City, developer butt heads over Burlingame bill | AspenTimes.com

City, developer butt heads over Burlingame bill

Janet Urquhart

Builders of Aspen’s Burlingame Ranch affordable housing and the City Council remained at an impasse Tuesday over who should pay for a costly design change.Two buildings containing seven units require basements or some other measure to raise them high enough to make the sewer system function. Constructing unfinished basements would cost an estimated $860,463 and double the size of the units in those buildings.”I think the question tonight is, why should the city pay for the mistake?” said John Worcester, city attorney. “Why should the city eat that mistake as opposed to the developer? I haven’t heard the answer to that question.”Shaw/Poss/DHM, the team chosen to design and construct the project, blamed the problem on a faulty survey map the city provided; the city contends its contract with the team specifically indicated it couldn’t rely on the survey in designing the project.The error was discovered early on, a new survey of the land was done and the buildings were designed with the basements at the city staff’s direction, according to Clark Atkinson, senior project manager with Shaw Construction. The basements were one of several unexpected costs that were outlined to the council in June, said Ed Sadler, assistant city manager.There was no agreement Tuesday, though, on how to cover that additional cost to the $33.4 million project. Directing the development team to design the buildings with basements didn’t mean the city was going to pay the added cost, City Manager Steve Barwick said.”I would take great exception to that assumption,” he said.The council met behind closed doors for more than an hour to discuss the situation. When members emerged, Mayor Helen Klanderud said the council had “serious concerns” about issues with the project and asked the development team to meet with Worcester and Barwick and try to come up with some resolution to the dispute.Atkinson offered two potential solutions last night: Bump up the sale price of the units, more than offsetting the cost of the basements, or replace the two buildings with two or three lots, which would result in about a $1.5 million credit to the city in construction costs and generate revenue through lot sales.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com