Mountain Village hotel

A group of people view the site of the proposed hotel project on Lot 161 CR in Mountain Village Wednesday morning. (Photo courtesy of Kathrine Warren/Mountain Village)

The Mountain Village Design Review Board approved and recommended the third required application for the Lot 161 CR Hotel Site Specific Planned Unit Development (SPUD) process to Town Council during a special meeting Wednesday morning. Board members Scott Bennett and Ellen Kramer were the two dissenting votes, while the other five voting members approved it. Board member David Craige did not vote on the agenda item, as he missed an hour of the meeting, particularly the public comment portion, due to another obligation. He did participate in the deliberations, during which he spoke against the current application and suggested several changes, before a motion was made and the official vote took place.

“In the number of years I've been on this board we have never been so thorough in architectural and design plan, and had prospective builders see to our requests, not only with height, but design, and I commend Dev (Motwani, president and CEO of Merrimac Ventures and applicant) and his team for being so accommodating,” board member Liz Caton said. “I don't feel that we've had to argue much over what you guys are doing or what we want. And I think it's important to note that the mass and scale conversation is (Thursday) with the Town Council. Our purview, as design review board, is to look at the architectural plans and the landscaping, and discuss the lighting and the roof and the materials and all the things that they've presented. And I think they've done a fabulous job. And I'm in favor and look forward to seeing a hotel built.”

Town Council will have the first reading of an ordinance considering the final site-specific PUD for a mixed-use hotel/resort development adjacent to the gondola in the Village Center during its regular monthly meeting Thursday. Town Council is slated to begin the discussion regarding the project at 4:15 p.m.

The project currently includes plans for 53 dedicated hotel rooms, 38 branded residences that constitute an additional 77 hotel keys when not in use by the owner, 29 condominiums and 10 employee apartments. Food and beverage spaces, a ballroom, spa and retails shops are also included as part of the project, which is most likely going to be a Four Seasons hotel.

The height of the proposed project has been the most discussed aspect throughout the process. Currently, the maximum height is just under 90 feet, which is a nearly six-foot reduction from previous plans presented to the design review board.

Kramer, Bennett and Craige all expressed concerns about the current height. A site walk was held prior to the special meeting, with balloons placed at certain points to convey the potential height of the buildings.

Kramer said people could really get a sense of the “immensity” of the project, particularly where the residential towers would be.

“Those do not step back into the hillside. That is going to be a big plane of a wall,” she said.

Craige expressed disappointment about the lack of story poles, which the board had previously discussed.

But most board members felt the applicant had met the conditions necessary for recommendation to Town Council, including the height, landscaping, lighting and roof design.

“I'm very impressed with how the applicant has handled all our concerns. And many, many, many questions, many different aspects of this and all the clarifications that had to come forward, then all the meetings. It's been quite a scenario. You know, I think given the parameters and constraints with the land, you all have done a great job of trying to depict a hotel, and not have it be one giant, massive block, but broken up, angled. And honestly, before I came today, I was very happy with everything, but I was somewhat concerned about the design of the building. I thought it looked in the pictures, kind of cold, I couldn't tell if the roof was slanted all that much to soften the look, so it didn't look square or rectangular,” board member Greer Garner said. “And now I see from the pictures and further information, that in fact, it does look softer. ... I love the depiction you have that you've shown us. But I was concerned how these materials will actually look once it goes up, keeping it soft, which the landscaping will do. And it's incredible all the landscaping you're proposing. And I think that will be a critical part. It's a lot to accomplish. You know, overall, now that I've heard your explanations today, and seeing different colorful renderings. I'm more comfortable saying that I'm happy with your application and think we should go forward and think you've done a good job and do appreciate your efforts.”

The first public hearing for the project was held in February. The first conceptual approval was granted by Town Council in March. The second sketch approval application was approved in May.

The board also unanimously approved Wednesday a recommendation to Town Council to replat the properties into one 4.437-acre lot.

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