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Mountain News: Good economic news sparse in Aspen

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Organizers expect 1,200 people for an event in early October. At that time, local kids will be positioned at the various levels on the mountain where the snowline is expected to be in the years 2030, 2050 and 2075.

By 2,100, according to some climate scientists, skiing will be impossible because the snowline will be 200 feet higher than the mountain's highest slope.

Four Seasons opening delayed

VAIL, Colo. - Opening of the $250 million Four Seasons Resort has been pushed back six months, to summer of 2010.

It's the latest in a series of postponements for the project, which is located in the middle of Vail. Completion had been targeted for 2008 when ground was broken in 2005.

The Vail Daily notes that construction halted at one point for nine months when a prospective lender backed out because of rising construction costs. In February, says the newspaper, citing construction sources, the original developer defaulted on the project. That left the senior lender, London-based Barclay's Capital, in the driver's seat. Barclay's insisted that the general contractor be replaced. In the latest twist, Barclay's Capital has officially acquired the development from the original developer, Black Diamond-Vail.

There seems to be some dispute about whether Barclay's has honored commitments to contractors and subcontractors, as it maintains, or whether they have been shorted, as they seem to think.

Higher fees considered for bigger houses

AVON, Colo. - Avon town officials think that larger homes consume more water, and as such developers of such homes should pay fees to cover the costs of acquiring water rights sufficient to meet future needs. The formula now being considered, reports the Vail Daily , would levy an extra $1.40 for every square foot greater than 3,000 square feet.

"The underlying issue here is that the houses that are being built in Avon are bigger in size than the houses that were originally planned in the town, for which water was allocated," said Mayor Ron Wolfe.

If adopted, the law would allow the town to use money from the impact fee to acquire new water rights. In one neighborhood, called Wildridge, the average size of houses built since 2005 has been just more than 3,800 feet. Homes in another Avon neighborhood have averaged 8,300 square feet.

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