Sunlight developers win key vote by GarCo board

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A proposed redevelopment of Sunlight Mountain Resort cleared a significant first hurdle Wednesday night as a result of a vote by the Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission.

The commission voted 4-2 to change portions of the project property from low-density residential to recreational zoning under the county’s comprehensive plan.

Developers considered that decision crucial to being able to proceed with the project. They want to build 830 housing units and 110,000 square feet of commercial space at the base of the resort.

Larry Green, an attorney for the developers, said it would have been unlikely they could win final approval for the project had the commission not first amended the county’s comprehensive plan.

Commissioners voted after hearing Wednesday from a couple of dozen people who mostly spoke in favor of changing the comprehensive plan so the development itself could be reviewed. Several also spoke of the development’s importance to the area’s tourism economy.

“I think that the entire county will benefit from this, not just the city of Glenwood Springs,” said Glenwood resident Joe Sprick.

Sunlight is under contract to be sold to Sunlight Mountain Development LLC, a Florida-based developer.

The sale is contingent on the developer winning approval for the base village project.

The resort’s current owners say they have lost nearly $1 million over the past 11 years and that the new development is needed for the resort to survive and be able to pay for improvements such as new lifts and snowmaking.

The county’s planning staff had recommended that the commission reject the change to the comprehensive plan. The staff contended the Sunlight developers were essentially asking for a high-density residential and commercial designation rather than a recreational one.

The project is scheduled to come back before the commission on Nov. 12.

Said Green, “We are looking forward to discussing the merits of the project with the P&Z.”


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