Appearance of new housing at Truscott has mayor’s attention |

Appearance of new housing at Truscott has mayor’s attention

Aspen’s latest and greatest whipping boy may not be around to pick on for long.

Mayor Helen Klanderud said Friday she is going to ask the City Council to take a tour of the Truscott Place affordable housing project to see what can be done to soften the appearance of a recent addition.

Ninety-nine units were added to Truscott Place at the municipal golf course last winter. From Highway 82 the project provides a sharp contrast to the adjacent new golf clubhouse that is generally drawing rave reviews.

The affordable housing is drawing rants. Its steep-pitched roof lines and piecemeal color scheme seem to be the most common complaints.

The design and color of the new housing has produced at least one letter to the editor per week.

On Friday, for example, Aspenite George Shifrin wrote, “These cubist boxes, reminiscent of poor housing attached to a slope in poverty stricken areas of Europe or Latin America, don’t quite fit in to the Aspen or Western heritage our government officials preach about.”

He asked who was responsible for such an atrocity. Klanderud is quick to note it isn’t her. She said she inherited the project when she took office, as did Councilman Tim Semrau.

Councilmen Tony Hershey, Terry Paulson and Tom McCabe were part of the board that approved the project, which was built by the city and housing authority.

Klanderud said she has received numerous complaints about the housing. One section is highly visible to motorists who are heading east on Highway 82. Golfers are exposed to a larger share of it, Klanderud said. And many have complained it obliterates their view of Independence Pass.

Klanderud said she can’t restore the view because housing obviously cannot be torn down. However, she hopes to find other ways to address the complaints.

She wants to take the tour to explore painting or staining them a uniform color and she wants to add extensive landscaping. Klanderud said she believes other council members also want to address the issue.

She said she will raise the topic of touring the site and seeking solutions when the council meets today or Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the first phase of the Truscott addition is being rented this month. The second phase will be available in the fall. Klanderud said she didn’t want to knock anybody’s home but she noted the city was responsible for the project.

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