Burlingame plan gets a face lift | AspenTimes.com

Burlingame plan gets a face lift

Jennifer DavorenAspen Times Staff Writer

Two- and three-bedroom family units should comprise 65 percent of the Burlingame Ranch affordable housing project, a citizen task force agreed Thursday.However, the Burlingame COWOP Task Force also endorsed the dedication of 20 percent of the development for costly building lots – a move meant to cover the cost of the affordable housing, members say.The task force, originally convened in 2001, kicked off its meeting Thursday with a review of the 2-year-old proposal. The citizen group originally called for 50 percent of the housing mix to be two- and three-bedroom units, 25 percent one-bedroom units, and 25 percent townhomes and single-family dwellings.The group recommended that the voter-approved project target Category 3 housing – maximum prices of $135,200 for one-bedroom units, $159,900 for two bedrooms, and $184,600 for three bedrooms – with the rest evenly distributed between categories 2 and 4.But potential development costs spurred the task force to tweak their previous recommendations at Thursday’s meeting.”You can’t build categories 1 to 4 only,” said one task force member, noting that sales proceeds would not offset building costs.The group voted Thursday to include housing in categories 2 through 7, its second-highest price range. Members agreed that 25 percent of the development will include one-bedroom units in categories 2-7; 65 percent will be two- and three-bedroom units in categories 2-7; and 10 percent will be reserved as lots for pricey RO housing.The task force stuck to its original decision to avoid “stacked flats” and apartments, voting instead for a mix of 60 percent townhomes, 20 percent single-family homes and duplexes, 10 percent RO lots, and 10 percent categories 6 and 7 lots, which are only slightly less expensive than RO lots.”If it can be done, that’s pretty good,” remarked City Councilman Tim Semrau.Jack Johnson, a representative of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, voted in the minority – he expressed fears that the preliminary plan did not include enough detached single-family homes.However, other members of the task force expressed hope that the chosen developer could create a creative mix of homes – expensive and inexpensive, attached and stand-alone.”The less we put parameters on the developer, the more creativity we’re going to have,” said Marcia Goshorn, a member of both the task force and the Aspen-Pitkin County housing board.”We want to give as much latitude to the developer as we can,” agreed Community Development Director Julie Ann Woods.Thursday’s discussions led the task force to call for two more meetings before they present a finished proposal to the City Council.First up, the group hopes to meet with the governing board of the Aspen Fire Protection District, whose members have suggested that the Burlingame project include room for a small station. Board members expressed interest in building a firehouse near the heart of the development to store a small fire truck and provide housing for trained firefighters.”The impression that I got … was that this would be the first line of defense [for the housing area],” said Woods.The task force deliberated the effects of a Burlingame station, fearing both the cost of development and future commercial zoning nightmares. Members eventually agreed that they would explore the necessity of a fire station if safety was at stake.”I would be open to the thought, depending on if it’s needed or not,” said local realtor Ruth Kruger.The task force also hopes to schedule a joint work session with City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission, as members continue the debate over a proposed Burlingame cultural center.Johnson circulated a P&Z memo to the task force on Thursday, which outlined concerns the commission had about the cultural center’s visibility from nearby Stage Road.”The proposed additional development in the proposed `Cultural Use Area’ would diminish the preservation of open space and detract from the rural, agrarian setting that is there today,” the memo reads.[Jennifer Davoren’s e-mail address is jenniferd@aspentimes.com]

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