Charges put MAA housing on hold |

Charges put MAA housing on hold

Sarah S. Chung

In the face of allegations that the city is giving preferential treatment to the Burlingame seasonal housing project, the Aspen City Council held off Monday on final approval of the development.

The joint project of the city and Music Associates of Aspen has already received approval on first reading and was up for a final OK when the neighboring Maroon Creek Club raised its last-minute opposition last night.

The city, as a partner in the project, compromised both city code and pending litigation in “a real rush for judgment” to expedite the MAA application, said attorney Michael Herron, representing the golf club.

“We feel there’s been an absolute denial of due process with nothing being done to protect anyone but the applicant,” Herron said. “The city hasn’t done the job because the city’s been the applicant itself.”

A list of 11 grievances presented by Herron includes perceived violations to the planning process, open space codes, parking regulations and traffic standards.

In addition, the Maroon Creek Club believes an approval of the MAA project would be inappropriate before a ruling is made on pending litigation regarding access to the project.

The club has sued the city and MAA over plans to use roads that also access the Maroon Creek Club and the city has filed its own counter suit in the matter.

The council unanimously agreed to table a final vote on the project until the city attorney and staff have had time to review the Maroon Creek Club’s allegations.

Robert Harth, MAA president, said he’s “not surprised” with the golf club’s 11th hour appeal.

“But [we’re] certainly disappointed that the Maroon Creek Club is so strenuously objecting to what the community at large feels is a very important housing project,” Harth said.

In particular, Harth took issue with Herron’s accusation that the MAA and the city took shortcuts in the planning process.

“The comment about due process intrigues me because we’re going on three years now and if that’s not due process, what is?” Harth said. “I believe we followed both the letter and the spirit of the process to the greatest extent possible.”

The 200-bed project is to serve music students in the summer and seasonal workers in the winter. It is to be built on the city-owned Burlingame Ranch, between the Maroon Creek Club and the Aspen-Airport Business Center.

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