CHERRY CREEK - Zoning laws in the town of Cherry Creek are being updated to assist with the sale of Cockaigne Ski Area.
Andrew Goodell, attorney leading the sale and state Assemblyman, said town officials have been working to update Cherry Creek's zoning laws to make the ski resort more attractive to potential developers.
''The zoning ordinances in Cherry Creek have not been updated in a number of years,'' he said. ''The Cherry Creek town supervisor (Kevin Anderson) and Town Board have been very helpful working on updating them to allow for much wider recreational activities to make it possible to make Cockaigne a year-round resort.''
Goodell said Cherry Creek officials have been working with the county Planning Department employees to ensure proper zoning laws are in place for potential Cockaigne buyers. He said the Cherry Creek Town Board should be passing the new laws within a few weeks.
''This is just to get zoning in line in case a potential developer wants to expand the facility,'' Goodell said.
The new zoning ordinances will authorize some year-round activities and than other uses will require a special-use permit to make sure the zoning board approves any new plans for the ski area.
''A new owner could operate a ski resort with no additional permits, but if you wanted to have a restaurant or bar you would need a special-use permit. This way the local zoning board could make sure issues like lighting and noise are all addressed,'' Goodell said. ''Zoning laws are passed to make sure developments are consistent with everything in place, as well as a vision for the future.''
In November 2011, Jack VanScoter, Cockaigne owner, said he would be selling the ski area because there is no lodge. VanScoter said he has made the decision not to rebuild one because he would go into debt. On Jan. 24, 2011, Cockaigne's Austrian World's Fair ski lodge burned to the ground.
Goodell said he has received a number of inquiries from potential buyers, but no serious discussions have started.
In November, Goodell said Cockaigne is a great opportunity for someone looking to operate a ski resort for several reasons. He said utility costs are low and Cockaigne has a number of natural gas wells. There is a nearby stream that can be used for snow making. Plus, none of the operating equipment, like lifts and snow groomers, were affected by the fire. Goodell said Cockaigne is also a quality investment because of its staff of nearly 200 people during the winter.
For more information on the Cockaigne Ski Area, Goodell can be contacted at 664-4705.