Burlingame gets COWOP process nod | AspenTimes.com

Burlingame gets COWOP process nod

Janet Urquhart

The process of developing Burlingame Ranch formally began Monday with the Aspen City Council’s decision to put the housing project through its new review process.The council agreed on a 4-1 vote that the combination free-market and affordable housing project is eligible for the COWOP process, an alternative to the traditional land-use review for city projects.Projects are eligible for COWOP when they benefit the Convenience and Welfare of the Public – hence the acronym. The process was established for use when the city is both the applicant and the body that must approve a development.City planner Joyce Ohlson outlined a review process that will take about a year. A community task force will be formed to come up with a development proposal that can go directly to the council for approval or rejection. Members of various review panels will be involved from the start, in contrast to the usual land-use review, in which the city develops a project as directed by the City Council, sends it to various review boards for a recommendation and then takes it back to the council for approval.Membership on the task force will include a representative of the Zoline family ranch, two council members, two city Planning and Zoning Commission members, one Pitkin County P&Z member, two Housing Board members, one Aspen Valley Land Trust representative, one member of Many Voices – the group organized to oppose the development plan – one representative of the nearby Aspen Airport Business Center and two members of the public, plus a representative of the disabled community.Various other entities will be provided with notice of task force meetings, so they may attend and offer input, Ohlson said. Those would include the school district, hospital, Aspen Skiing Co., Roaring Fork Transit Agency and others.Councilman Terry Paulson, who opposed the Burlingame proposal endorsed by city voters in August, voted against putting the project through the COWOP process. He voiced fears that the task force will bypass the input of members of the council and P&Z, for example, who don’t serve on the review group.Anyone can attend, Mayor Rachel Richards countered.Paulson also suggested the task force will be compelled to put forth a development plan that reflects the preannexation agreement approved by voters, even if it’s not a good project. The agreement calls for 12 free-market homes and up to 225 affordable units on public and private land west of Aspen.”Ultimately, the buck still stops at this table, regardless of the process,” said Councilman Tony Hershey.

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