City of Aspen dismisses noise case against Aspen Art Museum contractor
The Aspen Times
The city of Aspen has dismissed its case against a construction company accused of violating municipal code last summer by working on a Sunday in its quest to meet a deadline to finish the new Aspen Art Museum building.
Municipal Court Judge Brooke Peterson signed the dismissal order Wednesday. The order follows an agreement dated Feb. 4 — signed by City Attorney Jim True and an attorney for Turner Construction Co., general contractor on the museum project. The agreement acknowledges that the city received a donation of construction-mitigation equipment from the company.
According to the agreement, the case has been dismissed with prejudice, meaning that the June 29 citation which alleges Turner Construction violated terms of its construction management plan by allowing work on that day, a Sunday, cannot be refiled.
Turner Construction, reported to be one of the largest construction-management firms in the United States, also had been accused of violating the management plan June 30, a Monday, by starting construction at 6:30 a.m., according to a report submitted by the Aspen police officer who investigated the incidents, Rick Magnuson.
Construction is currently allowed within city limits from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
The Aspen Art Museum and another contractor, Basalt-based Summit Construction, also were cited in connection with the Sunday work. The museum pleaded no-contest and received a six-month deferred sentence while the case against Summit Construction was dismissed due to lack of evidence.
Turner Construction pleaded not guilty and entered into negotiations with the city, seeking dismissal of the case.
Assistant City Attorney Debbie Quinn has said that the company would not agree to a deferred sentence, which involves an acknowledgment of guilt. The company believed a deferred sentence — in which a conviction is not entered following a time period in which the guilty party commits no other infractions — might hamper its future ability to secure government projects.
“They were in a position in which any kind of deferral could have had consequences beyond what people ordinarily realize from entering into a deferred agreement,” Quinn said Wednesday.
But seven months since the citation was issued, the two sides came to terms, she said.
“We reached a resolution between the parties that is satisfactory to both,” she said. “The case has been pending since last June and Turner has not violated any other laws. We reached a disposition outside of the formal deferred sentence agreement or any other kind of agreement through the courts.”
Turner paid court costs of $150, she said, and provided the city some equipment to assist noise-monitoring efforts at construction sites.
“As we get busier with construction, we get more complaints related to noise,” Quinn said. “They offered to buy us some equipment that would help us monitor and enforce construction noise. It was a benefit to both sides.”
The art museum first opened to members on Aug. 2.
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