Before the Telluride Town Council for consideration on Tuesday, Oct. 9 was the first reading of a controversial ordinance proposing to annex a 19.26 acre parcel along Tomboy Road that is contiguous to the Town of Telluride.
The property owner, Giacobetti Bos Family Trust, proposes to donate approximately 14 acres of land on the hillside above Tomboy Road to the town as open space, in exchange for the right to build two houses – one with a footprint of 5,000 square feet, and one slightly smaller, below Tomboy Road.
If the property remains as it is now in the county, only one smaller home could be built on the property, per recently adopted County Open Space Zone District regulations.
The hybrid public/private annexation proposal has drawn the ire of neighboring residents.
In September, the Town of Telluride’s Planning and Zoning Commission recommended by a split vote of 3-2 that the town should grant the annexation request, in spite of extensive public concerns expressed at the Sept. 20 and 27 P&Z meetings.
San Miguel County has also recommended approval of the annexation, noting that if the proposed development takes place within the town, the homes can tap into city water and sewer infrastructure which would have less impact on the environment than digging wells and septic systems.
After taking over two hours of complex testimony from the town’s Interim Building and Planning Director Michelle Haynes and a team of consultants for the property owners, and with many others in the room who had not yet had a chance to speak on the matter, council agreed to continue the public hearing at its next regular meeting on Oct. 30.
“I have always been a proponent of intelligent development,” said Councilor Thom Carnevale at one point during the lengthy discussion. “But to me, a smaller home versus two much larger homes doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Carnevale noted that in the end, in spite of the strength of the arguments put forth for and against annexation, the final decision is up to council. “I am trying to grope for distinct advantages,” he said.
Town and Film Fest Partner on Pavilion Project
Thanks to a significant pledge of support from the Telluride Film Festival, the Telluride Town Council has fast-tracked a $1.75 million project to enclose the Town Park Pavilion and thus make it more suitable as a multi-use facility.
The project was slated to be implemented in phases over a three-to-five year period, but Film Festival viewership numbers are up, and festival planners needed an ancillary venue to screen films for the upcoming 40th anniversary season, Town Manager Greg Clifton explained.
“They expressed a desire to see the pavilion facility become enclosed sooner rather than later, and offered to fundraise and contribute three quarters of a million dollars,” he said. “That was a game changer for us.”
San Miguel County has also donated $75,000 toward the project to purchase multi-use flooring for the facility. The Town of Telluride is paying for the remainder of the project out of its capital fund. “We have shuffled things around in terms of priority, moving this project up to the front burner and scaling a few other projects back,” Clifton said.
Projects that got bumped to the back burner include scheduled improvements to Elks Park and the Town Park stage.
The existing Town Park Pavilion was constructed in 2004 and is a semi-enclosed facility with openings on the south, west, and north sides. The pavilion is currently used as an ice rink in the winter months (November through March) with limited other athletic activities and special events in the remaining months, including lacrosse, soccer, and Little League practice when outdoor fields aren’t dry.
“Enclosing the facility makes it much more suitable for multiple use for a lot of different user groups and certainly the Film Festival,” Telluride Parks and Recreation Director Stephanie Jaquet said.
When the project is complete, it would possible to have a functional ice rink in the summer as well as the winter months, due to enhanced climate control capabilities of an enclosed structure.
“But we would have to consider the carbon footprint to fire up the refrigeration plant,” Jaquet said. Making and melting ice is about a week-long process. Another solution would be to put down multi-use flooring over the ice when it is not in use.
Recently, town officials released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Pavilion Enclosure Design/Build Project. The deadline for applicants is this Friday.
Important design considerations identified by the town include:
• Accommodation of varied user groups,
• Incorporation of existing structure and utilities,
• Minimization of light and noise impacts on neighborhood,
• Employment of environmental standards throughout the design, construction, and
Construction should begin early next spring, wrapping up in time for the 40th anniversary of the Telluride Film Festival in September 2013.
“It’s an aggressive schedule,” Clifton acknowledged.
Jaquet is overseeing the implementation of the project, assisted by her predecessor Rick Harringon. The project management team also includes Dave Lamb of the town’s Parks and Rec Commission, town planning staffer Bob Mather and Brandt Garber representing the Film Festival.
When the project is complete, Clifton envisions the Pavilion enclosure being used as an ancillary venue for music festivals as well as the Film Festival.
“I would speculate that when this is completed there will be a lot more interest in those kinds of uses,” he said. “It’s an ongoing issue, trying to find a good music venue for smaller music events, especially with the closing of Llama on Main Street. It could suffice nicely if it is designed in a way to mitigate noise pollution, to be used for occasional music concerts without impact to surrounding residents.”
The venue could seat several hundred people, Clifton said.
Get Your Bluegrass Local’s Passes in November
Council approved a resolution permitting a maximum crowd size of 12,000 per day (the most allowed per city code) for the 2013 Telluride Bluegrass Festival, which takes place from Thursday, June 20 through Sunday, June 23, 2013. Last year, the cap was set at 11,500.
During a four-week period in November, 2,500 presale passes will be available for residents of San Miguel County to purchase at a holiday discount price. Each resident may purchase up to two passes, one for themselves, and one for a companion who doesn’t have to be local. Any passes left over will go back into the general pool.
The plan was devised as a way of minimizing scalping potential while protecting the ability of locals, as well as regional residents who are friends with Telluridians, to obtain a discount pass. Next year marks the 40th anniversary of Bluegrass and organizers anticipate an early sellout.
“This is an opportunity for you to purchase local passes early,” said Clifton, “but you need to act in November when tickets go on sale.”
No merchant’s passes will be available this year. “It was a highly abused privilege,” Mayor Stu Fraser said.
When purchasing local tickets, the town will require documentation of residency (not employment) in San Miguel County for the purchaser. All local concert attendees will subsequently receive wristbands in person at the box office when it opens in June and will be banded at the box office.
Another Record Month for Sales Tax Revenues
The summer of 2012 continues to yield a bumper crop of sales tax revenues. Revenues for the month of August were the highest on record for that month, rolling in at $467,475.06, a 20.99 percent increase from a year ago. July was also a record-busting month.
“What is definitely coming out of all of this is the strength of Telluride’s summer season,” said Town Manager Greg Clifton.
This August had three things going for it that did not occur last year: the Pro Challenge cycling event, The Ride music festival, and an early start to the Telluride Film Festival, with the bulk of revenues from that event being logged in the month of August rather than September. Town officials are now waiting to find out how September sales tax revenues will rack up.
Town Finance Director Lynne Beck reported that October has already seen $426,500 in Real Estate Transfer Tax revenues roll in, due to a couple of significant sales that occurred earlier this month.
CAB Is Kaput
After lengthy discussion Tuesday, council voted to dissolve the Citizen’s Advisory Board (CAB), which acts as a conduit between the community at large and the Telluride Marshal’s Department. The board has not held a meeting since May. CAB’s charter will remain intact, in case it becomes necessary to reinstate the board in the future.