouraged other communities to follow suit and create their own LED incentive program, including Telluride and San Miguel County.”

In an effort to reduce waste, bulbs will be delivered in bulk and available for pickup at Town Hall Plaza. Customers will be contacted via email regarding the specific date and time for this pickup event.

As for program rules, participants are limited to 50 common LEDs 300 lumens or greater. This limitation ensures that everyone has the opportunity to change the environmental landscape and their monthly electricity bill for the better. Other types of bulbs such as tube lighting and bulbs less than 300 lumens have different rebate guidelines and amounts, which will be automatically calculated during the online ordering process.

Once LED bulbs are installed Drew suggests placing any unwanted incandescent light bulbs in the trash, but warns that fluorescent tubes and compact florescent bulbs contain mercury, a hazardous material that must be properly recycled or disposed of according to San Miguel County guidelines. For more details, visit lamptracker.com. One can also sell or donate their old bulbs and fixtures that still work.

Bight Lights, Big Profits

In 2014, all told, 94 residents and 27 business owners purchased over 4,800 LED bulbs through the Relight Mountain Village program. This translated to a four-month average pay back period and total annual energy cost savings of $71,362. The most popular LEDs purchased were can lights, standard bulbs, and dimmable table lamps and track lighting. Moreover, of the town’s $20,000 Relight Mountain Village rebate fund, $18,214 was applied at time of bulb purchase in addition to about $35,000 from the San Miguel Power Association rebate program.

Changing Landscape

Over the past few years the cost of LEDs has been steadily dropping while making immense gains in energy efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting accounts for about 10 percent of a home’s electricity use. Since LEDs typically use 75- to 80-percent less energy than the traditional varieties, upgrading one’s lighting source is a step in the right direction, and most of the newer bulbs sold in the U.S. have longer life spans – more than 20 years – so a continual savings is realized well into the future. Moreover, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there are three billion incandescent bulbs currently in use. In other words, American households could collectively save $6 billion on energy costs in 2015 alone by making the switch to more energy-efficient lighting.

“Results of switching to an energy-efficient light source like an LED are promising,” said SMPA Accounts Executive Ken Haynes. “For instance, if you were to replace 50 60-watt bulbs in your home that run an average of three hours each day, you have the opportunity to save about $30 each month on your electricity bill. It is because of this that we decided to expand our relationship with Mountain Village and collaborate with them. With our shared commitment to developing programs that work for our members, Relight Mountain Village truly is a win-win for those who participate.”

Mountain Village Mayor Dan Jansen couldn’t agree more.

“Earmarking funds for the energy reduction program Relight Mountain Village show not only the local government’s long-term commitment to being part of the solution, but also the commitment of our residents, business owners and electric power cooperative.”

Relight Mountain Village, a $20,000 funded program, is part of the town’s energy reduction strategy.

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