In Crested Butte, both the pro- and anti-development forces await word on the future of Snodgrass Mountain from the U.S. Forest Service's Region 5 Deputy Regional Forester Jim Peña, the Crested Butte News reports.
After local U.S.F.S. honcho Charlie Richmond kiboshed the resort's proposed expansion onto Snodgrass Mountain last fall (see the most recent OTE post on the controversy here), Crested Butte Mountain Resort appealed. Richmond kicked the decision to Peña in California, who heard Richmond's reasons for denying the resort the go-ahead on the NEPA process to explore the environmental impact of the proposed expansion. Crested Butte Mountain Resort has until March 24 to give him their side of the story.
CBN's Mark Reaman reports that Peña denied Colorado Ski Country USA, the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, and Friends of Snodgrass Mountain a seat at the table.
After resort executives say their piece, it could be a month before a final decision is made. From Reaman's March 3 piece:
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Forest Service spokesperson Janelle Smith said CBMR could schedule an oral argument with Peña between March 4 and April 8. After that argument takes place, the appeal record will be closed and Peña will have 30 days to make a decision on the appeal.
"We've asked for the opportunity to have an oral presentation and he said he would grant that request but we haven't set a date," said CBMR Vice President of Resort Planning Michael Kraatz. "Logistics haven't been discussed at this time but we figure that will be determined sometime next week."