AACP clicker sessions set this week | AspenTimes.com

AACP clicker sessions set this week

Aaron Hedge
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – It’s clicker sessions again for the Aspen Area Community Plan.

Today through Wednesday, the city of Aspen will host three hour-long public feedback sessions in which participants will offer feedback on the current AACP.

Using input from clicker sessions about two years ago, planners began their rewrite of the AACP, which has been a guiding document for development in Aspen and the surrounding areas of unincorporated Pitkin County for the past decade.

Participants, using special keypads, will provide electronic answers to a series of questions. The keypads are similar to those used by students in big university classrooms to confirm they are present.

City officials will give presentations before the clicker sessions on the material to be covered, but most of the communication in the meetings will happen electronically.

City planner Jessica Garrow said the questions asked in the clicker sessions will address several areas – house size, affordable housing and pacing of construction, to name a few – that the city has identified as needing the most clarification. They were picked from a series of small-group community meetings hosted last month, during which the participants posed a number of concerns about those areas.

Garrow could not provide specific examples of the questions to be asked; she noted that the questions are in-depth, but few.

“They’re gonna be meaty,” she said. “They’ll make you think.”

The new plan is in its final stages, which will decide the direction of several controversial aspects of the AACP, including how much the city and county will limit new construction and how much they will rely on affordable housing.

But one new item that might appear in the questions is how legally binding the document should be.

In the past decade, the plan has been used occasionally by the City Council not as a guiding document, but as a regulatory one, perhaps most notably in a 2007 denial of an application to redevelop the lot on which the Wienerstube restaurant sits.

City planners have said that, because the AACP is integrated in some regulatory policies that local governments use, it can take a regulatory role in some cases. But the City Council has called for specific language defining how much of its role is regulatory.

Some community members have said the document should be more guiding than regulatory because much of the plan is based on subjective philosophy.