June Mayor’s Minute

Mayor's Minute

Words by Dan Jansen / Mayor's Minute

Dear neighbors,

I hope you are enjoying the arrival of summer; it’s great to see many of our second homeowners coming home to Mountain Village.

Our town remains very busy. Last month we received an update from the Telluride Tourism Board and Colorado Flights Alliance showing great results in terms of our destination and air service (e.g. Mountain Village had the highest three-year growth rate in sales tax revenue of any town in the Colorado Association of Ski Towns). In addition, we launched the wayfinding project that will help all of us, including our visitors and guests, navigate our town more easily. There will be extensive public engagement for this project, so please think about participating in wayfinding stakeholder meetings.

Last month, we also received and approved a request to partially fund the Ideas Festival, which will focus on creating new and more regional workforce housing solutions. In that same vein, we considered a term sheet from the developers of Lot 640A, formerly Telluride Apartments and located in the Meadows, where the town would own a park that would sit next to the privately-funded and owned potential workforce housing project. Council was supportive of creating the park and incentivizing the creation of more workforce housing in a public-private-partnership. Continuing, we finalized an agreement with TMVOA and Telluride Ski & Golf Company to share costs on the maintenance and upkeep of the Gondola Plaza in Mountain Village Center. We also evaluated the potential to add back-up power generation to Town Hall and town shops so that in the event of a future power outage, we will have emergency locations for the town with power, food (i.e. keep The Market at Mountain Village running), and fuels (available from the town shops). Responding to some resident concerns, we also discussed potential changes in the town’s Community Development Code to further limit single-family lot subdivisions. Further limitations on the ability to sub-divide single-family lots were discussed, and we received public comment. In turn, we directed staff to present a proposal for us to consider at the worksession this Thursday.

This month the activity keeps coming. We will have a public discussion about creating the San Miguel Authority for Regional Transit (SMART) and look for public input on the Intergovernmental Agreement we have drafted with the Town of Telluride and San Miguel County that would allow for the formation of SMART. There will be a brief informational update on the Town Hall Center Subarea planning process. Continuing our discussion from the last meeting, there will be a public hearing on some potential changes to the Community Development Code addressing concerns raised by some residents on the ability to subdivide single-family lots. Finally, in addition to our usual routine land use matters and staff updates, we will consider a term sheet offered by the developers of Lot 640A (formerly Telluride Apartments) that could entail a town park and workforce housing for up to 45 units.

As always, we hope you will be able to join us for our meeting this Thursday and/or provide comments to us in advance.

Warm Regards,
Dan Jansen
Mountain Village Mayor

P.S. Telluride Ski & Golf Company will be sealing the Gondola Plaza deck beginning this week. Please pardon the dust, noise and inconvenience. We understand the timing is not ideal, but due to late snowfall and rain the project had to be delayed until a prolonged period of warm, dry weather was in the forecast.

May Mayor’s Minute

Mayor's Minute

Words by Dan Jansen / Mayor's Minute

Dear neighbors,

I suspect those of you in town are like me: done with all of this snow! Summer is almost here.

That said, your local government continues to work hard on your behalf. Last month, we approved, on first reading with a second reading scheduled for May 19, a franchise agreement with Crown & Castle to install a DAS solution (dispersed antenna system) in Mountain Village to improve the function of our cell network (target go-live date of Fall 2017). We had a deep dive into our energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions with three reports by our environmental services director and from EcoAction Partners. In what sounds like bad news, the reports show that we have increased our generation of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) this last year, moving us away from an already achieved town goal of reducing GHG 20 percent from 2010 levels at government-owned facilities. That said, this is somewhat misleading as the increase was driven by a higher “emissions factor” used to estimate the GHG driven by Tri-State’s energy mix as passed through San Miguel Power Association (SMPA). In short, dirtier electricity was generated this year versus prior years as Colorado still relies more heavily on coal than many other states. Regardless of where you sit on these issues, we have no ability to impact the source energy mix. That said, Tri-State is projecting an improvement next year given more use of natural gas in their system. Apologies for all of that detail, but I want everyone to understand the realities beneath the headlines. The good news is that actual energy usage and costs are down over seven percent versus our baseline year of 2010. SMPA also detailed an income-qualified program to help homeowners reduce energy consumption through more solar and better weatherization. Town Council is discussing whether to create a similar program where we incent all property owners, regardless of income level, to make their homes more energy efficient. Please share your thoughts on this.

In response to resident concerns, we also passed a temporary moratorium prohibiting new applications for the subdividing of single-family lots so that we can review the existing rules and share more information. Future meetings will discuss data gathered from other resort towns, and we can decide whether we want to change our approach (which has always allowed for these subdivisions, though very few have ever been approved). We also had a goal setting discussion for the 2017 budget process, which is actually starting now.

This week we have another packed agenda. The three governments met again to progress the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), which included a review of the polling conducted across the community to see where our residents are on the idea of forming an RTA. We also had an intergovernmental meeting on the topics of climate change and local community strategies. Both meetings illustrate the deepening engagement and coordination between the towns and the county on issues facing our region.

Mountain Village Town Council will consider many important issues later this week, in addition to our usual array of routine land use matters, staff and Town Council reports. We will kick off our wayfinding efforts with the intent to make navigating our town easier. The town has received a term sheet from the owners of Lot 640A where the town is considering buying a portion of the property to build a park in the Meadows neighborhood. We will also get a staff report on the topic of single-family lot subdivisions focusing on how similar towns handle these matters. Other reports include an update on the Gay Ski Week event and how it performed during this transition year to local, private oversight. Perhaps in a related discussion, we will review the role that the town could or may play in developing and/or managing special events.

As always, we hope you can attend or watch the meeting online. If not, please share your thoughts in whatever way you are most comfortable.

Warm Regards,
Dan Jansen
Mountain Village Mayor

Temporary moratorium on subdividing single-family lots passes

Planning Applications

Words by Nichole Zangara / Development

Mountain Village Town Council passed an emergency ordinance imposing a temporary moratorium at its April meeting which prohibits any applicant who wants to add additional lots and transfer additional density on lots zoned single-family residential pursuant to Section 17.3.4(F)(4) of the Community Development Code. With one absent, five of the six councilmembers voted in favor of the moratorium, which went into effect immediately and is set to expire August 1, 2016.

In recent months, Mountain Village residents and property owners have expressed their concern about a land use law that gives any property owner the ability to subdivide single-family lots within town limits. Due to the volume at which concerns were expressed, Town Council voted to pass the moratorium so they could, as elected officials, engage in conversations with constituents and understand their concerns without the possibility of an application being submitted. A pending application limits Town Council’s ability to discuss any relative issues regarding an application since councilmembers are not allowed to have any ex-parte communications.

According to town officials, the temporary moratorium does not prohibit one from submitting a minor subdivision application, such as lot line vacation and lot line adjustments, a PUD application on lots zoned anything other than single-family residential, or any other development application which is permissible pursuant to the Community Development Code. Moreover, the moratorium does not determine the outcome of Town Council’s deliberations into the issues raised by residents and property owners. It simply gives Council the ability to educate, listen and make an informed decision.

The concerns raised by residents and property owners stem from a 2015 amendment to the Community Development Code related to Section 17.3.4(F)(4), in which the amendment itself didn’t give the ability to subdivide single-family lots, but rather clarified the previous language and refined the process required to accomplish such a subdivision. Therefore, Town Council will examine this language along with previous language in both the Community Development Code and its predecessor, the Land Use Ordinance, which also allowed for the subdivision of single-family lots, along with surveying other similarly situated communities during the period afforded by the moratorium.

April Mayor’s Minute

Mayor's Minute

Words by Dan Jansen / Mayor's Minute

Dear neighbors,

I hope you have successfully transitioned into the shoulder season and are thinking about what the Spring will bring to our lovely town (hopefully less snow).

Despite the slowing level of activity, town government continues its work. Last month Town Council received a report from the San Miguel Power Association about the “Telluride Reliability Project” that will add redundancy for electrical services in the event of a blackout similar to the February event. The project will start this Fall and hopefully be completed next summer (potential issues involve permitting from San Miguel County and the Forest Service). We will also schedule a worksession on other actions we should take in a future outage (e.g. phone charging stations, gas distribution, signage and communications). We also had a deep dive into fire risk throughout Mountain Village. First the West Region Wildfire Council discussed fire risk by region and parcel, then we reviewed current regulations, and finally introduced an incentive program for each home to create defensible space around their property. We heard an update from the Telluride Historical Museum including a focused discussion on their plan to reduce their deficit. Council considered a draft of a Regional Transportation Authority Intergovernmental Agreement (RTA IGA) and brainstormed ways to increase engagement in our upcoming gondola study in partnership with TMVOA, Town of Telluride, San Miguel County and Telluride Ski & Golf Company. Finally, in addition to the usual land use matters and staff reports, we discussed a potential new grant process to manage Mountain Village’s support of regional organizations.

This month, another full agenda awaits us. The town has heard some concerns from residents about the ability to sub-divide single-family lots and will conduct a worksession to share information and consider a temporary moratorium on such actions. We will receive an update on the wayfinding proposal and scope of work, regional greenhouse gas inventories, and EcoAction Partners energy programs. In addition, we will have a first reading of an ordinance approving a franchise agreement for the installation of a dispersed antenna network intended to improve cell coverage. Finally, we will have our usual array of routine land use matters, staff updates and Council reports.

I hope you will be able to join us for the meeting this Thursday, either online or in-person; if not, please be sure to provide your input in advance.

Warm Regards,
Dan Jansen
Mountain Village Mayor

March Mayor’s Minute

Mayor's Minute

Words by Dan Jansen / Mayor's Minute

Dear neighbors,

It certainly feels like spring is here with warmer weather and soft spring corn skiing. We’ll see if the snow storms return as they often do in March.

Until then, your Town Council and staff have been quite busy. Last month we received an update from the Telluride Airport and the potential for commercial service returning. The short answer is that it is complex, and while progress is being made, the FAA moves very slowly. The Council, with me being recused, sponsored some Telluride Venture Accelerator events. Our Town Hall subarea planning moved ahead with the Town, TMVOA and TSG working together. We had an important worksession discussion about the options to improve cell service in Mountain Village. Kate Jones shared an update on Telluride Arts and how Mountain Village can be brought more into those creative activities. We also brainstormed about the various incentive programs we have created for our residents and business, ranging from energy efficiency to noxious weed control to forest health. A specific proposal will be coming to Council at its Wednesday meeting. In addition to routine land use matters and staff updates, we also passed on a second reading some ordinances about signage related to our existing weapons laws and regulations limiting off-highway vehicles in town.

This week our Town Council continues the momentum on many of these issues and adds a few more topics for consideration. We will have representatives from San Miguel Power to discuss the recent serious power outage in the area and actions that are being taken to build better redundancy. We will have a deep dive into fire risk in our region and town with three agenda items: first, the West Region Wildfire Council will share its recently completed parcel level fire risk assessment; next, our forest manager will update us on our defensible space regulations; and finally, our environmental service team will propose some incentive programs to encourage our property owners to create safe defensible spaces around their homes and businesses. We will also consider a draft Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) intergovernmental agreement, which has been the result of the three local governments working together closely over the last several years to better coordinate and improve inter-city transportation in our region. We also will review a potential new process to grant Town of Mountain Village funds, working in partnership with the Telluride Foundation. Finally, in addition to routine updates and land use matters, we will have a worksession discussing the process for engaging all stakeholders in a gondola impact study.

As always, we would love to hear your comments or have you join our meeting this Wednesday. (Note: this is not our regular day or time, so please remember that we will start at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 16.)

Warm Regards,
Dan Jansen
Mountain Village Mayor

January Mayor’s Minute

Mayor's Minute

Words by Dan Jansen / Mayor's Minute

Dear neighbors,

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are continuing to enjoy this great snow.

Last month was a busy one where we not only enjoyed all of the usual holiday festivities, but also got a lot of work done. We discussed our historical approach to the business development area where businesses were asked how the town can support their goals. While we want all of our businesses to thrive, any opportunities involving significant staff time or town expenditure will come through our budget process for full Town Council review. There was further discussion of the Telluride Venture Accelerator and co-working spaces. While I recused myself, Mayor Pro-tem Marty McKinley led the discussion where Council put a placeholder for each expense pending further budget specificity before the amounts are released. We passed our revised 2015 and final 2016 budgets, and set the mill levies for both the town and the Metro District (which precedes the town and holds some of the debt behind our assets). We had a good discussion of our recycling program given the changing nature of commodity markets, which are getting worse, and what are our real goals should be: reduction, recycling or reducing carbon footprint? The Village Pond was approved for use this winter as an experiment.  A Council off-site retreat was designed for early in the New Year so Council can coalesce on its goals and priorities for the town. We decided not to launch a plaza use committee, as staff continues to feel that they can handle the decisions needed and will escalate any issue that are contentious to Council.  Finally, we discussed joining a possible Regional Transit Authority and the Council consensus was to continue full participation in the process including intergovernmental meetings early in the New Year where specific issues will be negotiated to enable progress to a November election.

This week another full meeting has been agendized. We will have the opportunity to meet and hear from Bill Jensen the new leader of Telluride Ski & Golf Company (TSG).  Working with the Telluride Foundation, we will conduct a work session on a potential pocket park near the gondola station at Oak Street Plaza in Telluride. There will be a discussion of an ordinance prohibiting the possession of weapons on town property. We will also start to define a Town Hall Center Subarea planning process in concert with our friends at the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association and TSG. Finally, in addition to some routine land use matters, we will have a worksession about defining a budget granting process to ensure equity, transparency and coordination with other grant-making bodies.

As always, if you have any views on the above, or any other issues, please come to the meeting, listen online, or send us your thoughts.

Warm Regards,
Dan Jansen
Mountain Village Mayor

December Mayor’s Minute

Mayor's Minute

Words by Dan Jansen / Mayor's Minute

Dear neighbors,

I hope you are enjoying our great snow on the re-opened mountain. The community is clearly sparkling with all of the holiday activities well underway.

This last month Town Council approved, on First Reading, the proposed 2016 town budget totaling $30.3 million, which after pulling out the pass-through items (gondola, tourism and museum supported budgets), represents more than a five percent reduction in expenses when compared to the prior year’s revised budget adjusted for pass-through items. Equally important, the proposed budget is balanced with revenues generating a net surplus of $240,000. That said, Town Council was still able to make some important investments including more road repaving, establishing a Telluride TV facility in Mountain Village, and adding Recreation Department resources, among other investments. In addition, Town Council extensively reviewed the new marketing and business development budget, which included some revisions and reductions while still working to achieve its mission. While I recused myself from the discussion, the balance of Town Council deferred the Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA) sponsorship and co-working space funding requests pending a more specific proposal from TVA and the Telluride Foundation. In other business, Town Council appointed Larry Crosby and Richard Child to represent Mountain Village on the Telluride Regional Airport Board. Finally, in addition to some routine land use matters and reports, Council reviewed the town’s water policies and rights to ensure adequate supplies of water for years to come.

This week’s meeting will include some important discussions, too. Town Council will consider final approval of the 2016 and revised 2015 budgets. There will be a worksession evaluating whether to launch a Plaza Use Committee to ensure there is an appropriate nature and level of activity in the plazas throughout town. And related to this, a discussion surrounding possible uses of the Village Pond for this winter season will be up for consideration. Council will also evaluate the state of recycling in Mountain Village. Given that I will recuse myself, Mayor Pro-tem Marty McKinley will lead a follow-up discussion on potential funding of specific TVA programs and a possible co-working space in Mountain Village. Lastly, in addition to some routine land use matters and Council/staff reports, Council will conduct a worksession about Mountain Village’s possible participation in a potential Regional Transportation Authority.

As always, please join us December 10 in person, online or feel free to share comments on any topics of interest to you.

Warm Regards,
Dan Jansen
Mountain Village Mayor

November Mayor’s Minute

Mayor's Minute

Words by Dan Jansen / Mayor's Minute

Dear neighbors,

The snow is certainty building and the anticipation is growing. With that, we hope to see many of you for Opening Day later this month. It’s sure to be one of the best ski seasons yet.

As for government business matters, last month Mountain Village continued its budget process with a special all-day meeting in which we, as a Council,  took some specific actions. First, we approved temporary COWS (Cell Tower on Wheels) so that hopefully Mountain Village residents and guests will have better cell service this season until a permanent solution is provided. Continuing, Council conducted a detailed budget discussion with each town department director which included review of their goals, performance metrics and priorities. This turned into a day full of comments and follow-up questions too numerous to list here, but I encourage you to come to the November 19 Town Council meeting to hear the results. Worth noting, one concern raised by Council was that while many of the budget requests endorsed had merit on their own, in aggregate the level of spending has risen, thus Council needs to look for ways to limit that growth.

In addition, Council discussed the merits of hiring a specialist consultant to benchmark Mountain Village costs versus similar towns to inform next year’s budget process. Though a decision was not reached to move forward with such an idea, a project plan and potential costs will be discussed at a future meeting. That said, for this year, the November 19 meeting will include a review of an analysis that begins with last year’s budget numbers, adjusts for inflation, and then flags every item that represents a material increase. Council guidance from the Finance Department included deferring further staff 401K benefit reductions until Council hires a specialist consultant to analyze options. (I will note that Council was split on the issue of 401k benefits.)

Other informal actions taken by Council last month included increasing the road repaving program budget, examining the Marketing and Business Development budget, and indicating a willingness to support the new producers of Telluride Gay Ski Week as they work to become self-sufficient and Telluride TV as they plan to create a media streaming facility in Mountain Village. The usual array of community grants also received a head nod. All of these ‘actions’ are in draft form until the final budget is approved in December, though November 19 is when Council will take action regarding first reading of the budget ordinance.

Wrapping things up, Council touched on some issues pertaining to 2016/2017 projects. For example, it was noted that the town’s debt for theTelluride Conference Center will be paid off in 2017. That pay-down will result in an almost 1.5 mil reduction, which is effectively a tax cut for you. Moreover, town needs to think about any and all long-range plans for that facility. Council also mentioned the need for a large waste treatment facility project coming up in 2017 that will be shared with the Town of Telluride. The overall project cost could exceed $8 million and Mountain Village’s share could be 35 percent, so we are updating and reviewing an analysis to ensure that we will have adequate water and sewer reserves to cover this large cost.

Other items on the docket for Thursday includes an update from theColorado Flights Alliance, a worksession on the town’s water system, a discussion about supporting Telluride Venture Accelerator, a worksession on converting Village Court Apartment’s energy system, an action item on a new gondola blanket policy, and our usual array of staff/Council updates and standard land use matters.

As always, please reach out if you have comments or join us Thursday, November 19 if you can.

Warm Regards,
Dan Jansen
Mountain Village Mayor

Budget Mayor’s Minute

Mayor's Minute

Words by Dan Jansen / Mayor's Minute

Dear neighbors,

We have just seen our first snowfall and our summer toys are being swapped out for ski gear, with a palpable sense of winter fun and excitement growing in the air. Last month many actions were taken, and discussions underway. We approved our vending cart policies that will allow for an additional cart in Heritage Plaza, a new cart in Conference Center Plaza and the potential for some carts to operate extended hours when activity would support it (e.g. to serve long gondola lines). We also approved an ordinance allowing Cell Towers on Wheels (COWS), which are temporary expansions of our cell phone capacity to improve system performance. The hope is that our permanent solution will be in place within a year and this ordinance will truly be a temporary measure. We also agreed to participate in a task force with members from the Town of Telluride, TMVOA, TTB and TSG to analyze the potential for a transition plan for Gay Ski Week from its current fee-for-service TMVOA supported, to an independent producer model for this upcoming season. We will hear the task force’s initial thinking at this upcoming meeting. Finally, the Town received a decision from the ski company, consistent with their rights in our parking agreements, to offer free day-use parking for the customers of the ski company in the gondola parking garage, and we will work with them to implement that this coming season.

This week we will be conducting a special budget meeting on October 29. For those with an interest in the Town finances, this is a chance to see every manager present every department’s objectives, plans, and budgets for 2016. Please join us for this critical deep dive into our finances.

Going forward, we have set our Town Council meeting schedule for the coming year. Many of the meetings will be in our usual slot on the third Thursday of the month starting at 8:30 a.m. That said, based on feedback from some residents that daytime meetings are hard to attend, we have experimented with our March, July, and December meetings starting at 3 p.m. and going into the evening. Please go to the Town’s website to see the exact schedule and let us know if these changes help or hurt your chances of participating.

Warm Regards,

Dan Jansen
Mountain Village Mayor

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