Introducing the Green Team Tip of the Month

Words by Zoe Dohnal / Environment

Each month, the Green Team Committee, a team of seven volunteers – including council members, residents, Telluride Ski & Golf and TMVOA staff  – along with Town of Mountain Village staff meet to discuss strategies for living green in Mountain Village.

The Green Team Committee encourages the community to appreciate and preserve the natural world and to facilitate conservation efforts, share knowledge and resources and advises the Mountain Village Town Council on matters related to environmental quality.

Introducing the Green Team’s new Green Living Tips. Each month, the Green Team will share ideas and tips with residents for ways to improve their impact on the environment.

March 2019 Tip of the Month:

Don’t rinse dishes before loading, and you’ll save 55,000 gallons of water over the life of the appliance. That’s equal to a lifetime supply of drinking water for a family of four.


If you have a newer dishwasher, it has a sensor that checks how dirty the water is to determine how much water and how long a cycle is needed to get the dishes clean. Then think about the 1.7 to 6 gallons of water you use every minute you run your kitchen faucet at full blast trying to knock off that food waste. You’re also paying for the energy used to heat the water. So even if you don’t have a newer dishwasher, rinsing with cold water will still save you money and energy.

Stay tuned for monthly tips from our Green Team for ways to improve your environmental impact.

Sources: Lowe’s & Consumer Reports.

Live music in March

Music on the Mountain

Words by Kathrine Warren / Event

With warmer day time temperatures, more sunshine in the day, and spring just around the corner, there is a bevy of fun, live music happening both on the mountain and in Mountain Village through the month of March!

  • Feb. 26-March 10, be sure to catch B Forrest, a Chicago-bred singer/songwriter blending folk, blues and soul at both Gorrono Ranch and Tomboy Tavern. B Forrest will play the following dates at Gorronno Ranch: Feb. 26, 28, March 1, 5 & 7 and Tomboy Tavern on March 2, 3 9 & 10.
  • Cousin Curtiss plays live at Gorrono March 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 14, 16, 17, 20, 23, 24, 27, 30 and March 31 from noon to 4 p.m.


At Altezza at the Peaks local musicians Donavan Daily, Miles Adams and Sean Deland play throughout the month of March. Below is their schedule:

  • Donavan Dailey: March 1
  • Miles Adams: March 3, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12
  • Sean DeLand: March 4, 6, 8 & 9.

Full schedule at Altezza.


Telluride AIDS Benefit hosts 26th annual fashion show and more

TAB Fashion Show

Words by Kathrine Warren / Community, Event

The Telluride AIDS Benefit (TAB) presents its annual fashion shows, the TAB XXVI ‘Sneak Peek’ Fashion Show on Thursday, February 28 and The TAB XXVI Gala Fashion Show on March 2, 2019, both at 8:00 p.m. at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village.

Featuring local models and international designer fashions, TAB fashion show productions are best described as New York Fashion Week meets Cirque de Soleil. Funds raised through ticket sales and auction packages support HIV and AIDS education, advocacy and clinical care in Colorado and Africa.

TAB events kicked off early with a Student Fashion Show on 2.21.19 followed by TAB Fashion Week events including: Sneak Peek & Gala Fashion Shows with auction packages (featuring Burning Man, Rolling Stones, Villas in Provence and Hawaii, and Exclusive Wine Buys among others), free HIV rapid testing in Telluride, A designer sample sale, after party featuring New York-based DJ Salinger and a poetry reading by Madelyn Garner. Special guests include Mark Harrington, featured in the acclaimed film “How To Survive A Plague.”

The Telluride AIDS Benefit fights HIV and AIDS by raising awareness and generating financial support for prevention programs and client care through its six beneficiaries in Colorado and Africa. TAB aims to keep AIDS relevant in every generation and to cultivate a healthy and stigma­‐free society.

The Telluride AIDS Benefit is a non­‐profit organization dedicated to fighting HIV and AIDS until the goal of zero new infections in the state of Colorado, across the country and then the world is achieved. Visit their website for more information about this wonderful cause.

Telluride Gay Ski Week returns for 17th year

2019 Gay Ski Week

Words by Kathrine Warren / Event

For the last 18 years, Telluride Gay Ski Week (TGSW) has been a winter highlight for both visitors and locals. This year plans to be no different. The week of excitement will run from February 23 – March 2, 2019.

Visitors and locals have the opportunity to engage in a wide range of activities around town including daily skiing and snowboarding meet and greets, après ski and nightly dance parties at the Liberty Bar and Lounge.

In addition to the daily activities, TGSW is packed with featured events. Participants can dance the night away at the Opening Night Cocktail Party, sing their hearts out at Karaoke, pamper themselves during the pool and spa day, get their glam on at the drag shows (and drag bingo), and much more.

Telluride Gay Ski Week gives visitors the opportunity to explore the quaint streets of Telluride and plazas of Mountain Village, and sample the great food both towns have to offer. TGSW continues to partner with local businesses and hotels to bring visitors exclusive rates on lodging, gear rentals and lift tickets.

For more information and to purchase tickets or book special offers go to

Telluride Gay Ski Week was founded in 2002, and has been under the leadership of Rosie Cusack since 2016.

February Mayor’s Minute

Mayors Minute

Words by Laila Benitez / Community, Mayor's Minute

Hello neighbors,

Below are some Town Council highlights from our January meeting 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.

January 17 Meeting Highlights

  • Town Council considered a proposed ordinance amending the Community Development Code (CDC), which would have allowed future applicants to propose subdivisions, rezoning, and density transfers on eight specific Single-Family lots in the Village Center Subarea, as envisioned in the Comprehensive Plan. But after significant discussion, we agreed that additional outreach and exploration was needed to better understand how the area has evolved since the Comprehensive Plan was approved.
  • The Bauen Group presented conceptual architectural plans and a rough order of magnitude cost estimate for the Village Court Apartments (VCA) expansion project. Preliminary plans call for breaking ground on the affordable housing project later this year with funding through a revenue loan, paid for by the collected VCA rents and dedicated funding from the Mountain Village Affordable Housing Fund. Project plans and specific funding mechanisms are still being finalized, but we anticipate this expansion will provide up to 42 two-bedroom and seven one-bedroom apartments.
  • Town Council voted to reinstate and extend until February 28, 2019, the term sheet concerning the settlement of the 161CR and Ridge at Telluride litigation and authorized me to execute any agreement. The term sheet is the result of months of direct negotiations between principal designated representatives from Lot 161CR, The Ridge HOA, The Ridge Club, some of The Ridge owners, and the town.
  •  Last month Town Council considered whether to begin negotiations with a new provider to become the town’s primary supplier of broadband services, which are currently provided by Century Link. Based on the service issues we have been facing, the town has decided to move forward with a request for proposals (RFP) for a new broadband provider. We look forward to an updated plan of action and service provider solution which addresses our need for redundant service, increased bandwidth, and improved reliability later this spring.
  • Finally, we received updates from Bill Jensen with Telluride Ski and Golf, the Gondola Subcommittee, the Telluride Regional Airport Association, and the Green Team.

If you would like more specifics about any of these topics, you can review minutes from the meeting or watch the video on the town website.

February 21 Agenda Topics

  • The town is excited to welcome another new business, Sunshine Pharmacy, to the Mountain Village Center. Sunshine Pharmacy will be opening a second location in the Franz Klammer Building across from the Telluride Distilling Company’s new Tasting Room. In addition to prescription pick-up service, health and wellness products, and other sundry items, Sunshine Pharmacy has also applied for a liquor license to sell beer at their Mountain Village location. Town Council will consider their Fermented Malt Beverage Liquor License application tomorrow.
  • Town Council will discuss the continued use of lot OSP39 (commonly known as the wood lot) for tree removal staging. Since 2015, the town has informally allowed large private and forest-health property tree removal projects to drop-off chopped wood on the lot, where it can be picked up for use by residents. In the past, chopped wood was stacked at individual job sites, and people looking for firewood drove throughout the village looking for wood piles. Besides the reduction in the number of vehicles driving through Mountain Village neighborhoods looking for wood, the other major benefit of the wood lot is cost savings for new home building and defensible space tree removal projects.
  • We will consider the formation of a Vending Cart Committee for future vendor selection. Currently, vendor selection is at the sole discretion of the town’s business development and community engagement coordinator. Given the increased interest in new vending cart businesses in the Village Center, the creation of a vending committee would allow more opportunity for public comment, multiple viewpoints, and transparency in vendor selection. Recommended committee members would include members from TMVOA, Town Council, and representatives from the departments of Planning and Development, Plaza Services, and Community Engagement.
  • Lastly, Michael Martelon will provide Marketing Telluride’s (MTI) quarterly update.

A full agenda and our meeting packet 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

Mountain Village now accepting summer vending cart applications

Words by Kathrine Warren / Business Development

The Town of Mountain Village is now accepting applications for vending carts for the 2019 summer season.

Local and regional chefs, foodies and entrepreneurs are invited to apply by April 1, 2019 to be considered for vending spaces in Heritage Plaza and Sunset Plaza in Village Center.

“With plans in the works for a new bike park and increased vitality in the Village Center from both residents and visitors alike, we are expecting a fun and busy summer season in Mountain Village,” said Zoe Dohnal, business development and community engagement coordinator for the Town of Mountain Village.

For minimum operating hour requirements, more information and to apply to be a vendor, please visit For questions regarding summer vending specifics please reach out to Dohnal at (970) 369.8236 or [email protected].

Farm to Community Program Now Open to Qualified Families for 2019

Farm to Community Blog

Words by Kathrine Warren / Community

After a successful first year, the Town of Mountain Village is pleased to announce an expanded Farm to Community Program for summer 2019.

The program will offer up to 60 qualified Mountain Village families a food share box of locally farmed produce and food items for 14-weeks at a minimal cost.

The Farm to Community Program was launched in summer of 2018 and initially offered 48 families and 60 residents more than 4,500 pounds of fresh, local food to residents over the course of nine weeks for just a $35 application fee.

In 2019, the Mountain Village Town Council voted to increase funding for the program which can now accommodate 60 families and up to 100 people. The program will also run five weeks longer this summer.

“Qualifications are no longer strictly based on income, and for the 2019 season, families (comprised of at least one parent and one or more dependents) who live in deed-restricted housing are invited to apply,” said Zoe Dohnal, the town’s business development and community engagement coordinator.

Mountain Village residents who live in deed-restricted housing are invited to review qualification requirements and to apply for the program.

“We are really excited about the continued enthusiasm and regional support for this program,” said Michelle Haynes, Mountain Village’s planning and development services director.

“The enthusiasm extends from participants, town staff, farm partners, regional groups and organizations up to the Town Council and local visitors who see a greater local food presence at our Market on the Plaza,” Haynes continued.

Mountain Village is partnering once again with Norwood’s Fresh Food Hub as well as Mountain Roots Produce based in Mancos to supply the shares. Indian Ridge is one of the Fresh Food Hub’s suppliers and will provide eggs to the shares this year.

The Fresh Food Hub will have shares available for pick up at this summer’s Market on the Plaza (each Wednesday in Heritage Plaza June 19-Aug. 28). And Mountain Roots will set up at Village Court Apartments in the afternoons each Wednesday allowing participants to choose their farm share vegetables.

“We are so lucky to have such amazing farmer partners,” Dohnal said. “Each partner is incredibly passionate about providing fresh produce to a part of the community that might not otherwise have access to locally grown produce.”

For residents who do not qualify for the Farm to Community Program, the Fresh Food Hub is also offering to deliver farm shares for pick up at the Market on the Plaza for $35 per box.

“What I find most exciting about this program is that we can now offer low-cost, local, healthy food options for our community, while also promoting our local farmers, food providers, and the Mountain Village farmer’s market,” said Mountain Village Mayor Laila Benitez. “The quality and quantity of offerings at the Market on the Plaza have been amazing since the launch of this program, and we look forward to an even more robust market this summer.”

The Farm to Community program was first proposed by Haynes and brought to the Town’s Green Team Committee. The Green Team is dedicated to town-wide conservation measures and was unanimously in favor of this program because it supports local agriculture and reduces the distance food is transported to the community.

The Green Team then presented it to Town Council as a climate action plan measure and Council initially voted to approve program funding in April of 2018.

“I want to thank Michelle Haynes, Zoe Dohnal, and the Green Team for the countless hours and relentless dedication they have invested into making this program available to our community,” Benitez said. For more information and to apply, please visit

Super Bowl Sunday in Mountain Village


Words by Kathrine Warren / Community

On Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams will face off in the 53rd annual Super Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia.

Kick off takes place at 4:30 p.m. MST and a number of Mountain Village establishments will be playing what’s sure to be a great game on their big screens and offering food and drink discounts.

  • M Lounge: Hotel Madeline will be playing the Super Bowl in M Lounge Sunday Feb. 3. They’ll be serving a buffet with BBQ meet, mac n cheese, and more and offering beer buckets. The fun begins around 12 p.m.
  • Super Bowl at the Peaks: The Peaks Resort & Spa presents two great event spaces joined together for the Super Bowl. The event will blend the natural appeal of the Crystal Room where surrounding glass windows offer magnificent views, and, Appaloosa with its charming western motif and classic Colorado feel. The Big Game buffet is football-inspired with a nacho bar, pulled pork sliders, Coney Island hot dog bar, fresh veggie display and assorted mini desserts. The event is $25 per person and includes one drink ticket; the bar is on a cash-only basis after drink ticket is redeemed.
  • The View Bar & Grill: The View Bar & Grill hosts a Super Bowl Sunday party on Sunday, Feb. 3 starting at 4:30 p.m. They will be offering $2 PBRs, $2 ski patrolers, $5 Jameson chairlift shots and playing the game on 5 big screen TVs.
  • Tracks: 8 TVs with food and drink specials and a little football pool with big potential winnings.

January Mayor’s Minute

Mayors Minute

Words by Laila Benitez / Community, Government, Mayor's Minute

Hello neighbors,

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

Quick note: We have heard numerous concerns from community members about the lack of a live operator answering the telephone at Town Hall. It is important to us that your calls to Town Hall are answered quickly and efficiently.

Therefore, our telephone system is being reconfigured this month to allow callers to speak with a staff member and make finding the resources you are seeking quick and simple. Please be patient with us while we make this change.

December 13 Meeting Highlights

  • Town Council approved the 2019 and revised 2018 budgets. Read more about the 2019 Budget and upcoming, approved infrastructure projects in the latest Mayor’s Minute: Budget Edition.
  • In response to new state legislation that became effective September 1, 2018, we adopted a new policy outlining how records containing personal identifying information will be destroyed, discarded, and protected. The new law requires us to not only adopt a policy regarding destruction and protection of these personal records but also contains requirements regarding protecting personal identifying information, reporting breaches of personal identifying information, and contracting with third parties that might handle personal identifying information.
  • Town Council voted to raise rent 2-3 percent depending on unit size at Village Court Apartments; rental rates were last increased five years ago. We also discussed the need for a rental increase policy to aid us in responding to occupancy fluctuations, keeping up with ongoing maintenance needs, and allow the town to avoid large future rental increases.
  • EcoAction Partners presented the results of the 2017 Town of Mountain Village Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report.
  • Lastly, we received reports from Colorado Flights Alliance, Marketing Telluride Inc., and the Town Hall and Village Center Subarea Committees.

If you would like more specifics about any of these topics, you can review minutes from the meeting or watch the video on the town website.

January 17 Meeting Highlights

  • Town Council will consider an ordinance amending the Community Development Code (CDC), which could allow future applicants to propose subdivisions, rezoning, and density transfers on eight specific Single-Family lots in the Village Center Subarea, as envisioned in the Comprehensive Plan. We will not be rezoning or considering for rezoning any of these lots at Thursday’s meeting. Any future rezoning would require a development application to be submitted to determine if the application meets requirements such as CDC standards, any applicable ridgeline development covenants, and the vision of the Comprehensive Plan and undergo Design Review Board and Town Council review and approvals.These eight lots were designated as Multi-Family in the Comprehensive Plan; however, the lots are currently zoned Single-Family. In 2016, Town Council voted to amend the CDC to prohibit any rezoning of a Single-Family lot; at the time, Council did not realize there were Single-Family lots in the Village Center that had not yet been rezoned Multi-Family, as outlined in the Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan identified these lots in the Village Center Subarea as best served by condominiums to allow for a transitional buffer between the Village Center and the adjacent Single-Family homes in the surrounding neighborhood. Please note: the prohibition on subdivision and rezoning outside of the Village Center Subarea would not be affected by the proposed amendment.We have heard from numerous community members regarding this topic and as always, we encourage you to share your input with Council via email and/or by providing public comment at Thursday’s meeting.
  • We will review conceptual/schematic architectural plans and a rough order of magnitude cost estimate for the Village Court Apartments expansion project. The town contracted the Bauen Group to produce these drawings and a rough cost estimate for the project based on their determination of the maximum number of units possible within the building area given the site constraints, which include a delineated wetland, relocation of a sewer line, soils, topography, and necessary building setbacks.
  • Town Council will consider reinstatement and extension of a term sheet regarding settlement of the 161-CR and Ridge at Telluride litigation and authorizing me to execute any agreement. The term sheet is the result of months of direct negotiations between principal designated representatives from Lot 161-CR, The Ridge HOA, The Ridge Club, some of The Ridge owners, and the town.
  • The Gondola Subcommittee will provide an update on gondola long-term planning. They will also share initial analysis conducted by an independent research group regarding gondola use, economic impact, and ridership forecasts.
  • Town Council will consider whether to begin negotiations with to become the town’s primary supplier of broadband services, currently provided by Century Link.
  • Lastly, Bill Jensen with Telluride Ski and Golf, the Telluride Regional Airport Association, and the Green Team will provide their recurring updates.

If you would like more specifics about any of these topics, you can review minutes from the meeting or watch the video on the town website.

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

Warm regards,

Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

Mayor’s Minute 2019 Budget Edition

Mayors Minute

Words by Laila Benitez / Mayor's Minute

Hello neighbors,

Last month, Town Council approved the 2019 town budget totaling $32 million, after pulling out pass-through items (i.e., gondola, tourism and museum budgets). I would like to thank the Budget Committee, led by Dan Caton and Jack Gilbride, for working with the Town Manager and Finance Department to develop a budget that includes numerous large-scale investments in our infrastructure, focuses on community development, and maintains healthy general fund reserves of $10.2 million while simultaneously reducing debt. Below are a few highlights from the 2019 budget:


Village Court Apartments expansion – $9.4 million to be determined
Preliminary plans were approved for an estimated 49-unit expansion of the Village Court Apartments, which would be paid for through a revenue loan and dedicated affordable housing funds. Project plans are still being finalized and pending Town Council approval. If the project plans are approved, the revenue loan would be funded by the collected rents and dedicated affordable housing funds.

Broadband system fiber capacity upgrades (1G project) – $1.5 million

This past year, the Town contracted with an outside firm to perform an audit of our broadband services to determine if our systems are sufficient for our growing needs, capable of providing robust redundancy protections, and to determine the feasibility of increasing our broadband capacity. Based on the completed study, the town is undertaking a major upgrade to our broadband network infrastructure that will allow us to offer improved 1G fiber services to every home. After completing the request for proposals process, design, and engineering in the first half of 2019, the town aims to begin construction this summer and complete the project by end of year 2020. The overall cost of the two-year project is $3.1 million.

Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant capacity upgrades – $800,000

Major upgrades continue at the  Wastewater Treatment Plant located at Lawson Hill.  All costs and responsibilities to improve the current facility are funded by The Town of Telluride and Mountain Village (65% and 35% respectively).

The two main goals are:

The project is currently estimated to cost Mountain Village taxpayers $5.8 million over the course of the next five years. Conversations with Telluride and key stakeholders are ongoing regarding whether to seek bond funding for this critical infrastructure upgrade. Both towns are looking at how to equitably distribute the cost of these improvements to shared users of the facility in future years. Mountain Village’s existing water and wastewater rates are adequate to cover operating expenditures through at least 2023, afterwards a bond or sewer district will need to be in place.

Trail improvements within Mountain Village – $300,000

Due to recent proposed developments in the Boston Commons area, a new pedestrian bridge will be constructed to maintain the Meadows Trail (between Lawson Hill and Adams Ranch Road). In addition, funds will go towards ongoing trail maintenance throughout Mountain Village.

Ski Ranches water system improvement plan – $250,000

The Ski Ranches water system has the oldest water infrastructure in the Mountain Village water system and is prone to ongoing, major leaks. The water from this system is critical to supporting possible future firefighting efforts should a fire occur south of Mountain Village Boulevard. The phased plan to replace the aging infrastructure commenced in summer 2018 and will continue over the course of many years.

Village Pond restoration – $115,000

As outlined by the Village Center Subarea Project, the Village Pond across from the Telluride Conference Center will be dredged and receive necessary maintenance to help revitalize this key natural asset in the Village Center.

Completion of wayfinding improvements – $100,000

The last phase of the two-year wayfinding project will conclude with gondola, parking, trail, and supplementary signage.


New staff hires

Based on the results of the Town IT audit and broadband studies, Town Council unanimously voted to hire a new, senior-level director to oversee the upcoming 1G broadband capacity expansion, adoption, installation of essential cybersecurity measures and determine next steps with our cable system. This was the only new position approved for hire in 2019.

Financial transparency

Lastly, we are very excited about the launch of a new interactive tool that allows you to view all town budget and financial data in an easy, user-defined portal. The new financial transparency portal, in partnership with OpenGov, offers in-depth financial reporting with two years of actuals, current, and proposed budgets that can also be viewed in interactive charts and graphs.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me or any of your other Council members with any questions or concerns you may have.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year,

Happy Holidays,

Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

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