Aspen’s housing goal within sight? | AspenTimes.com
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Aspen’s housing goal within sight?

Janet Urquhart

Aspen is within striking distance of its affordable housing goal. If everything now in the planning stages is constructed, including the entire 330 units slated for Burlingame Ranch, Aspen would meet what has been cited as the target unit count for the local affordable housing program, according to a report by the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority.At that point, government involvement in the construction of affordable housing for the work force in Aspen and Pitkin County could conceivably wind down, mused Marcia Goshorn, the most tenured member of the local housing board. Private developments, presumably, would still be required to provide an element of worker housing.The community has, on several occasions, tried to quantify how much housing it needs to retain a critical mass of residents who live and work here. “The more people we have living and working in town, the better off we are,” Goshorn reasoned.The 1993 Aspen Area Community Plan set a goal of housing 60 percent of the local work force upvalley from Aspen Village; the 2000 update of the plan set the goal at 800 to 1,300 additional units in the Aspen vicinity. Consultants hired by the city to produce a strategic housing plan further refined the goal to 995 additional units.The housing board, spurred by ongoing debate about how much housing is enough, recently asked staffers to analyze where the program is in relation to the stated goal.”It never fails. We always have people in town who say we have too much affordable housing,” Goshorn said. “We’ve been behind the eight ball for 20 years on affordable housing. It’s not like the problem goes away because somebody says we have enough.” Existing housing for workers, including sale and rental units, totals 2,428 homes, according to the housing office tally.Since the Aspen Area Community Plan was updated in 2000, a combination of publicly and privately built worker housing has added 548 units, according to the housing office. Another 98 are either under construction or have been approved.If the first two phases of Burlingame Ranch are built, at 225 units, and the city builds 20 more units as part of a planned third phase at Truscott Place, the total number of units built in the wake of the latest community plan climbs to 891 units. If phase 3 of Burlingame is built, adding 105 units, the community will have added 996 units to the housing stock – one more than the 995-unit goal identified by the strategic housing plan.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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