MOUNTAIN VILLAGE – Even as the Telluride Hospital District Board of Directors contemplates whether to re-approach the Telluride electorate this fall, with the first step in a revised strategy to secure land in that town for a future, expanded medical center, Mountain Village is signaling that it may be receptive to locating a new facility there.
As it undergoes its 15-year comprehensive planning process, the Town of Mountain Village is reviewing its remaining developable parcels and determining a range of suitable uses for each – and a new medical center is a real possibility for a few.
“We actually have sub-area plans that are evolving that show [a medical center] as a use,” confirmed Community Development Director Chris Hawkins, who indicated that suitable locations are found in both the Village Core and Town Hall areas of Mountain Village.
“We have to look at all available sites,” said THD Board President Bill Grun.
“We’re happy to have a community that’s thinking about the need for a new med center and where you would put it,” he said.
In the fall of 2008 the THD Board failed to convince the Telluride electorate to pass both of two ballot questions that would have allowed it to build a new facility on two town-owned lots known together as the “RV Lot.”
Located directly west of Mahoney Drive, the RV Lot is formed by Lot 48A, and about one-half acre of the South Pearl Property. Both lots are largely paved.
While building is permitted on Lot 48 A, which is located within the Accommodations Two Zone District, the South Pearl Property portion of the RV Lot, which is in the Public Purpose Zone District that provides for limited public facilities and limited commercial uses on review, it is governed by a 1998 ordinance that prohibits development of any kind on the Pearl Property for wetlands protection.
During the 2008 election, the THD’s Question 200, which passed by three votes, gave the Town of Telluride the right to sell the RV Lot to the hospital district.
But to proceed with plans for a new facility there, the THD also needed the community to authorize Question 201, which would have amended the 1998 ordinance; that question failed by six votes.
At that time the voters also denied a third question, of whether or not to approve a $15 million bond to help pay for a new facility.
Unlike the three questions posed to voters in the 2008 election, this time around the THD board is evaluating whether ask the Telluride electorate only to reconsider the ordinance that prohibits development on part of the RV Lot.
“They have given pause to that thought because of the receptive response by the Town of Mountain Village toward locating the Med Center there,” said Hospital Administrator Gordon Reichard.
“We are located currently in Telluride, we’re happy here, and we’re not looking at moving,” he said.
“But the reality is that eventually our lease will be up here and we have to secure land, otherwise there will not be a medical center in Telluride/Mountain Village.”
The Telluride Medical Center is currently located in a building leased to it by the Idarado Mining Co. Its lease expires in 2032.
The conversation is very much in its infancy and should not be perceived as an attempt by Mountain Village to “woo’ the Telluride Medical Center away from Telluride, said Mayor Bob Delves, who indicated that Telluride remains to him the “logical location” for a future medical center because of its role as the region’s commercial center, its grid layout (versus the long cul-de-sac that is Mountain Village) and its larger fulltime population.
“There has been no discussion between the Med Center board [of directors] or [town] council, but if that board were to approach council about locating the Med Center here I think we would give it a full and open and honest hearing,” he said.
But given the proximity of Mountain Village to the ski area and its own growing fulltime population, there’s a persuasive argument for moving the medical center there, he added.
“I think there could be a lot of upside to having that kind of business in Mountain Village,” he said.
“We would want to give it a thorough review.