City delays infill zoning until June
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Aspen’s controversial infill legislation has been put off until the new City Council is seated in June.
The current council narrowly agreed Monday to continue discussion of the package of zoning amendments known as “infill” on June 23. By then, council member-elect Rachel Richards will have succeeded Councilman Tom McCabe and the winner of the June 3 runoff between Councilman Tony Hershey and Torre will have been decided.
“I would suggest that it be continued to an indefinite date – which doesn’t mean continuing it forever,” said Mayor Helen Klanderud.
The council, however, set a date to continue an ongoing public hearing on infill with the understanding that the council may decide at that time to continue the proceedings again.
Both Hershey and Councilman Terry Paulson sided with Klanderud in voting to table the matter until the final makeup of the council has been determined. McCabe and Councilman Tim Semrau pushed their colleagues to continue the debate last night.
The presently seated council may not vote on infill, but it should try to reach a consensus that it can forward to the new council, Semrau argued.
“I think it’s our responsibility, not necessarily to vote on it, but to fully cook it,” he said.
Several citizens urged the council to delay infill, either until after the June 9 swearing in of new council members or simply until a meeting when it
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would come up earlier on the council’s agenda.
Infill was one of several topics that appeared destined for a lengthy discussion last night.
Some members of the public, however, were anxious to see the council press ahead with the legislation.
“I believe that it’s time for us to move forward and make a decision – yea or nay,” said local resident Peter Fornell. “It’s time for us to say, let’s do it, let’s not do it.”
Paulson, the council’s most strident opponent of the infill proposals, suggested the city back off on the formal review of the legislation and conduct a “town meeting” to collect public input.
“This is too critical for this community,” he said. “The town needs to talk about this.”
“This is a town meeting,” Semrau and Klanderud replied nearly simultaneously.
Other council members have indicated they’d like an informal work session to go over the legislation before the debate continues in a formal public hearing.
The infill legislation, designed to spur new development and redevelopment in town, includes amendments on height restrictions and density, and changes to city requirements that have been deemed too onerous to facilitate the revitalization of buildings. The council dictated a number of amendments to the legislation last month to soften its more controversial aspects.
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