Bendon named city’s head planner |

Bendon named city’s head planner

Janet Urquhart

Chris Bendon, an eight-year member of the Aspen Community Development Department, has been named its director.

He succeeds Julie Ann Woods, who resigned last month to work in private practice.

Bendon, 35, will oversee the city’s planning staff, as well as its Building and Environmental Health departments. He joined the Community Development office as a staff planner and was then named long-range planner for the city.

He worked with the city-appointed task force that reviewed the plans for Obermeyer Place, which is now under construction; oversaw planning for the Aspen Saturday Market; helped write and rewrite the city’s lodge preservation zoning; and drafted Aspen’s proposed infill zoning legislation, which the City Council ultimately declined to adopt. Bendon has since reworked sections of the land-use code, at the City Council’s direction, to implement various pieces of the broader infill proposal. Those code amendments include measures aimed at simplifying the city’s review process and revitalizing Aspen’s downtown core.

Bendon has been involved with more than 100 land-use proposals during his tenure with the city, including the Snyder Park housing project, the Bayer-Benedict Music Tent and the Residences at Little Nell timeshare hotel, which has not yet been constructed.

In recent months, he has worked on a civic master plan that maps the future of various public spaces in Aspen and continues to update regulations in the city’s lodging zone district.

“We were looking for an individual who had not only the technical and educational background, but also someone with actual experience in the unique challenges of mountain communities in general and of Aspen in particular. It soon became clear that this individual was already working for us,” said City Manager Steve Barwick in a prepared statement.

Bendon will be looking for a new long-range planner for his department, but isn’t planning any other big changes. The department has already reorganized its functions and physical space in recent years, he noted.

“Our department is really healthy,” Bendon said. “Julie Ann left us in a really good position. It works so much better now.”

Bendon was raised in Loveland, Colo. He graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a degree in environmental design ” architecture/urban planning. He holds a master’s degree in city planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is

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