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Aspen council asked to choose project priorities

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – With the rewritten Aspen Area Community Plan having gained City Council approval last week, discussions now will turn to how to implement it.

A council work session Monday will focus on prioritizing the plan’s many initiatives. Some already have been determined – the council chooses its top 10 goals during annual retreats – but others have yet to receive a timeline.

Ben Gagnon, special projects planner for the city, wrote in a February memorandum that council members were given two sets of briefing papers. The first set describes projects already defined as primary and secondary goals for the city, such as “supporting a diverse lodging inventory” and “Wagner Park restoration and enhancement plan.” With many projects on the first list, the council already has given its green light to allow funding, more intense planning and an implementation schedule. Some of the projects already are under way.

But the second set of papers primarily involves new projects. City staff has asked each council member to check off eight out of 25 possible projects as a way of determining their pecking order. The list actually totals 27 initiatives, as the council already has identified two items as top priorities: reducing heights and massing in the downtown commercial core and streamlining the code amendment process.

At Monday’s meeting, a tally from the council’s checklists likely will be revealed.

“The purpose of this process is to determine which projects council is most enthusiastic about pursuing at this time,” Gagnon wrote. “The (community plan) is a 10-year plan, and ideally all of its policies will eventually be implemented. This process is more about what should come first, rather than approving or rejecting any given project.”

Monday’s work session is at 5 p.m. at City Hall, at 130 S. Galena St. Items on the scoring sheet include, but are not limited to, the following (each entry is followed by its corresponding chapter in the community plan):

• Restoring neighborhood character and visual quality in the residential sector (“Managing Growth”).

• Restoring public confidence in the conceptual and final review process (“Managing Growth”).

• Restoring public confidence in the community plan process (“Managing Growth”).

• Mitigating the impacts of development (“Managing Growth”).

• Expanding recreational and commuter trail links (“Transportation”).

• Improving bus stops and shelters (“Transportation”).

• Pedestrian and bikeway improvements (“Transportation”).

• Pedestrian safety on Main Street (“Transportation”).

• The Galena Street corridor’s “Community Connections” project (“Transportation”).

• Fair and equal treatment in new housing proposals (“Housing”).

• The Buy-Down Program feasibility study (“Housing”).

• Management plans for open space (“Parks”).

• Adopting a clean energy plan (“Environmental Stewardship”).

• Promoting energy efficiency in historic downtown buildings (“Environmental Stewardship”).

• Exploring the preservation of interiors of publicly accessible buildings (“Historic Preservation”).

Gagnon added that part of the discussion will involve department heads providing “a realistic sense of how new initiatives fit into their overall work program and/or the 2013 budget process.”

asalvail@aspentimes.com


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