Aspen council to discuss hydroplant, utilities | AspenTimes.com

Aspen council to discuss hydroplant, utilities

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The agenda for Monday’s Aspen City Council meeting suggests a lighter meeting compared with the council’s lengthy gatherings over the last four months.

Meetings since late July have featured discussions on the city’s Environmental Health Department program that bans two local grocery stores from providing plastic bags at checkout; proposals to redevelop the former Boomerang Lodge property and also to allow the Lift One Lodge development at the base of Aspen Mountain near Lift 1A; and a proposed 2012 budget increase that puts the city’s operating costs at $49.9 million.

The council passed all those items, although the votes weren’t always unanimous, and members of the public sometimes criticized the proposals, especially the plastic bag ban and the Boomerang project.

Monday’s meeting, which will begin at 5 p.m. at Aspen City Hall, 130 S. Galena St., also features a few topics that could spark discussion:

• Rezoning an area off of Power Plant Road for the proposed Castle Creek Energy Center. The city wants to build a hydroelectric plant and is seeking to rezone some property from low-density residential classification to what’s called the “public zone.” The project has been subject to much controversy and a lawsuit that aims to stop it has been filed against the city by a group of area landowners. A public hearing might take place tonight and would likely be continued to Dec. 12 to allow more time for discussion and residents’ comments.

• Increasing the city’s water utility rates for all customers by 5 percent. The rate would go into effect Jan. 1. The last water rate increase was implemented in April 2006.

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• Amending an ordinance that raises the city’s electricity utility rates for large commercial users. The amendment cleans up incorrect language in an ordinance passed in September. The rate increases would be staggered with different percentage increases each year over the next four years.

The continuation of discussions on the Aspenwalk development in east Aspen near Smuggler Mountain likely will be postponed until late January at the developer’s request. Earlier this month, two lenders filed foreclosure notices on the property at 404 Park Circle, accusing owner PFG Aspenwalk LLC of failure to make timely payments on two loans.