Aspen Area Community Plan a long way from complete

Aaron HedgeThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – If Tuesday night’s Aspen City Council work session is any indicator, talks to establish a final draft of the Aspen Area Community Plan will likely go longer than expected.Mayor Mick Ireland told the county and city Planning and Zoning commissions that he would like to see many more meetings with just the City Council before the discussion is opened up for public discourse in formal council meetings.He said the P&Zs must return to the grindstone and weigh a number of public criticisms of the current draft gathered through small-group sessions the city hosted last month. The P&Zs, Ireland said, must decide whether to heed the feedback, as much of it came from meetings with small crowds not representative of the entire Aspen community.”It doesn’t tell me the community wants or doesn’t want to do something,” he said.The local governments will host larger meetings with the community next week, and, based on that feedback, the P&Zs and the city and county governments will host further public hearings on the draft. They will then jointly come to a decision on what the document should dictate and include.Councilman Derek Johnson stressed that it is important for the city to get the word out to the community about those meetings, so enough feedback can be gathered.The AACP is a guiding document for land-use decisions made by the county and the City Council. But it also has a level of regulatory power over what the governing bodies decide, city staff members noted during the meeting.Another concern about the AACP addressed during Tuesday’s meeting is the “governmentese” in the document.A definition index of certain vague terms – modest, sustainable and balanced, to name a few – may become a piece of the document after several people expressed confusion over what they mean.”One person’s modest is another person’s castle,” Stan Gibbs, the chairman of the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission, told the City Council.Johnson agreed that the terms can mean different things to different


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