AVLT’s position on Burlingame | AspenTimes.com

AVLT’s position on Burlingame

Recently the Aspen Valley Land Trust submitted a proposal to the city concerning the Burlingame affordable housing development that would result in the donation by AVLT of the land it owns on the north end of Deer Hill, if the project can be modified to increase the conservation values, while allowing for the development of an affordable housing project as desired by the city.

Contrary to any claim that AVLT’s proposal is new, or too late to be considered, the concepts within that proposal have been discussed with city representatives by AVLT as early as 1998.

AVLT has long taken the consistent position that it would make its lands available for inclusion in the project to the extent that the conservation values of the project would be enhanced.

AVLT has never argued against the Burlingame housing proposal, believing the determination to undertake that development is a decision for the community to make. Our sole purpose is the permanent conservation of land in the greater Roaring Fork Valley.

In 1998 we suggested moving the project to Bar/X lands between the highway and Stage Road.

In 1998 we suggested that the development should be adjacent to Stage Road, given that the lands between Stage Road and the highway were determined to be unavailable.

In 1999 we agreed to make our lands available to move the project from its current proposed location in the middle of open lands between the AABC and the Maroon Creek Club in exchange for preservation of a broad swath of land to the river from the bowl.

That proposal was rejected over disagreements concerning access to the AABC, but out of this discussion came an agreement with a variety of representatives to preserve the bowl of Deer Hill. The city proposed 150 to 200 units of housing at the time.

AVLT has been consistent in its request that the private cabin site at the confluence of Maroon Creek and the Roaring Fork River be removed from the approval.

AVLT continued to participate in the city’s COOP process well into 2000 until the issues became ones of project design internal to the housing development.

In December 2001 we read in the local papers that the city was again interested in our land. The exchange offered was for an agreement to not develop in the bowl of Deer Hill in exchange for developing up to 320 units of affordable housing at essentially the same location in the middle of open lands, including our property.

It is the position of AVLT that a commitment to not develop in the bowl of Deer Hill was already agreed to and was offered as part of the proposed development upon which the public voted in 2000.

We have proposed to the city what has been our consistent preferred position since 1998, a position supported by the conservation community: Place the development next to existing infrastructure, not in the middle of open lands, eliminate the private cabin at the confluence of Maroon Creek and the Roaring Fork Rivers, and place easements on the balance of the lands that allow for all currently proposed development.

In addition AVLT believes that the proper treatment of the Soldner family is to support a purchase and preservation strategy of the family home. Creating a nonprofit museum, education and arts center will honor Paul Soldner’s legacy and many contributions to the community.

Finally, easements on Cozy Point and Aspen Mass are warranted as part of this development, so that these parcels have permanent protection and housing density remains within the urban growth boundary.

Reid Haughey

Aspen Valley Land Trust

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