Aspen prevails in housing dispute |

Aspen prevails in housing dispute

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” The Colorado Court of Appeals has sided with the Aspen housing office in its attempt to force an Aspen doctor to sell her affordable housing unit after failing to prove she was qualified to own it.

According to a press release issued Wednesday by the city, Judge J. Jones ruled against Dr. Amanda Tucker, who purchased an affordable unit at the Ritz-Carlton Club at Aspen Highlands Village that is designated for local workers. She bought it at a foreclosure sale in 2005.

Since the unit is deed-restricted as worker housing, the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority asked Tucker, an anesthesiologist, to provide proof that she was a qualified buyer. Buyers of deed-restricted units must meet employment requirements and income/asset restrictions.

Tucker didn’t provide the required information, according to the authority, and did not request a hearing on the matter, so the agency informed her that she was required to list the residence for sale.

The dispute went first to district court, where 9th Judicial District Judge Daniel Petre ruled in the housing authority’s favor in October 2007. His ruling ordered Tucker to sell the unit by Nov. 9, 2007.

She then filed a motion to dismiss, according to the city, saying that restrictions on the sale and resale of units constituted “rent control” in violation of Colorado law. Tucker was denied and then filed an appeal, which was denied earlier this month. Tucker was also directed by the court to pay the housing authority’s attorney fees, the city said.

The housing authority filed the lawsuit in March 2006, after “spinning its wheels procedurally with Ms. Tucker during much of 2005,” Housing Director Tom McCabe said in the press release.

The decision is everything the housing authority could want “in the way of vindication about the issues” and may help reinforce its position in other cases, McCabe said.

The ruling comes in the wake of a move by Aspen and Pitkin County to nearly triple the housing authority’s legal budget to pursue more compliance issues, the city noted.

For more on the outcome of the case, see Thursday’s Aspen Times.

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