Ski area growth impacts at issue in deal with ski area
Editor’s note: Following are documents from the Breckenridge Town Council, including the draft language of an MOU intended to find agreement between Breckenridge, Summit County and Breckenridge Ski Resort on how to address impacts from ski area growth and expansion.
To: From: Date: Subject:
Town Council Tim Gagen, Town Manager December 2, 2010 Peak 6 MOU – Resolution
This memorandum provides background for Council as they consider a resolution approving a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Vail Summit Resorts, Inc., Summit County, and the Town of Breckenridge. This MOU concerns the Peak 6 expansion.
The Breckenridge Ski Area has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Forest Service to expand skiing on to Peak 6. As a part of the proposal, the public submitted a number of comments regarding the potential impacts of the expansion on not only the environment, but on some of the socio-economic aspects of the community.
The U.S. Forest Service, through the National Environmental Policy Act process (NEPA), is presently reviewing the potential environmental impacts of the proposal. Since the Forest Service NEPA process does not deal with social issues, the Ski Area formed a Task Force to examine the socio-economic comments that were received. The Peak 6 Task Force was comprised of representatives from the County, Breckenridge Town Council, citizens and the Ski Area, along with participation by the U.S. Forest Service.
The Task Force presented its findings to the Town and County in July of 2009. The findings have been incorporated in a Memorandum of Understanding. After several drafts and a joint meeting with the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), the MOU has been finalized for formal consideration by the Town, County and the Ski Area.
Council Action Requested
Council is being presented with a resolution approving the MOU for Peak 6, and is requested to consider this resolution at the December 14, 2010 Council meeting.
Citizen members of the Task Force have been forwarded a copy of the final MOU.
DRAFT November 2229, 2010 DRAFT MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
This Memorandum of Understanding (“Memorandum”) is entered into as of the ____ day of ______________________, 2010 and is intended to set forth the understanding of the TOWN OF BRECKENRIDGE (“Town”), SUMMIT COUNTY (“County”) and VAIL SUMMIT RESORTS, INC., doing business as Breckenridge Ski Resort (“BSR”) with respect to the social and socio-economic impacts identified in connection with the proposed expansion of the Breckenridge Ski Resort onto Peak 6 of the Ten Mile Range. Vail Summit Resorts is also sometimes referred to in this Memorandum as “VSR”.
BSR has submitted to the United Stated Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (“USFS”) a proposal to expand the existing Special Use Permit operating boundary of the Breckenridge Ski Resort (“Boundary”) to include ski terrain, an aerial tramway and a potential restaurant on Peak 6, as more fully described and set forth in the project proposal attached as Exhibit A. The USFS has accepted BSR’s proposal and is conducting a study of potential environmental impacts of the Peak 6 proposal as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). As required by NEPA, the USFS has solicited public comments about the Peak 6 proposal, some of which discussed the possible social or socio-economic impacts. To address these comments and provide the USFS analysis that may be useful in connection with its analysis of the Peak 6 proposal under NEPA, BSR, the Town and the County formed a task force to study potential social and socio-economic impacts on the Town and County of the Peak 6 proposal. After extensive public meetings, the task force issued its Summary of Key Findings and Guiding Principals dated July 1, 2009 (“Summary”). The Summary provided that a memorandum of understanding would be prepared to ensure that BSR, the Town and the County were in general agreement on actions to be taken by each relative to the findings and recommendations of the task force.
Understandings The parties understand and agree as follows:
1. Quality of Life.
(a) BSR agrees that it will not apply for or undertake any residential or commercial development on or at the base of Peak 6, except for skier service facilities approved by the USFS.
(b) BSR agrees that it will not apply for or undertake any expansion of the Boundary beyond the Peak 6 expansion, unless requested by the Town and County in response to potential future community considerations.
(a) The goal is to avoid negative impacts on the employee housing supply currently available in the Upper Blue River Basin from BSR employees added to operate Peak 6. An increase in the occupancy of residential housing owned or controlled by BSR will not be deemed a negative impact on employee housing supply. The Upper Blue River Basin generally includes the area of Summit County (including the Town of Breckenridge) between the south of end of Lake Dillon and Hoosier Pass.
(b) BSR owned or controlled employee housing at Breckenridge Terrace (“BSR Housing”) currently has the capacity to accommodate the estimated number of additional employees required to operate Peak 6. To maximize the capacity of the BSR Housing, BSR will manage the BSR Housing to reduce vacancy and turn over times when BSR employees are seeking housing in BSR Housing.
(c) If BSR does not project that the BSR Housing will be filled by BSR employees, BSR will work with other employers in the Upper Blue River Basin to make such excess capacity available for rental by their employees.
(d) Upon completion of each phase of the development of the Peak 6 Improvements, BSR will notify the Town and County of the actual number of additional employees required initially to operate that phase of improvements and will restrict by covenant units in BSR Housing at least equal to 40% of such number of employees times 350 square feet. In addition, such covenant will restrict the units so as to be permanently affordable at 50% AMI. Affordability shall be determined by using the same methodology as is provided for in already existing covenant(s) restricting the rental rates of certain units of BSR Housing, but adjusting for the 50% AMI provided for above.
3. Social Services
(a) The goals are to avoid negative impacts on the availability of health and human services resulting from BSR employees added to operate Peak 6 and to provide a framework to identify, discuss and take agreed upon actions in response to the broader demands/impacts of BSR employees on agencies and entities providing health and human services in Summit County.
(b) BSR will work with the Summit C.A.R.E. Council and local government to: (i) identify the demands, if any, that Peak 6 employees place on governmental agencies and non- profit entities providing health and human services in Summit County; (ii) discuss, establish and implement agreed upon actions to meaningfully limit the impacts of the Peak 6 operations on the provision of health and human services in Summit County; and (iii) determine and report on the status and need for health and human services in Summit County, with an emphasis on those services impacted by additional BSR employees required for operation of Peak 6. BSR will take into account such reported status and needs and any such reported impacts when making decisions on levels and areas of charitable support.
(c) BSR, through its charitable giving programs including Vail Resorts Echo, already provides substantial support to social service and nonprofit organizations in Summit County and will continue to provide support regardless of whether the Peak 6 project is constructed.
(d) The parties recognize the limited scope of BSR’s Peak 6 proposal and certain task force discussions, nonetheless, BSR has volunteered that this Memorandum will provide a framework to identify, discuss and take agreed upon actions in response to the broader demands/impacts of BSR employees on governmental agencies and non-profit entities providing health and human services in Summit County. To that end, BSR has agreed, first, to have a representative participate on the Summit C.A.R.E. Council and, second, to have a senior executive of BSR meet with the Care Council twice per year, and BSR intends to continue to do so regardless of whether the Peak 6 project is constructed. Through its participation on the CARE Council, BSR will fulfill the purpose not only of discussing, identifying and taking agreed upon action in response to impacts directly related to the Peak 6 expansion and cumulative affects of growth at BSR but will also participate in discussions of broader impacts to social and human services in Summit County.
4. Parking and Transportation.
(a) The goal is to avoid additional days when the principal roads and intersections of the Town are operating at Level of Service F as a direct result of increased traffic from the Peak 6 project.
(b) BSR is already working and will continue to work with the Town, County and local community to address parking and transportation issues, including such things as: (i) coordination of BSR’s bus program with the Summit Stage and the Town, including by participation with the Town in updating the integration of Town and BSR transit systems portion of 2001 Transportation, Circulation and Main Street Reconstruction Plan for the Town of Breckenridge; (ii) development of comprehensive, long term strategies in cooperation with the Town for transportation demand management to include transit and parking tools or mechanisms geared toward achieving the goal set forth above, as well as to reduce environmental impacts and to increase efficient use of parking lots; and (iii) annually addressing the results of such coordination and strategies as part of the process already provided for in the Cooperation Agreement between BSR and the Town dated March 9, 2004, which requires BSR executives to meet with Town executives after the end of each winter season to identify problem solving strategies to be implemented for the next winter season. As part of the negotiations of the proposed business issues agreement related to the Gondola Lots Master Plan, the Town and BSR also intend to identify and address parking and transportation issues related to the full terrain expansion of the ski mountain within the Breckenridge Ski Resort, including, without limitation, the Gold Rush parking lot.
(c) BSR will continue to allow free parking on its pay lots after 3:00 p.m. during the winter season as a means of alleviating congestion on Town streets and demand for Town parking.
5. USFS Process.
(a) The Town and County acknowledge that the USFS is responsible for the approval, any conditions to approval, or the rejection of BSR’s proposal for the Peak 6 expansion based on the USFS standards and guidelines as well as the analysis under NEPA. The foregoing does not constitute a waiver or limitation on any existing or future review authority, jurisdiction or responsibility of the Town or County regarding the proposed Peak 6 expansion, including any development or impacts related thereto.
(b) The Town and the County acknowledge that the potential social and socio- economic issues identified as relating specifically to the Peak 6 project have been identified and discussed through the task force process. This Memorandum provides a framework to address the Peak 6 project impacts specifically and for the identification, discussion and future implementation of actions in response to broader impacts within Summit County resulting from BSR operations. The Town and County recognize and appreciate BSR/VSR’s ongoing charitable giving program efforts within Summit County, which has significantly helped to mitigate negative social and socio-economic impacts in Summit County. In regards to the mitigation of the social and socio-economic issues relating to the Peak 6 Project, the Town and County support the project and the implementation of this Memorandum provided that all other aspects of the Peak 6 project are deemed acceptable or otherwise adequately mitigated to the satisfaction of the Town and County.
Definition and Conditions
A. Negative Impacts. Negative impact as used herein means that the impact must have a material adverse effect on the service, facility or function contemplated.
B. No Disqualification. The thoughts, concerns and opinions of those Town Council members or County Commissioners who participated in the task force process or participate in the approval of this Memorandum, or any future agreement contemplated by this Memorandum, may not be construed or interpreted for any reason as a pre-judgment of any actual agreement or application which may hereafter be subject to approval by the Town or County and may not form the basis of any claim that any Town Council member or County Commissioner should be disqualified from reviewing any agreement or subsequent application.
C. Documents Submitted. Any documents submitted to the Town or the County by BSR/VSR in connection with this Memorandum shall become public documents subject to the provisions of the Colorado Public (Open) Records Act (Article 72 of Title 24, C.R.S.). BSR/VSR waives any claim of confidentiality with respect to any such documents. However, the Town and the County acknowledge that certain information they may request may be proprietary in nature and/or subject to restrictions on public disclosure. In such cases, the parties will establish a mechanism or mechanisms, which may include confidential review by mutually acceptable independent professionals, for the submission of any such requested information in order to insure that it does not become” public record“. Further, the Town and the County agree that any such mechanisms will include a provision requiring the Town and the County to give BSR/VSR reasonable notice and an opportunity to secure, at its own expense, such protective orders as may be available to prohibit or limit disclosure.
D. Condition on BSR Commitments; Enforcement. BSR/VSR’s obligations to perform its agreements and commitments provided for in this Memorandum will be specifically enforceable by the Town or the County, except that BSR/VSR’s obligations to perform its agreements and commitments provided for in Sections 1(a), 1(b), 2(b), 2(c), 2(d), 3(b), 3(c) and 3(d) of this Memorandum are specifically conditioned on Town and County support of the Peak 6 project and construction of the first phase of improvements for Peak 6 as described in Section 5(b).
TOWN OF BRECKENRIDGE
By:_________________________________ Timothy J. Gagen, Town Manager
SUMMIT COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
By: ________________________________ Robert H.S. French, Chairman
VAIL SUMMIT RESORTS, INC.
By: ________________________________ Pat Campbell, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Breckenridge Ski Resort