Aspen to vote on housing issues
August 26, 2008
ASPEN ” Voters will be asked this fall to approve three ballot questions related to affordable housing.
The majority of the Aspen City Council on Monday voted to ask citizens to approve renewing the city housing/daycare and Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT), which both fund the affordable-housing program and are set to expire in coming years.
A third question relates to Burlingame Ranch, of which one phase of three is completed at the development located across from Buttermilk off Highway 82.
The advisory question will ask voters to give elected leaders direction on whether they should proceed with future construction of Burlingame that’s consistent with recent recommendations of a citizen budget task force; an outside audit concerning the city’s performance as a developer; and a construction experts group that is currently studying the best way to build additional units.
A second part of that question asks voters if they prefer the originally planned 236 units at the affordable-housing development, or as much as 300, as the construction experts group has recommended.
The council agreed to hold off on asking to authorize $16 million in bonds to reimburse money borrowed for land purchases made in 2007. The bond would have allowed the city to pay back the Wheeler Opera House fund, which it borrowed $8 million from to buy land for future affordable-housing development. The rest of the money would have been used as working capital for the city to deal with contingencies for ongoing projects and revenue fluctuations. It also could be used for a redesign of the final phases to be built at Burlingame.