Aspen city office opponents turn in petition signatures
Organizers of a referendum aimed at having Aspen voters decide on a new civic office building said they turned in approximately 760 signatures to the City Clerk’s Office near the end of Monday, the deadline for them to submit their paperwork.
Snowmass Canyon resident Toni Kronberg hand-delivered the signatures, which were stacked roughly 2 feet high, after launching the drive Friday.
The Clerk’s Office still needs to validate the signatures. Kronberg and organizers needed to submit 640 signatures of registered Aspen voters — which represents 10 percent of the exactly 6,400 residents who were eligible to vote in the May 2 municipal election.
City Clerk Linda Manning and City Attorney Jim True were out of the office Monday and unavailable for comment.
On Friday, Manning notified petitioners Steven Goldenberg and Marcia Goshorn they could proceed with collecting signatures. Their time was limited because the city added the ordinance to the Home Rule Charter on Friday.
True also said he was not confident that the ordinance petitioners want rescinded to voters is “a legislative matter subject to the referendum power reserved to the people,” according to Manning’s notice.
The city, because it is the owner and developer of the property that would house the new building, also could contest the petition.
Aspen City Council passed Ordinance 4 by a 4-0 vote April 3.
The ordinance allows for the development of 28,400 square feet of new space for civic offices on Rio Grande Place near the Pitkin County Library. The city also will use another 6,400 square feet of existing space on Rio Grande Place for future offices.
The project’s estimated cost ranges from $35.9 million to $38.6 million, $21 million of which would be paid with city cash and the rest through financing. That also includes a gutting and remodel of the existing City Hall at the corner of East Hopkins Avenue and Galena Street.
With many lingering questions still surrounding the fate of Aspen’s historic Old Powerhouse, City Council decided during Monday’s work session to hold off on providing staff direction on moving the preservation project forward until more information can be presented.