Avon residents weigh in on hotel plan
VOICE YOUR OPINION
Mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 p.m. Dec. 13 or attend the Avon Town Council’s regular meeting that evening.
AVON — With a 142-room hotel as their goal, Treadstone Development LLC presented plans to the community this week in a special meeting at Town Hall. The meeting was called as a public hearing in an effort to obtain opinions from residents and stakeholders on the development, which would take place near the Lodge at Avon between West Beaver Creek Boulevard and Main Street Mall on the parking lot known as Lot B. What would become of that parking lot was the major concern cited by residents and council members.
Keith Hampton with Treadstone told the council the company is committed to providing more parking than would be required by town code. Lot B currently contains 126 spaces for open use, the Treadstone project would provide 204 spaces to be used by the new hotel, the Lodge at Avon Center, Alpine Bank and others.
“We really looked at (parking) as an obligation,” Hampton said. “It’s a community benefit that was always envisioned to happen and needed to be a part of this development.”
Town code would require Treadstone to build approximately 184 spaces. After commissioning a parking study earlier this year, Treadstone determined there was some inefficiencies on the current lot.
“We watched people pull into Lot B and walk off to go skiing, pull into Lot B and go to work somewhere else. We see people parking long-term trailers and other things on the lot. We really understood from that how many spaces we really needed in order to make it a go,” Hampton said.
WHAT ABOUT BOB’S PLACE?
Only three members of the community spoke out at the public hearing. Among them was Tom Crosby, a longtime home owner and board member at the Lodge at Avon Center. He said at their meeting last Saturday, property owners at the Lodge at Avon Center showed a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for the project, but also had a lot of questions.
“There’s certain assumptions in the parking plan that I saw that are not necessarily applicable to what the realities are of the tenants and the owners, particularly the commercial owners, in that building,” Crosby said.
The Lodge at Avon Center contains numerous condos, rental units and retail spaces. The retail space in the closest proximity to the parking on Lot B is Bob’s Place, a sports bar that boasts of its ability to broadcast any and every game possible on its 17 plasma screen televisions.
“Access, and how you get to Bob’s Place, which is very busy on certain days, what’s that going to mean to them?” Crosby asked.
CACIOPPO: WATCH YOUR DIET
Michael Cacioppo lives at the Lodge at Avon Center and also spoke out at the public hearing, saying the town’s road diet effort on West Beaver Creek Boulevard, which seeks to trim the four-lane road down to two lanes, will come back to haunt the town if the hotel proposal is realized.
“If you don’t have a left turn lane from the roundabout going into Avon Center, and you’re taking out the current left turn lane into Bob’s parking place … you’re going to back traffic up,” Cacioppo said. “The problem isn’t the hotel, the problem is … five members of the (seven-member) council. If you continue down this path of the road diet … you’re creating a major problem for these folks.”
Council members Matt Gennett and Jake Wolf have been vocal in their non-support of the road diet idea.
Cacioppo also said he was upset that he did not have a chance to address the public in the usual fashion at the town’s Nov. 16 meeting about the road diet, where “public input” was listed on an agenda that was sent out about the meeting. Citizens at the meeting were asked to break into small groups to offer their input and Cacioppo was expecting to address the entire group from the podium as is common practice at public meetings in Avon.
“I don’t know why you don’t allow people to speak when you call a public hearing,” Cacioppo said. “That isn’t for going into small groups to prevent us from speaking, that’s why we showed up and spent the time to write things ahead of time, so that we could try to caution you before you make these expensive mistakes that could approach $1.8 to $2.5 million bucks.”
The West Beaver Creek Boulevard road diet was included in the 2017 budget at a cost not to exceed $2.7 million.
LETTER DEADLINE IS DEC. 13
The hotel plan will come back before the council on Tuesday. At that time, the Town Council will also consider a funding request from Treadstone, who is asking for $40,000 to fund landscaping in the public right of way and $50,000 to connect to the town’s heat recovery infrastructure. “If approved, funding would be appropriated from the Urban Renewal Fund budget, which will benefit from increased tax increment revenue generated from the Avon Hotel development, if approved,” the town wrote in a release. Council members received two letters from community members who couldn’t make the Dec. 5 meeting; prior to the meeting the town asked citizens to send letters to Town Clerk Debbie Hoppe at email@example.com. The letters were not supportive of the funding request.
“Taxpayer funding, no matter where it comes from in the town’s budget, is unnecessary for this project,” wrote Todd Shollenberger of Avon.
“Current low interest rates for construction and the town’s commitment to Main Street should be enough to encourage the development of Lot B,” wrote Guy Erickson, also of Avon.
The town will continue to accept letters through Tuesday at 1 p.m. and there will be another public hearing on the matter during the Tuesday regular meeting.