Jill Beathard

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September 10, 2012
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Snowmass council to tackle dogs, entertainment district

SNOWMASS VILLAGE - The Snowmass Village Town Council will address two issues that have been in discussion throughout the summer - dogs on trails and the creation of an entertainment district - at its meeting tonight.

Council members and the public raised several concerns in May and June about dog regulations on trails during discussions of the Sky Mountain Park management plan, a joint effort by Pitkin County, Aspen and Snowmass Village officials.

Tonight, the council will address some of those issues, one of which is a dog prohibition on Rim Trail North. The ban was included in the Horse Ranch planned unit development when the town purchased the land for wildlife protection, but officials only started enforcing it a little more than a year ago. Many Snowmass Village residents have resisted the regulation, some going so far as to remove or deface signs on the trail, according to Animal Services Officer Laurie Smith.

"There's some folks really angry that dogs are not allowed up there," Smith said. "We've had some destructive actions."

In order to lift the prohibition on Rim Trail North, the council would have to begin an amendment to the planned unit development. The town would seek support from the Colorado Division of Wildlife as well as the Horse Ranch homeowners' association for the amendment if it chooses to initiate it.

County land steward Gary Tennenbaum said on June 18 the county would consider building a planned connection to Rim Trail, dubbed Rimline, from the Sky Mountain Park network if Snowmass Village successfully enforces a leash law there.

Currently, all town trails require dogs to be on leashes. Smith said Animal Services doesn't seek out people walking dogs off leashes but only responds if there is a problem.

"I think there'd have to be active enforcement ... if there's a mandatory leash law on the north Rim," Smith said. She said that would probably include writing citations.

Another topic listed on a memo from town staff involves considering creating different management zones, including trails where dogs would be prohibited, trails where dogs would be allowed but required to be leashed, and trails where dogs could be off leashes as long as they are under voice control.

The staff suggested the Ditch Trail and Snowmass ski area as zones for voice control.

"I think the ski area is a great place," Smith said. "There's been people just wanting the ability ... to exercise their dogs off leash."

Town staff is recommending that the council provide feedback on that concept and include the identification of management zones in an update on the Trails Master Plan, which was last updated in 1988. Making those changes also would involve changing town code on dogs.

The council also will vote on an ordinance to create an entertainment district in which liquor licensees could form common consumption areas where patrons could carry alcoholic beverages outside and between establishments. Council members voted unanimously on July 23 to draft the ordinance. Things left to iron out include the boundaries of the district and the hours, fees and regulations attached to it.

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The Aspen Times Updated Sep 11, 2012 02:22AM Published Sep 10, 2012 01:57AM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.