Cemetery Lane locals to be surveyed by city | AspenTimes.com

Cemetery Lane locals to be surveyed by city

Janet Urquhart

Every household in the Cemetery Lane area will have the unique opportunity to voice their thoughts on the future of their neighborhood in the coming weeks.

This week, the city will mail a survey to each of the 300-some households in the neighborhood as part of an ongoing effort to draft a Cemetery Lane Character Area Plan. The plan will guide the future of one of Aspen’s last strongholds of local homeowners.

The Aspen Planning Department has been at work for about a year on the neighborhood plan, which is to be a further refinement of the updated 2000 Aspen Area Community Plan. While citizen input through a series of meetings has helped shape the neighborhood plan so far, the city wants to give everyone who lives in the area a chance to weigh in, according to Nick Lelack, city planner.

The survey will ask residents how they feel about the zoning restrictions that are in place, whether they want the new house-size caps recently adopted by the city to be applied in their neighborhood and how they feel about the residential design characteristics that the city currently imposes.

Residents will also be asked if on-street parking should be allowed in their neighborhood and whether parking should be restricted on side streets. They’ll be quizzed about their feelings on street lights, crosswalks, the need for a separate bike path along Cemetery Lane and various proposals to control traffic and speeds on the main thoroughfare.

The planning effort may help residents retain the existing feel of the area, if that’s what they want, according to Lelack.

“What we found in the neighborhood meetings was a lot of people said they like the neighborhood like it is right now, but there’s a big difference between what their neighborhood looks like and what it’s zoned for,” he said.

For example, 30 to 40 percent of the lots in the area currently contain duplexes, but the zoning would allow about 90 percent of the lots to convert to duplexes, Lelack said. That would significantly up the density of the neighborhood.

And existing homes and duplexes average 3,000 to 3,500 square feet in size, he added. The zoning, even with the newly imposed caps, would allow homes of up to 4,050 square feet and duplexes of 4,650 square feet.

The Cemetery Lane neighborhood, defined as the area bounded by Castle and Maroon creeks, the Roaring Fork River and Highway 82, is the first of Aspen’s neighborhoods to get its own, personalized plan to establish its vision for the future.

“It’s one of the town’s last resident-occupied neighborhoods, and we really wanted to plan the future of their neighborhood while they’re still there,” Lelack said.

Rather than survey a representative sample of the area – the typical approach in such a planning effort – the city is going all out to get everyone’s input, he said.

“In this neighborhood, we figure it’s very doable to survey every single household and analyze it without costing any more than staff time,” he said. “Then we can go forward with creating a plan that is truly from the neighborhood up.”

The survey respondents will remain anonymous, but those who participate will also be able to fill out an entry for prizes – sort of an enticement to complete the questionnaire. The city plans to award $50 gift certificates to Explore Booksellers, La Cocina and Ute Mountaineer through drawings.

The final draft of the neighborhood plan should be ready in March, according to Lelack.

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