Cemetery won’t house the living
September 16, 2009
ASPEN – Plans for a two-bedroom caretaker unit at Red Butte Cemetery have been scrapped after neighbors successfully fought the proposal.
Instead, the Red Butte Cemetery Association, a nonprofit that has owned the cemetery since 1899, is proposing to construct a 1,280-square-foot maintenance facility that would replace a temporary fabric storage shed.
Last year, the maintenance facility was part of a proposal that included a 1,425-square-foot apartment where a full-time employee would live. The caretaker would be responsible for the upkeep of the 17-acre graveyard.
Some Cemetery Lane neighbors argued that a residence is inappropriate on the property, which was historically landmarked in the 1990s. Having a family live in the graveyard would generate traffic and compromise the tranquil setting, some residents argued.
The opposition was enough for the association to withdraw the proposal and focus just on the maintenance facility.
“I think we have gone from adversarial to working together,” said the project’s planner, Alan Richman, at Monday’s Aspen City Council meeting.
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The council reviewed the land-use application, and the final public hearing will be held next month.
The maintenance facility would act as a work yard and storage structure for vehicles and equipment. The cemetery’s operation requires many vehicles on site, including a pick-up truck, skid loader, four wheeler and trailer, a large riding mower, weed eaters and various hand tools.
The association also is proposing to restore a 216-square-foot Victorian-era cabin so that it can operate as a meeting place between users of the cemetery and the property manager.
The developed portion of the cemetery has 4,200 burial sites, of which about 1,400 are unused. In recent years, the graveyard has seen between 10 and 15 burials a year.
The cemetery is more than 100 years old and is steeped in history with many of Aspen’s pioneers buried there. Sculptures, grave stones and mature trees line the property.