Town of Mountain Village to hold regular municipal election June 25, 2019

Words by Kathrine Warren / Election

The Town of Mountain Village will hold a Regular Municipal Election June 25, 2019, to elect four Mountain Village Town Council members and is reminding residents and property owners to confirm they are registered to vote.

“Voter verification cards were mailed to constituents on May 10,” said Town Clerk Jackie Kennefick. “If you did not receive a verification card, please contact the Town Clerk’s office to confirm registration. If you have not yet registered to vote, please do so as soon as possible.”

The deadline to register is Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 5 p.m. Both legal residents and non-resident property owners are eligible to vote. A legal resident is any person who has maintained a principal residence within Mountain Village for at least 30 consecutive days prior to the scheduled June 25 election.

Non-resident property owners are eligible to vote if they hold the title to a property in natural name (not in the name of a trust, corporation or partnership) and are the owner of record of real property for 30 consecutive days immediately prior to June 25, 2019 during which time you have owned at least 50 percent of the fee title interest in the real property. However, such property interest shall not include ownership of parking spaces, religious or other charitable facilities, hotel units, roads or common areas intended for non-profit use.

To verify voter registration, or to register to vote in this election, please visit To contact the Clerk’s office regarding verification cards please email [email protected] or call 970-728-8000.

Ballots will be mailed to registered voters between June 3 and 10 and may be returned either by mail or in person to Mountain Village Town Hall located at 455 Mountain Village Blvd. Suite A by or before June 25, 2019 to be counted. On Election Day, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

May Mayor’s Minute

Mayors Minute

Words by Laila Benitez / Mayor's Minute

Hello neighbors,

Below are highlights from last month’s Town Council and some upcoming topics for this week’s meeting. As always, I hope you can join us for Thursday’s meeting or consider sharing your feedback with us about any of these matters.

April 25 Meeting:

  • Karen Guglielmone, Town of Telluride Public Works Environmental and Engineering Division Manager, presented an update on the Telluride Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Master Plan (TRWWTP) and key milestones for 2018 and 2019. We also discussed the potential costs and funding options to finance the TRWWTP Master Plan implementation through 2030.
  • Town Council resumed discussions and took a first vote to approve an ordinance that would implement a dismount zone in the Village Center plazas for bicycles and skateboards. Simply stated, the dismount zone would require cyclists to dismount and walk their bike across the plazas, an area equivalent to one city block, or cyclists can choose to continue riding using the designated bike bypass routes. The town has worked extensively with Telluride Ski Resort, local bike shops, and the Parks and Recreation team to craft a mapped plan with bike bypass and test-ride zones, which aims to balance the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and merchants.We all are looking forward to the upcoming expansion of the Telluride Bike Park and access via Lift 4, so it is important to all involved that we plan for a successful and safe biking season. We appreciate the many community members who have taken the time to share their thoughts about the proposed changes. This month, Town Council will hold a public hearing and vote on second reading. If approved, the dismount zone will go into effect this summer.
  • Town Council heard an update about the status of the Market on the Plaza. Our summer farmer’s market runs Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Heritage Plaza, June 19 through August 29. The 2019 Market will be 25 percent larger than the 2018 Market, with a record 35 vendors. This summer there will be seven vendors with fresh produce and prepared and baked foods; face-painting and stories read by our friends at the Wilkinson Public Library; live music; and loads of local art, jewelry, clothing and other regional goods. We hope you’ll come out and support our local farmers and merchants.
  • Lastly, we appointed Council Member Natalie Binder to the Plaza Vending Committee and Dan Caton and Laila Benitez to the Business Development Advisory Committee.

If you would like more specifics about any of these topics, you can watch a video of last month’s meeting on the town’s website and March’s minutes will be posted online after they are approved at Thursday’s meeting.

May 16 Meeting: 

  • As part of our annual budgeting process, we will have a worksession to establish and refine the budget goals for projects, programs, and infrastructure in 2020. The Finance Committee and town staff will use this direction as they draft the 2020 budget.
  • We will hear on first reading and vote on an ordinance amending our Community Development Code (CDC) residential lighting regulations. These proposed changes are being considered to better balance our need for residential outdoor illumination that allows us to enjoy our homes while minimizing unintended negative impacts to neighbors and the surrounding community.
  • Town Council will also hold a worksession to consider a CDC amendment that clarifies the permitted uses of efficiency lodge units and adds the definition of “short-term accommodation”. These clarifications are being proposed to ensure that properties that were zoned to function as hotel rooms or “hot-beds,” are not used as a primary residence or as long-term rentals.
  • We will consider and vote on second reading a density transfer and rezone for the expansion area of Elkstone on Lot 600A. The proposed expansion area is located adjacent to Elk Pond, off Mountain Village Boulevard. If approved, the density would be increased by six person-equivalents.
  • Town Council will consider the appointments of one new member to the Design Review Board (DRB) to fill the seat recently vacated by Luke Trujillo. On behalf of the town, I want to thank Luke for his many years of service and commitment to Mountain Village.
  • Lastly, the Telluride Tourism Board, Colorado Flights Alliance, and Gondola Subcommittee will provide their quarterly reports.

A full packet and agenda have been posted on our website; we welcome your input and hope to see you at the meeting.

Warm regards,

Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

May Green Tip of the Month

May Green Tip of the Month

Words by Zoe Dohnal / Environment

May’s Green Team Tip of the Month helps reduce single-use waste in the kitchen.

Instead of using plastic wrap or tinfoil to keep leftovers fresh, simply turn a clean plate upside down and put it over your plate of leftovers. This will keep food fresh in the fridge for your next meal.

Other plastic-free food storage options include beeswax cloth, mason jars and reusable snack bags.



Town of Mountain Village encourages homeowners to create defensible space with mitigation incentive

Wildfire Mitigation

Words by Kathrine Warren / Community, Emergency Preparedness

As the community begins to look forward to another summer in the San Juan Mountains, the Town of Mountain Village is offering incentives to homeowners to help residents protect their homes by creating defensible space through wildfire mitigation work.

The Wildfire Mitigation Incentive Program, created in partnership with the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association and West Region Wildfire Council (WRWC), offers residents a rebate of up to 50 percent off the total cost of mitigation work up to $5,000. This program is for existing Mountain Village homes, and not new home construction.

“If a homeowner creates defensible space by utilizing our incentive program in combination with a non-flammable roof, the structures chance of survival in a wildfire is 99 percent.  A structure has only a 4 percent survival rate if the roof is flammable and no defensible action occurs on a property,” said Mountain Village’s Planning and Development Services Director Michelle Haynes.

“The Wildfire Mitigation plan is one of the most important programs the Council has initiated,” said Mountain Village Mayor Pro Tem Dan Caton. “[My wife] Liz and I have personally taken advantage of it, by thinning trees, removing trees that are too close to the house and clearing deadwood from near the house. We expect to take more actions this summer, as these precautions not only protect us but our neighbors as well.”

In order to take advantage of this incentive program, residents can schedule a free home visit with the West Region Wildfire Council to learn about their property’s wildfire risk rating. They will receive recommendations tailored to their home’s specific needs and setting.

Defensible space is the natural and landscaped area around a home or other structure that has been modified to reduce fire risk. This work can include removing trees that are too close to a structure and clearing brush or other flammable materials from the perimeter of a building.

Homeowners can then hire from a list of regional contractors and apply for a free town permit to start the forestry work. Once the project is finished and approved, the Town will reimburse homeowners up to 50 percent of the total project cost up to $5,000 per property.

“The two most important actions a homeowner can take to be proactive in the event of a wildfire event is to assure they have a non-flammable roof and assuring defensible space mitigation is done on their property,” Haynes added.

To learn more please visit

May is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Words by Kathrine Warren / Uncategorized

The month of May is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the San Miguel Resource Center has a series of events to commemorate this month to educate our community and fight stigmas around sexual assault.

The San Miguel Resource Center’s (SMRC) mission is to eliminate domestic violence and sexual assault in our community through intervention services, prevention education and social change.

On Wednesday, May 15 the SMRC, Telluride Theatre and Ah Haa School for the Arts present #WhatNow Continuing the Conversation — a night of performance, Downlow stories and connection at the Ah Haa at 7 p.m.

WhatNow is an event in partnership with The Downlow, Telluride Theater, and Ah Haa and will be a night of storytelling and performances. Many people attended our #MeToo event last year. The format will be similar, but this year’s event is  #WhatNow and has a focus on moving forward, healing, education, awareness, and action. It will be a space to explore paths forward where we consider strategies and ways to address the issue of sexual violence, how to heal, practicing consent, etc.

Other events in May include a: Consensual Bar Crawl is in collaboration with local bars and the Library Friday, May 17 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. At each location, there will be a fun activity related to consent and shifting the culture of victim blaming.

And on May 20 at 8:30 p.m. is Sex Pub Trivia at the Cornerhouse. For a full schedule of events, download their Sexual Assault Awareness Month flyer.

To stay up to date on Sexual Assault Awareness Month, be sure to follow the Resource Center on Facebook and Instagram for the latest information.

The SMRC has a toll-free 24-hour helpline at 1-844-816-3915.

April Mayor’s Minute

Mayors Minute

Words by Laila Benitez / Mayor's Minute

Hello neighbors,

Below are highlights from last month’s Town Council and some upcoming topics for this week’s meeting. As always, I hope you can join us for tomorrow’s meeting or consider sharing your feedback with us about any of these matters.

March 21 Meeting Highlights

  • Town Council discussed whether a dismount zone is necessary for the Village Center plazas. Over the past few years, there has been an increasing number of incidents between bicycles and pedestrians in the Village Center. Bikes are and will continue to be an essential part of all our lives whether we are using them to commute, exercise, or just to have fun; however, with the upcoming expansion of the bike park and summer use of Lift 4 for bike park access, some changes to how or where bikes can travel will need to be made. We have been examining tactics used to reduce negative bike/pedestrian interactions in other communities such as Fort Collins and Durango. With help from our Parks and Recreation team, Police Department, local bike shops, and others, we are working to craft a plan that balances the needs of our residents, guests, pedestrians, bicyclists, and merchants.
  • We discussed proposed amendments to our Community Development Code (CDC) Residential Lighting Regulations. As we review and amend these regulations, we are striving to strike the balance between our need for residential outdoor illumination that allows us to enjoy our homes while minimizing unintended negative impacts to neighbors and the surrounding community.
  • Town Council discussed the two incentive programs dedicated to helping homeowners reduce their home’s risk of fire. The Wildfire Mitigation Incentive Program helps owners protect their home and surrounding areas from an approaching wildfire by landscaping the area around a home in a manner that reduces fire hazard. The Cedar Shake Fire Mitigation Incentive Program waives all town building fees when a cedar shake roof is replaced with a new, fire-proof roof. Council asked for improvements and expansion of the Cedar Shake program that will make participating simpler, quicker, and available to more households. We hope these changes will encourage increased participation and a safer community.
  • Town Council appointed five members to the Design Review Board (DRB): Liz Caton, Greer Garner, David Eckman, Cath Jett, and Ellen Kramer. The DRB functions as the town’s architectural review board and as the Planning and Zoning Advisory Board. On behalf of the town, I want to thank outgoing DRB members Phil Evans and Jean Vetter for their years of service and commitment.
  • Lastly, Town Council approved renaming the Village Court Apartments Community Garden as the “Michael Ruterbories Memorial Community Garden”. Michael, a longtime Mountain Village resident, gondola operator, and cherished friend to all who knew him, passed away unexpectedly in February. He is greatly missed by the Town of Mountain Village and the community he adopted.

If you would like more specifics about any of these topics, you can watch a video of last month’s meeting on the town’s website and March’s minutes will be posted online after they are approved at tomorrow’s meeting.

April 25 Meeting:

A full packet and agenda have been posted on our website; we welcome your input and hope to see you at the meeting.

Warm regards,

Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

Celebrating Earth Day in Mountain Village and Telluride

Earth Day Blog

Words by Kathrine Warren / Environment

Every April 22 since 1970, more than 193 countries celebrate Earth Day with various measures to support environmental protection. Here in Mountain Village, every day is Earth Day as our staff and volunteers on the Green Team Committee work tirelessly to implement green, environmentally friendly measures throughout the community and we encourage homeowners to reduce their environmental footprint through a number of incentives.

Several organizations are celebrating Earth Day in the region today, so there are opportunities aplenty to celebrate Mother Earth.

Telluride Earth Guardians, Pinhead Institute, Ah Haa, Carbon Neutral Coalition, EcoAction Partners, Sheep Mountain Alliance, and friends will gather on Elks Park from 3:30-5 p.m. to celebrate Earth Day on Monday. For more information on the gathering, please visit their Facebook event.

The Wilkinson Public Library is encouraging middle and high school students to help clean up trash in Telluride from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Kids can check in at 3:30 p.m. to pick up equipment and head out to pick up trash. At 5:30 p.m. report back to the library for pizza and awards for Best of Trash! For more info, visit the library’s website.

Additionally, the Telluride Mountain School will host a free, community-wide slide show presentation and book signing with nationally renowned, Colorado Landscape Photographer John Fielder on Monday evening.

John is an avid outdoor enthusiast, conservationist and a wonderfully talented landscape photographer. For the past 38 years, he has dedicated his time and passion to capture the serene and breathtaking moments of Colorado’s most majestic landscapes. John will be on hand before and after the show to sell and sign all of his popular Colorado coffee table books, guide books, and children’s books, including his new book Colorado Black on White. 30% of sales to benefit the Outdoor Education Program at Telluride Mountain School.

Every month, a committee of volunteers and Mountain Village staff convenes as the Gream Team to advise Mountain Village Town Council on environmentally friendly measures. In March, the Green Team started a monthly Green Tip of the month. These tips are ideas for residents to improve their impact on the environment in their home.

March’s green tip focuses on tips for more water efficient techniques for dishwashing, and April’s tip takes a look at cooking with excess fats, oils and grease. To learn more about the Green Team and its work, please visit our website.

The Town of Mountain Village also recently announced its Smart Building Incentive Program offering significant building permit fees if owners take measures to increase renewable energy use, reduce exterior energy use on homes and more. Visit our Smart Building web page for more information.


Significant road work to begin on Highway 145

Road Work Ahead Blog

Words by Special Contributor / Communications, Transportation

The Colorado Department of Transportation and contractor Oldcastle SW Group, Inc., will begin a project next week on CO Highway 145 just northwest (down valley) of Telluride and Mountain Village.

The work, starting on Monday, April 15, 2019, will greatly improve safety for motorists by widening the two-lane highway, adding a southbound, uphill passing lane (toward Telluride) and improving shoulders between mile point (MP) 73.9 at lllium Road (County Road 65L) and MP 75.1 at Deep Creek Road. Passing lanes will provide space and opportunities for faster vehicles to safely pass slower moving traffic. This safety-improvement project was contracted to Oldcastle for $5.4 million.

Crews will excavate the hillside along the northbound lane and widen the roadway to accommodate the new southbound passing lane. The work will involve the following:

  • Construction of a reinforced soil slope and rockery retaining wall
  • Installation of new guardrail
  • Replacement of existing culverts at eight locations across this stretch of improvement from Illium Road to the CDOT Maintenance facility
  • Construction of a concrete box culvert at Deep Creek
  • Super-elevation and crown improvements on the roadway (meaning the roadway’s banked curve will be adjusted and its height will be leveled to improve safety for motorists, by way of cornering ease and increased sight distance)



Through the project’s completion in early December 2019, motorists can expect some single-lane, alternating travel through the work zone, as well as periods of two-way traffic with narrowed, 10-foot lanes. The following are general details regarding travel impacts (for more specific, updated information, please go to the project website, below, and sign up for weekly project emails, or check “road work” on

  • April 15 through early July 2019 – Single-lane, alternating traffic will be directed by flagging personnel from *7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays and special event dates, listed below.
  • Early June through late December 2019 – A 10-foot width restriction will be in place 24/7.
  • Early July through late December 2019 – Single-lane, alternating traffic will be controlled by temporary traffic lights at each end of the work zone, Monday through Friday, from *7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Access onto and off of Ilium Road (CR 65L) and Deep Creek Road will be maintained.
  • Access to the Galloping Goose trail system will be maintained.

(*These start/end times will change with daylight hours – please sign up for weekly project updates or check weekly lane closures on


The following periods of work suspension will be in effect for these holidays and special community events:

  • June 19 through 24 – Telluride Bluegrass Festival
  • July 3 through 5 – Independence Day holiday travel
  • July 12 through 14 – The RIDE Festival
  • August 8 through 11 – Telluride Jazz Festival
  • August 30 through September 2 – Labor Day holiday weekend
  • September 13 through 16 – Telluride Blues & Brews Festival
  • November 27 through 29 – Thanksgiving holiday

Be sure to visit the project’s website for updated information.

Town of Mountain Village and TMVOA create Cedar Shake Incentive Fire Mitigation Program

Cedar Shake

Words by Kathrine Warren / Community, Emergency Preparedness

The Town of Mountain Village in collaboration with the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association as a funding partner is upping its commitment to incentivize property owners for preventive measures in wildfire hazard mitigation.

The Town currently has a Wildfire Mitigation Defensible Space Incentive Program in place to help residents create a woodland defensible space barrier around their home or buildings lowering their property’s wildfire risk. The program provides a resident rebate up to 50 percent of the total defensible space project costs up to $5,000 per property.

To continue in these efforts, Mountain Village Town Council implemented a Cedar Shake Incentive Fire Mitigation Program in 2017 providing a rebate toward building permit fees when residents re-roof their home or building from cedar shake shingles to a town-approved fire-rated roofing material.

“A Mountain Village property has a 70 percent wildfire survival rate if the structure on their property has a non-flammable roof and a 99 percent survival rate if the property has both a non-flammable roof on the structure and defensible space has also been created on the property,” explained Planning and Development Services Director Michelle Haynes, “Every cedar shake roof that is replaced in our community with a non-flammable material is a win.”

In order to increase participation in the program and help prepare Mountain Village for the possibility of wildfire, Town Council recently approved changing the program from a rebate to a complete fee waiver and removing the $5,000 cap per incentive with TMVOA committing to funding the fee waiver.

“As we have seen throughout the state, the risk of wildfire and ensuing damages to whole communities is very real,” said Mayor Laila Benitez. “Town Council created the Cedar Shake Incentive Program to support our property owners’ efforts to lower their home’s wildfire risk. This is the single most impactful step homeowners can take to reduce their home’s risk and we are committed to helping owners achieve this risk reduction.”

To take advantage of this program’s cost savings, residents must apply for approval to re-roof their home or building from cedar shake shingles to an approved fire rated roofing material and submit a Town of Mountain Village building permit for review and approval through the Design Review Board. This incentive program is open until funds are exhausted and is for properties within the Town of Mountain Village.

“We thank TMVOA for their partnership and continued support of this vital program. We look forward to working together on this and other programs that benefit our community,” Benitez said.

To learn more about the Cedar Shake Incentive Fire Mitigation Program and the necessary steps taken to receive a building permit fee waiver to re-roofing their home or building, please visit

Celebrate the end of ski season April 7

Closing Day

Words by Kathrine Warren / Event

It’s been a record-breaking ski season here in Mountain Village. And Telluride Ski Resort is going out with a bang with a number of fun events on Sunday to mark the closing day of the ski area on April 7.

The festivities kick off with the pond skim at Gorrono Ranch. If you’re not familiar with pond skims, check out this great article from the Colorado Sun on this unique spring skiing tradition.

Registration for the skim begins at 10 a.m. The first 100 people to register will be accepted.

The pond skim competition will run from 12 p.m.-2 p.m. with DJ Soul Atomic spinning tunes.

Gorrono will have drink specials from Titos Vodka, Rodney Strong Vineyards, Telluride Brewing and Sweetwater Brewing.

Last call for alcohol at Gorrono will be at 2:45 p.m. and Gorrono will close for the season at 3 p.m.

Down in Heritage Plaza, Cousin Curtiss will kick off the free end-of-season concert at 1:30 p.m. Funk/rock band the Main Squeeze will take the stage at 3:15 p.m. They’ll play until 4:45 p.m.

Down in Telluride, local rockers Joint Point will play their 10th annual end-of-season party at the base of Lift 8. Music starts at 4:30 p.m.

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