Caucus, COMPASS forge truce |

Caucus, COMPASS forge truce

Jeremy Heiman

The Woody Creek Caucus has resolved its differences with COMPASS, a Woody Creek educational institution.

The caucus Wednesday endorsed a decision by COMPASS to put on hold a master plan drawn up in late 1998 for expansion of facilities at the organization’s campus in Woody Creek. The campus includes the Aspen Community School and other facilities.

The 1998 master plan had been the subject of divisiveness in the Woody Creek community because some residents anticipated increased traffic and other problems.

COMPASS asked Pitkin County’s planning department to table the 1998 master plan on Jan. 19, after citizens objected to the development represented by the plan. The Pitkin County Planning and Zoning Commission received an official letter from the Woody Creek Caucus, objecting to the plan, and letters from attorney Barbara Ornitz and journalist Hunter S. Thompson appeared in local papers.

“The conflict was starting to get out of hand,” said Dave Throgmorton, executive director of COMPASS. He said at that point, COMPASS resolved to put an end to the differences with the Woody Creek community.

The 1998 master plan was predated by a 1995 development plan, which, though approved by the county, still has not been realized. Throgmorton said the 1998 plan was developed before the completion of projects called for in the earlier plan because new COMPASS projects need to have permanent space. Sustainable Settings, an energy-efficient building project, is one of those, he said.

Before the construction envisioned in the 1995 plan can begin, Throgmorton said, a septic system must be installed. COMPASS board member Michael McVoy said that system has already been approved by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.

Throgmorton said the organization has already obtained engineering bids, and he hopes work can begin on the sanitary system and other aspects of the 1995 plan this summer. The first building to be constructed, he said, will be affordable housing.

County planner Suzanne Wolff said the 1998 plan has not been withdrawn from the county planning process altogether, but it will not receive any further attention until COMPASS contacts the Community Development offices.

Wolff said the 1998 master plan was originally scheduled for review by county staff early in 1998, but the review was postponed at the request of COMPASS. She said it has been scheduled more than once to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission, but has been put off at the applicants’ request.

Woody Creek Caucus member Gaylord Guenin said the caucus has had internal disputes in the past, but there’s just something about this one that he doesn’t like. He said he stopped going to meetings on the subject of the COMPASS master plan because self interest was winning out over community interest. COMPASS, he said, is a community asset.

Woody Creek residents always have had access to COMPASS school buildings for their own uses, he noted.

“The caucus, for Christ’s sake, uses it every month for their meeting,” he said.

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