Centennial topic goes behind closed doors | AspenTimes.com

Centennial topic goes behind closed doors

ASPEN – Aspen and Pitkin County elected officials met behind closed doors Tuesday with their attorneys and a handful of homeowners at the Centennial housing complex, where millions of dollars worth of repairs are anticipated in the aging buildings.

“Centennial maintenance issues” was the reason cited for the executive session, as well as another issue that City Attorney John Worcester wouldn’t reveal.

The Pitkin County commissioners, the Aspen City Council and the homeowners went into the closed-door session shortly after 6 p.m.

It’s likely that potential litigation may be levied against those who were involved in building and designing the 25-year-old complex, which includes 92 for-sale condos and more than 100 rental apartments. All of the units are designated for qualified local workers and governed by Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority rules.

Commissioner Jack Hatfield abstained from voting for the executive session because he said he didn’t understand what legal ramifications the board would have regarding Centennial.

Mayor Mick Ireland explained that because the county governs the housing authority, it has an interest in the deed-restricted units and the right to legal advice.

Commissioner Mike Owsley voted against going into executive session after asking Pitkin County Attorney John Ely what the board’s obligations were.

The repair of damage caused by a leaky pipe last summer led to the discovery of rot and mold inside the walls in one portion of a Centennial building. One condo owner was forced to vacate her residence for some three months while repairs were made.

A problem with the flashing, used to weatherproof the joints where the walls and roof meet, apparently allowed water to seep into the inside of the walls, causing the framing to rot.

What’s unclear is how widespread the problem is at the complex.

There have reportedly been repairs over the years to the flashing on the rental buildings, but apparently not on the buildings containing the sale condos. A homeowners’ association is charged with handling common-area repairs for those buildings.

Last year, there were discussions about what financing mechanisms might be available to the homeowners’ association to fix the problem.

The ability of Centennial homeowners to pay for extensive repairs was a topic of concern after the problem came to light.

The homeowners’ association at Centennial has about $280,000 in its capital reserve fund, but that won’t even come close to covering all the repairs needed at the housing complex, located near the base of Smuggler Mountain.

To increase the fund from $60,000 to $90,000 annually, monthly dues for the 92 condo owners have been raised an average of $100 a month.

If homeowners were to pay out of pocket for the necessary repairs, their dues would be more than their mortgages.


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