Friday, March 31, 2017

Silverthorne selects a developer for Fourth Street Crossing project

#Silverthorne #Colorado
Courtesy Town of Silverthorne

Summit Daily News Link

The town of Silverthorne selected Milender White as the developer on Wednesday for the new Fourth Street Crossing redevelopment.
The project aims to revitalize the 3.8 acres of land between Third and Fourth Streets off of Blue River Parkway. The town issued a request for proposals for the project in January. Applicants went through a panel interview made up of 13 town staff and council members, as well as the area's landowners.
Milender White and the town are set to start on planning and community outreach next month.
Initial concept plans and a video walkthrough can be found on the town's website at The current design has a plaza surrounding The Historic Mint restaurant.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

New women’s Colorado Classic added to Pro Road Tour cycling calendar

#Breckenridge #Colorado

Summit Daily News Link

On March 27, officials with the Colorado Classic — the state's newest pro-level cycling event to hit roads this August — announced that the women's stage race has been added to the prestigious USA Cycling Pro Road Tour, which showcases the premier domestic road events in the United States.
"The U.S. has consistently produced women who have won Olympic medals and World Championships," said Sean Petty, women's race director and UCI Road Commission member. "I'm proud we get to showcase some of the best riders in the world for two tough days of women's racing in Colorado."
The women's Colorado Classic will be held on Thursday, Aug. 10, in Colorado Springs and Friday, Aug. 11, in Breckenridge. A separate women's criterium, which is not part of the Colorado Classic stage race, will feature pro and amateur riders the evening of Aug. 11, in Denver. The men's Colorado Classic will be held Aug. 10-13, with starts and finishes in Colorado Springs, Breckenridge and Denver. Sanctioned by Union Cycliste Internationale and USA Cycling, the men's Colorado Classic will feature the sport's top squads, and all riders in the Colorado Classic will compete on the same courses. Details on teams, riders and routes will be announced later this spring.
The USA Cylcing Pro Road Tour, or PRT, features the nation's top road-cycling events and is open to both professional and amateur cyclists. The PRT showcases events across the U.S., including criteriums, road races, stage races and omniums. Over the course of six months, the PRT gives overall individual and team rankings for men and women, and then crowns PRT champions following 21 events from coast to coast.
"The Colorado Classic's commitment to a women's race is important for women's cycling in general, and will serve as a great platform to recruit new participants and fans to the sport," said Laura Charameda, a former pro rider who serves as the director of competition for the Colorado Classic women's race. Born in Santa Rosa, California, she won more than 250 women's races during her professional career, including multiple National Championship titles and a World Championship medal.
"Women's cycling is in a growth phase globally and interest is strong in North America, so we expect a robust response to the women's event in Colorado," Charameda continued.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Breckenridge roundabout and trolley updates hope to lessen congestion woes

#Breckenridge #Colorado
Summit Daily News

Summit Daily News Link

The town of Breckenridge plans on diving headfirst into several parking and transportation projects in the coming months. While the process will be slow going, staff and council members are hoping that it will improve the town's congestion woes for the better.
"We want people to know that we are doing these projects," said Kim Dykstra, the director of communications for the town. "We know the product's going to be great once it's finished."
During the work session on Tuesday, council members got an update on the gondola study from SE Group, a strategic planning firm. The study was approved by the council during the retreat meeting on Feb. 14 to see if a gondola system would work as an effective mode of transportation in town. Ken Sharp, a principal with the firm, and project manager Gabby Voelle proposed breaking the project into separate phases, starting with a planning phase, and then a development phase. At the end of the first phase, council could vote to continue with the project or to cancel it.
The cost of the gondola was a concern. It was estimated that the gondola could cost between $800 to $1,000 per hour to run. Additionally, each gondola station would cost $2 million to build. Sharp said that SE Group built the presentation with another consultant, LSC Transportation. Both groups would work together to gather data on bus ridership and where some of the most popular destinations are, in the hopes of finding an optimal spot for the gondola in town.
After discussion on the presentation, council approved continuing the study.
Councilwoman Elisabeth Lawrence said that the council needs to get all the facts on the gondola to make sure it's a realistic plan for the town. Her hope is that the study can help council weigh costs on whether it's effective as a method of transportation.
Starting in late April, the town will begin construction on the first of several roundabouts, concentrating on Park Avenue. Construction on the roundabout at Four O'Clock Road had been delayed because the town needed to have an engineering study done. The study is a requirement from the Colorado Department of Transportation, which operates Colorado State Highway 9.
Road closures for the roundabout at the Park and Four O'Clock intersection are scheduled to start on April 24 and run through June 30. Park will be closed from Ski Hill Road to the F Lot entrance. Detour maps can be found on the town's website.
The council is hopeful that roundabouts will help to lessen congestion that often backs up traffic on Park Avenue. During their retreat session on Feb. 14, the council gave the go ahead to start planning on six roundabouts.
"It's going to be messy for a while with all the construction," said Hal Vatcher, a Breckenridge resident who has been on the Parking Task Force for more than a year.
He added that he hopes residents will focus on the end game, which will help traffic issues in Breck in the long run.
Lawrence said that in the summer of 2018 the council is hoping to start working on two roundabouts at the same time, adding that there is a small window for construction.
"The summer season is so short here, we really need to take advantage of that," she said.
Congestion throughout the town takes up manpower from the Breckenridge Police Department. Officers have been working on various problem-solving and community policing projects, many of them involving traffic and pedestrian congestion on Main Street, as well as safety assessments to help prevent accidents, according to the department's annual report.
Breckenridge Police Chief Dennis McLaughlin estimated that for 30 days out of the year the force has to hold all calls because officers are directing backed-up traffic.
The annual report also talked about speeding issues on French Street. Residents of the area told town staff that parking in the area has increased since the start of paid parking in the town. The jump in the number of cars has made it difficult for some homeowners to park near their homes or use their driveways. The town held a meeting with residents in order to start rectifying the issue.
"We've impacted them, no question," Vatcher said. "Now how do we solve it?"
Councilwoman Wendy Wolfe said that local meetings are an important part of keeping open communication with Breckenridge residents. The town also recently put together an animated video ad with updates on parking projects in the works.
The video highlights the additional trolley that council approved, extending downtown service. Council has also approved building at least 750 new parking spots throughout town. A majority of these spots will be part of a parking structure at the Ice Rink Lot. Vatcher estimates that the structure will have at least 400 new parking spots. Proposals for the ice rink structure are due to the town by Friday.
Wolfe agreed that construction for the various projects is going to create some difficulties within in the town, and said the council didn't want there to be any surprises for locals.
"We're going to go through tough times to get to a better place," she said. "We are making good progress."

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Copper Mountain plans beginner lift replacement, other summer improvements

#Copper Mountain #Colorado
Summit Daily News

Summit Daily News Link

Copper Mountain Resort has announced a slate of new infrastructure improvements to be completed this summer, including replacing the Kokomo chairlift with a longer, high-speed chair, installing new gate-access pass scanners and adding several family-oriented summertime activity offerings.
The announcement of the new upgrades comes shortly after the U.S. Forest Service granted final approval earlier this month to an expansion that includes upgrades for both winter and summer activities.
The biggest-ticket item on that list was an alpine coaster that will now be built on the west side of the American Flyer chairlift. At 5,800 feet, the coaster will be the longest of its kind in North America and operate during both the summer and winter months.
"The future is extremely bright for Copper," resort president and general manager Gary Rodgers said in a news release. "These strategic capital improvements will enhance our product offerings and truly elevate the year-round guest experience at Copper."
“The future is extremely bright for Copper. These strategic capital improvements will enhance our product offerings and truly elevate the year-round guest experience at Copper.”Gary RodgersCopper Mountain Resort president and general manager
The new improvements will be replicating some of the investments made at Killington Resort in Vermont, Copper's sister mountain that is owned by the same parent company, POWDR.
Killington, for instance, installed gated scanners and opened an alpine coaster in 2015. The same company that built Killington's, the Aquatic Design Group, will also build Copper's, and the new attraction will be about 1,000 feet longer.
Copper Mountain communications manager Stephanie Sweeney said the new projects are geared toward improving access for beginner skiing and riding while also providing alternatives to those activities.
That reflects a general trend at ski resorts that have been jockeying for market share in the rapidly expanding summertime market after a 2011 change in federal regulations opened the door for resorts to pursue recreation activities beyond skiing.
"The idea behind the Kokomo lift is to improve that beginner experience and get more people into the sport," Sweeney said. "The mountain coaster adds another activity for folks to do other than skiing and riding, and it will run in both the summer and winter months, which is pretty exciting."
The Kokomo lift — which services a handful of beginner trails on the western edge of the ski area — will be replaced with the Kokomo Express, a high-speed chair that will follow the same footprint as the old lift but extend more than 200 feet further downhill to provide access from Copper's West Village.
For the 2017-18 ski season, the Kokomo Express and all other mountain access lifts will feature gated terminals that automatically scan passes using radio-frequency identification technology, allowing them to be checked without manually scanning each individual pass holder.
The company that builds those machines, Mountain Pass Systems, boasts on its website that they provide easier access for skiers while also preventing pass frauds through biometric technology.
The gates, the website says, use cameras to create a physical profile of the person using each pass to verify whether or not it might have been transferred to someone else during the day.
If the system detects that a person using a pass has a substantially different physical profile, it flags them for further scrutiny from lift operators.
In addition to the Rocky Mountain Coaster, which is expected to be complete by September, the resort will also be looking to add to its non-skiing offerings with a summertime family snow zone and the Woodward Copper WreckTangle, an obstacle course that will be erected in Copper's Center Village.
"It will essentially be a 'ninja course' with foam pits, cargo nets and things like that," Sweeney said.
The family snow zone, meanwhile, will be an addition to the resort's annually built Big Island terrain park, which consolidates remaining snow near the base and rebuilds freestyle features as the snow melts.
The new section will be an area for kids and their families to play in the snow separately from the skiers and riders hitting terrain features in Big Island.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Breckenridge Town Council to vote on e-bike usage on trail system

#Breckenridge #Colorado

Summit Daily News Link

The work session for the Breckenridge Town Council session on Tuesday will start at 2 p.m. with the gondola study. During their last meeting, the council decided to do a first reading on e-bike usage on local trails. The item was not originally on the agenda, but the council decided to move forward with a vote after a presentation from Breck's Open Space and Trails department. The ordinance no longer allows e-bikes on the town's trails. The council will be doing a second reading on the ordinance during Tuesday's meeting.
The council will do first readings on the Cross Tab Development Agreement. The agreement would allow local residents to add an addition to their house above the current density limitation. The council will then do a first reading on a conveyance of Denison Placer 1 over to the Breckenridge Housing Authority. The council will then vote on a resolution on a permanent loan for Pinewood 2, as well as a resolution on the sales tax code.
Council member Mark Burke has been absent for the allotted amount of meetings. The council will vote at the meeting whether or not to retain his seat. The council will also look at Child Care Advisory Committee appointments.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

How CDOT calculates travel times

Summit Daily News

Summit Daily News Link

How are the travel times calculated for signs on I-70?
Isn't it handy when you get on Interstate 70 down in Denver, see the bright yellow lights above you reading, "Eisenhower Tunnel 3 hr. 5 min," and you can turn back around and grab some lunch before you even get stuck in those long traffic lines? But alas, nothing in life is that simple. Without diving too deep, you soon realize this is one of those times when we trade privacy for convenience. It's like socialism on wheels. Bob in the Odyssey gets his tag read all the way up the mountain for Suzie in the Subaru's convenience at the bottom of the hill. As long as you know that's what you're getting into, it all works fine.
In order to calculate travel times, the Colorado Department of Transportation reads toll tags and looks at sidefire radar and TTI, or Travel Time Indicators, to figure out how long a trip will take, and where the problems occur. It's not quite as simple as a one-to-one ratio though — for much of this they are actually reading the speed in front of the radar, not necessarily the vehicle itself. CDOT doesn't just watch poor Bob's struggles and relay his plight to you. Instead, the data is collected from several vehicles and transmitted back to CDOT where they then use an algorithm to determine speeds and travel times. Once the data is run through the computer, the system will then pop up with its master calculation on signs all along the road. This whole process happens every two minutes, too. This means that soon after a road rage incident turns into a 20-car pileup, drivers all along the route will know something is wrong up ahead. In circumstances of large crashes or road closures, that information will often be displayed on the sign as well. In that case, there are three little words that make gas tanks cry across the country and let you know it's time to turn around: "Alternate routes advised."
Beyond displaying travel times and ominous warnings, the road signs also allow CDOT to communicate statistics and driving tips to road warriors. Think of them like a grandma who grows increasingly more concerned with your life choices as you go along.
Beyond displaying travel times and ominous warnings, the road signs also allow CDOT to communicate statistics and driving tips to road warriors. Think of them like a grandma who grows increasingly more concerned with your life choices as you go along. If it helps get the message across feel free to read it with your name. Something like, "You know, Richard, the left lane is for passing only" soon escalates into panic mode with, "Richard, please! Move over and slow down for emergency personnel." Finally, at the point where your imaginary grandmother would be stomping on the imaginary brake, you might read something like, "537! There have been 537 traffic fatalities this year." The implication being you're No. 538 if you don't shape up.
Regardless of which family member you think these signs represent, big brother or nagging grandmother, know that the intent is to be helpful. If you already are an expert driver, feel free to ignore the signs, but be forewarned, no amount of skill is going to get you out of a three-hour wait at the tunnel.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Today’s top five things to do in Summit County

#Summit County #Colorado

Summit Daily News Link

Today's top 5 things to do in Summit County:

Breckenridge, March 25
10 a.m., Breckenridge Christian Ministries, 103 Sawmill Road. Trunk show to benefit Summit County Youth. New mens, ladies and kids gear for sale.
Dillon, March 25
10 a.m., Arapahoe Basin, 28194 U.S. Highway 6. All proceeds will benefit HC3. Tent village in the Base Area with Colorado businesses that practice sustainability. product giveaways, demos, a prize drawing and silent auction.
Breckenridge, March 25
7 p.m. (March 25), 6 p.m. (March 26), The Backstage Theatre, 121 Ridge St. With a new score from Andrew Lloyd Webber, School of Rock follows slacker Dewey Finn as he turns a class of straight-A students into an all-conquering rock band.
Keystone, March 25
8 p.m., Warren Station Center for the Arts, 164 Ida Belle Drive. Karl Denson's Tiny Universe is highly regarded as one of the best live bands on the planet. Karl serves as the saxophonist in The Rolling Stones.
Breckenridge, March 25
10 p.m., Historic Brown & The Fox's Den, 206 N. Ridge St. Dead Floyd is a celebration of the music of two of rock and roll's greatest bands, The Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd. $15.
To view a full listing of today's events visit

Friday, March 24, 2017

Summit County real estate roundup: High-end real estate sales see spike in January

#Summit County #Colorado
Summit County Assessors Office

Summit Daily News Link

Property inventory in Summit County remains low, causing a fast-moving market with a sense of urgency in the start of 2017.
Real estate sales for January started the year off strong with 136 sales, 12 more than the same time in 2016. Sales value also saw a boost. Revenue from sales was over $86 million, compared to $63 million last year.
Sales for properties hitting the million-dollar mark more than doubled in January. In 2016, there were 11 sales in that range. This year, January had 25 sales for properties at $1 million or more.
“I’ve never seen it like this. Right now it’s tight. It’s challenging for buyers to find property that meets all their criteria in our market given the low inventory.”Dennis ClauerOwner and broker at Real Estate of the Summit Inc.
Dennis Clauer, owner and broker at Real Estate of the Summit Inc., said that this shows that the high-end market is trending up.
The month's highest sale was a 4,500-square-foot home in Breckenridge that sold for more than $4 million. Before the most recent home was built on the plot, the land was home to a small gray shack. Beverly Breakstone, the assessor for Summit County, said that the previous owner sold the property in 2010. The shack was then torn down to make room for the new home.
January is not typically a strong month for real estate in the county. The reason for higher sales can be hard to nail down, especially because brokers are still seeing low property inventory. Breakstone said that the nice weather Summit has been seeing could be a factor. Nice weather can make it easier for brokers to show properties.
Cody Thomas, a broker associate with Paffrath and Thomas Real Estate, said that since Summit is still in vacation mode in January, there's not typically a high volume in sales. But this year, he said there was a sense of urgency for buyers trying to find the right property. Some of this is created by the brokers hoping to get eager buyers into homes. Having a low inventory means that properties have not been staying on the market for long.
"Part of that urgency is created by brokers to try and get these people that really want to be in the market and help them to get in," Thomas said.
In previous markets, buyers could take their time, and be more picky about shopping for a future home. Unlike last year, Thomas said that he's seen multiple offers for one property. While people are not getting bid up over asking price, he said that offers get closer to it because buyers are afraid the next property they look at may be more expensive.
"It was not this way last year. This year, who knows what will come available, so you might want to move on something," Thomas said.
Many of the recent stream of buyers are trying to take advantage of the low interest rates. But Clauer thinks that the recent interest rate raise will start to have an impact on the market. Nationally, he said that for every increase of one-tenth of a percent, home sales decline by approximately 35,000 units. Average mortgage interest rates have risen from 3.5 to 4.2 percent.
"On a national basis … we're looking at maybe a slowing of sales by a quarter of a million units in an annual year because of that interest rate," Clauer said.
Currently, the market is enjoying the wealth effect from people who made money in the recent stock market increases. Clauer said that the effect helps to fuel buyers looking at resort properties.
As many as 40 percent of buyers, mostly on the higher-priced end of the market, pay for properties upfront. The interest hikes are not going to affect these buyers. But on the lower end of the market, where the county has some of the lowest property inventory, Clauer suspects that demand will go down.
In the meantime, inventory remains a barrier for buyers, particularly those looking in the lower end of the market where there only a handful of properties available.
"I've never seen it like this," Clauer said. "Right now it's tight. It's challenging for buyers to find property that meets all their criteria in our market given the low inventory."
1. $4,060,000 — Breckenridge, TR 6-7B Sec 36 Qtr 4 (residential home)
2. $2,800,000 — Breckenridge, One Ski Hill Place, Unit 8421 (residential condo)
3, $2,795,000 — Breckenridge, Cottage at Shock Hill, Lot 11 (residential home)
4. $2,500,000 — Copper, Lewis Ranch at Copper, Lot 34R (residential home)
5. $2,220,000 — Breckenridge, Gilrose SUB, Lot 25 (residential home)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Summit County’s adoptable pets

#Summit County #Colorado
Courtesy Michael Yearout Photography

Summit Daily News Link

Pets available for adoption at the Summit County Animal Shelter.

Contact the Summit County Animal Shelter at 970-668-3230.
FRAPPI, 3 years, Domestic Shorthair, orange and white, neutered male
MIMI, 13 years, Domestic Longhair, gray tab and black, spayed female
YULE, 1 year 2 months, Domestic Shorthair, gray tab, neutered male
SNOWFLAKE, 2 years, Domestic Shorthair mix, black, neutered male
GRINGO, 2 years, Domestic Shorthair mix, black, neutered male
TULIP, 9 months, Domestic Shorthair, black and white, spayed female
COOPER, 9 months, Domestic Shorthair, black and white, neutered male
MITCHELL, 1 year, Siamese mix, flame point, neutered male
TORREY, 12 years, Domestic Shorthair, black, neutered male
CHIEF, 3 years, Domestic Shorthair, white and orng tabby, neutered male
SKITTLES, 3 years, Domestic Shorthair, white and orange, spayed female
CHEDDAR, 1 year, Domestic Shorthair, orng tiger, neutered male
PENNY, 2 years, Domestic Shorthair, brown tabby, spayed female
MITTENS, 2 years, Domestic Shorthair mix, black and white, spayed female
MR BIGGS, 3 years, Domestic Shorthair mix, white and gray tab, neutered male
RICKY MARTIN, 11 years, Domestic Shorthair mix, brown tabby, neutered male
BING, 13 years, Domestic Shorthair mix, orange and white, neutered male
ARNOLD, 16 years, Domestic Shorthair, brown tabby, neutered male
ROSIE PETAL, 3 years, Pit Bull Terrier and Boxer mix, white and tan, spayed female
COLBY, 3 years, Siberian Husky mix, tan and white, neutered male
MAX, no age, Miniature Pinscher mix, black and tan, neutered male
JERA, 1 year, Australian Cattle Dog mix, red merle, unaltered female
JESSY, no age, Australian Cattle Dog mix, blue merle and black, unaltered male
CARRIE, 1 year, Pit Bull Terrier mix, tan and white, spayed female
RHINO, 2 years, Pit Bull Terrier mix, brindle and white, neutered male
DIAMOND, 5 years, French Bulldog mix, black, spayed female
TANK, 3 years, German Shepherd Dog and Akita mix, blonde, neutered male
MIDNIGHT, 2 years, Australian Cattle Dog mix, black and tan, spayed female
SUGAR, 6 months, Chihuahua – Smooth Coated, white, unaltered female
OBI, 5 years, Tibetan Mastiff and Belgian Tervuren mix, brown, neutered male
HOWIE, 11 years, Cairn Terrier mix, tan, neutered male
SHAGGY, 1 year 2 months, Labrador Retriever and Doberman Pinscher mix, black, neutered male
KOA, 8 months, Bull Terrier and Siberian Husky mix, white and tan, neutered male

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Frisco BBQ Challenge hosting essay contest for Father’s Day weekend getaway

#Frisco #Colorado

Summit Daily News Link

The annual Frisco Colorado BBQ Challenge is once again sponsoring a contest to find a dad deserving of a chance to kick back during the event and enjoy some barbecue and quality time with the family.
Youth ages 16 and under are invited to submit a short essay detailing why there dad is most deserving of a free barbecue-filled weekend in Frisco. Essays should be no longer than 600 words and can be submitted at
The BBQ Challenge happens every Father's Day weekend, and this year that will be June 15-17. To enter the BBQ Challenge's Father's Day contest, youth 16 and under must submit a short essay detailing why their dad is deserving of a free BBQ-filled weekend in Frisco.
The winner will receive lodging for two nights — June 16 and 17 — in a two-bedroom condominium courtesy of Mountain Managers. They will also be awarded $100 worth of Hogbacks, the official currency of the Colorado Barbecue Challenge, and two tickets to Friday's "Rub It, Smoke It, Sip It," Whiskey Tour courtesy of the Breckenridge Distillery.
All essays must be submitted by midnight on Friday, May 5.
The 2017 Frisco Colorado BBQ Challenge will feature seven bands playing on the Main Street stage Thursday, Friday and Saturday and the 6K run, the Bacon Burner, on Saturday.
For more details about the Colorado BBQ Challenge, the Bacon Burner 6K run, lodging specials and activities, visit or call 1-800-424-1554.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Vail Underpass construction to resume in early April


The Colorado Department of Transportation will resume construction on the Interstate 70 Vail Underpass project. The project is in the final phase of completion. Contractors will return to Vail next week, with crews doing stonework through March.
On April 3, crews will continue with frontage road work. Lane closures will begin at the same time for crews to restripe lanes in preparation for frontage road detours. Detours will start on April 24. Crews expect to work on the roads from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the project. The final phase of construction is focusing on the underpass roundabouts. The project is scheduled to be completed by fall of this year.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Historic preservation is a mixed bag in Summit — “lots of places have disappeared.”

#Summit County #Colorado
Summit Daily News

Summit Daily News Link

Back in the 1970s, "spring cleaning" had a different meaning in Breckenridge: It referred to the practice of sprucing up the town by tearing down the old log cabin houses that had stood there for nearly a century.
At the time, local historian Maureen Nicholls said, people didn't see historic preservation as a priority — they were more interested in shedding the town's mining heritage and building up its new identity as a ski town.
"Back then if someone bought a property and there was a building on it they tore it down," Nicholls said. "Some of the buildings were pretty derelict, but I think that would've shocked some people in the town now. It was commended at the time."
As Breckenridge and the rest of Summit County have developed, however, the importance of preserving vestiges of the area's hardscrabble origins has taken on urgency among some locals.
An example of that came late last year in Frisco, when a proposed hotel on Main Street that would have required moving the historic Staley-Rouse House to a new location sparked outcry from residents, who argued that the town's last historic structure in its original spot should stay there.
After a series of contentious public meetings, the town revised the terms of the deal to keep the house on its current plot — although it will be moved closer to the street.
It's unclear if that will be grounds for removing the house from the state register of historic places, town staff said.
Had the original deal gone through, it would have been in keeping with Frisco's longstanding, laissez-faire approach to historic preservation.
Throughout building boom ins the 1980s and 1990s, 10 of Frisco's original structures were donated to the town and moved to the Frisco Historic Park and Museum in order to make way for new development. Many others were simply razed.
A full accounting of what has been lost is difficult to come by, because unlike Breckenridge — which has created an inventory of historic buildings throughout the town — Frisco doesn't keep a list of its historic assets.
That contrast reflects the two towns' very different approaches to historic preservation: Frisco doesn't need to keep a list of original buildings because there aren't any regulations in place restricting what owners can do with them, town staff said.
In Breckenridge, on the other hand, the 232 historic structures listed in its inventory lie within a nationally recognized historic district. Design standards established in 1992 limit what property owners can do to those structures and what they can build around them.
"The most important standards in the historic district have to do with the size of buildings: height, fa├žade width, square footage," said community development director Peter Grosshuesch. "In a resort community like this, property gets pretty valuable and people would tend to put a lot of square footage on those properties, and that blows away the surviving historic structures in terms of scale."
While that strict regulatory approach ensures more buildings are preserved, it also limits the freedom of property owners to do what they want with their land.
"It's hard for some people to realize they can't tear down an old shed," Nicholls said. "They think if you own a property why can't you build on it? It's private property and government, and it can be messy."
In Frisco, the town council has chosen to assume a more passive role in historic preservation, encouraging it when possible but generally ruling on the side of respecting property rights.
"Frisco has tended to think the carrot is sweeter than the stick," said community development director Joyce Allgaier. "Does it always work? No. We've razed a lot of buildings or moved them to the historic park."
But, Allgaier said, getting too heavy-handed with preservation infringes on the rights of property owners, who are entitled to do what they want with their property as long as it is line with the town code.
"I'm not sure you can always go 'pro-con,' but a 'pro' of the regulatory approach is there ends up being more historic fabric in your community," she said. "The downside is that it's a heavier hand of government, and people tend to not like that."
Instead, the town prefers to incentivize preservation on a case-by-case basis by offering leeway on zoning rules — things like setbacks and parking spaces — in exchange for developers choosing to preserve old structures.
In the Staley House deal, which was given final approval by the council on Feb. 14, developer Kelly Foote was granted exemptions from certain zoning rules. In exchange, he agreed to place the Staley property and his adjacent Foote's Rest sweet shop — itself a nationally-registered historic site that also includes several old cabins — under a historic preservation covenant, which will permanently protect them.
Dillon and Silverthorne take a similar hands-off approach, however those towns have only existed for around 50 years, and their historic holdings have all been moved from their original locations.
"In theory, once you move a building it loses some of its historic significance," Silverthorne mayor Bruce Butler said. "So in that sense, everything that has history in Silverthorne doesn't qualify for historic designation."
One historic structure in Dillon, the Rebekah Lodge, has been moved three times since it was built in Frisco in 1882. It could be on the chopping block if a proposed hotel development goes through.
Sandie Mather, president of the Summit Historical Society, said her organization would like to save the building if it can secure funding for purchasing and moving it.
If the price tag for the Rebekah proves to be prohibitive, it would join a long list of historic properties across the county that have been razed over the course of its transformation from mining country to a resort area.
"It's very interesting that the town is now 'rah rah' about historic preservation," Nicholls said, referring to Breckenridge. "But it's too bad they waited so long."

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Summit County remains a desirable location for hotel development

#Summit County #Colorado
Summit Daily News

Summit Daily News Link

Despite continued tourism growth in ski resorts, hotel developers are hesitant to build in the area. High construction costs and limited space to build on act as barriers in starting a successful hotel out in the mountains. But Ralf Garrison founder of DestiMetrics, a Denver-based resort analytics firm, said that it's also the seasonal business model that resorts have held on to for so long: businesses struggle to stay afloat when they're only busy for part of the year.
"The real challenge in the mountain resort industry is sustaining a solid, year round economic foundation," Garrison said.
Garrison said that hotels need to maintain an average of around 65 percent occupancy all year in order to sustain their businesses. For resort communities, there is a need to balance out the peaks of winter with the slower valleys in summer.
Despite barriers, some still consider Summit County a good investment for possible hotels. In December of 2015, the Hampton Inn opened in Silverthorne. A Residence Inn opened in Breckenridge at the end of 2016, replacing the Breckenridge Mountain Lodge. More recently, the town of Dillon's Planning and Zoning Commission approved plans for a six-story hotel. The hotel would be located at the entrance of the town, providing guests with views of the surrounding area. The hotel needs to be approved by the Dillon Town Council before moving forward.
Some of the towns in Summit naturally lend themselves to attracting summer guests because of their proximity to Lake Dillon. July and August tend to be the strongest months in the county, with other peaks during the three-day weekends for Memorial Day and Labor Day.
The Hampton Inn is operated and managed through a franchise agreement with Hilton and Denver-based Silverwest Hotels. Ed Mace, Silverest's president and CEO told the Daily last September that the Hampton's first summer of business went better than expected. He was not available to comment on recent occupancy numbers.
In Breckenridge, there has been a 13 percent increase in year round occupancy numbers from 2016 compared to 2013. Austyn Dineen, the public relations manager at the Breckenridge Tourism Office, said that a large portion of the growth was due to summer visitors, which have grown 25 percent over the same time frame. Winter visits also continue to see increases.
"Seasonality is nowhere near what it used to be," said Brett Russell, the senior vice president of HVS Denver and director of business development for HVS.
As a company, HVS works with businesses within the hospitality industry, aiding them with finance and market research.
Russell added that if resorts can increase year round offerings, it can push marketing opportunities further into spring and summer, using Copper Mountain as an example. The resort recently approved new plans for an alpine mountain coaster and bike trail hoping to draw summer visitors.
"The more that happens the less seasonality there is, and (resorts) can drive rates in the summer," Russell said.
Despite an increase in visitors coming in for the ski season, resort areas have not increased their bed base — total number of available beds for tourists — using traditional hotels. Instead, the burden falls on timeshares and condos. Airbnb, VRBO and other online markets that allow property owners to rent rooms have also started to take on some of the increase.
Russell added that in Breckenridge, the market has been focused around short-term rentals for the last 20 years, and that online opportunities have added to that pool.
Garrison added that after the United States started to rebound from the Recession, there was a spike in demand for lodging. But real estate was never added to supply the demand, causing unit prices to go up. A larger bed base means more people can stay in the area, where they will likely shop or spend money at local restaurants. While the hospitality industry may have an indirect competitor in online rental companies, Garrison said that they build on the community economy as a whole.
"It's gotten more and more economically viable for somebody that owns their unit, or rents their unit out long-term, to move it over and make it available short-term," Garrison said. "Now we have a new source of beds during high seasons coming from the occasional use of a rent by owner. That's good for the overall community."