Busy day planned for county officials
There will be no lack of things to discuss during today’s Pitkin County commissioners’ meeting.The agenda includes: hearings on two proposed ballot questions, a discussion on the future of local public television, an appeal hearing on the City of Aspen’s plan to build pedestrian bridges near the Aspen Chapel, and a debriefing on the changes made during the six-month development moratorium to the growth management section of the land use code.And it isn’t even a regular meeting day.Beginning at 10 a.m., the commissioners will decide whether to ask voters for permission to issue $10.2 million in bonds for public transportation.If the commissioners refer the question to the voters and it is subsequently approved, the money will be used to purchase new buses and upgrade the maintenance facility in Carbondale. About a half-million will be loaned to RFTA, the bus agency, to purchase employee housing.Some of the money will be used as a carrot to wave in front of officials at the Colorado Department of Transportation as an incentive to finish the widening of Highway 82 all the way into Aspen. Currently, CDOT plans to quit widening at the Maroon Creek Bridge, about a mile from the city center.The $10.2 million would be repaid from existing tax revenues, so the proposal does not require a tax increase. Today’s hearing is the second reading and public hearing on the question.Immediately following those deliberations, the commissioners will consider a resolution aimed at exempting the county from the statewide growth initiative on this November’s ballot. Pitkin County already has some of the most onerous growth limits in the nation, and government officials fear the statewide initiative would create confusion and legal difficulties without actually affecting growth here.After an executive session scheduled to consume the lunch hour, the commissioners, beginning at 2 p.m., hope to figure out what to do with the county’s second public television channel.Currently, the only operating local public television station in the Roaring Fork Valley is GrassRoots Television 12. But the county has had access rights to a second station since last fall, when it finalized a franchise agreement with AT&T Cable Services.Two meetings this summer with representatives from other valley governments (who have rights to their own stations but no money to run them) have focused on the creation of an all-government channel that would broadcast meetings throughout the week from Aspen to Basalt. The commissioners will consider the situation further today.At 3:30 p.m., the commissioners will put on their quasi-judicial caps to hear an appeal against the city of Aspen’s plan to build pedestrian/bicycle bridges over Maroon Creek Road and Castle Creek Road near their intersection with Highway 82.The city parks department has planned the bridges as part of its effort to make the corridor between downtown Aspen and the schools and nearby recreation facilities more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.The bridges were approved by the planning department earlier this year, and an appeal of that decision was upheld by a hearing officer. The hearing officer’s decision was then appealed to the commissioners.The commissioners will close out their unusually busy Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. with a joint meeting with the county planning commission. The commissioners will consider the fallout from their decision earlier this year to rewrite the growth management code in order to reduce the scale and scope of residential construction.
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