City of Aspen moves toward annexing property for affordable housing
Aspen-Mini Storage parcel part of Lumberyard project and rounds out a 10-acre site for 310 units
Aspen City Council took an initial step Tuesday to annex a 3-acre parcel that it owns at the Airport Business Center into city limits to make way for a planned 310-unit affordable housing project.
The Aspen Mini-Storage property, which the city bought in early 2020 for nearly $11 million, is located in Pitkin County.
It is intended for inclusion in the land assemblage that will define the site of the Lumberyard affordable housing project, according to Ben Anderson, the city’s principal long-range planner.
When purchased by the city, the property was planned for eventual annexation into the city, just as the adjacent lumberyard was when the city purchased it 14 years ago.
“This process as described and that we are following is identical to the annexation and zoning process that that the city followed 11 or 12 years ago with the lumberyard property itself,” Anderson said. “So this process is essentially a replication of that process.”
The city bought that property, known at the time as BMC West, for $18.25 million in 2007. An appraisal after the fact showed that it was worth about $1.45 million less than what the city bought it for.
Council approved on Tuesday a petition to annex the mini-storage property, which allows to set a date, time and place for a public hearing to determine compliance with the annexation procedures required by Colorado statutes, as well as authorizes the initiation of zoning procedures for the property once it is annexed.
The annexation process requires four meetings with council, which includes Tuesday’s.
The resolution passed by council sets a public hearing on March 8 to formalize the petition for annexation.
That hearing has special notice requirements that include notification of the Pitkin County Board of County Commissioners, the county attorney, Aspen Unified School District and any special districts that the property is subject to, according to Anderson.
The annexation and zoning of the property will be reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Commission, and Council will consider the annexation and zoning of the property via ordinance, he said.
The mini-storage parcel would provide access to the future development and would better alleviate concerns related to the Colorado Access Traffic Control Plan onto Highway 82.
City Attorney Jim True confirmed that the annexation is subject to citizen referendum, which could lead to a public vote.
“We don’t have to put it to a vote, it’s just subject to a referendum, which is somebody else petitioning to do it,” he said.
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