City struggles with plan for annexation | AspenTimes.com

City struggles with plan for annexation

Allyn Harvey
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The city of Aspen’s annexation plans for 2003 and beyond could look a lot different than they have for the past 14 years.

The City Council and staff from the community development office continue to struggle with updating an annexation plan that has not been changed significantly since 1988.

For 12 years, that wasn’t a problem. But in 2000 the city adopted a new Aspen Area Community Plan that contains significantly different goals than previous community plans. And one of the top priorities in the new plan is an update of the annexation plan.

“We’ve had an urban growth boundary in place for two years now, and our annexation plan doesn’t reflect that,” said Chris Bendon, a senior planner with the community development office.

Bendon met with the Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday to discuss the possibility of creating a legal agreement that would address the two jurisdictions’ interests when it comes to annexation.

State law requires that every town have an annual annexation plan that sets a three-mile annexation limit and describes proposed extensions of municipal infrastructure. Aspen’s annexation plans have included issues and guidelines that were set in 1988.

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In addition to the creation of urban growth boundaries, which define where urban and suburban levels of growth are appropriate, Bendon said the new annexation plan will address issues such as transferable development rights and fiscal impact analysis. It will also include a way of judging applications to see if a landowner is seeking annexation into Aspen simply to get around Pitkin County’s land-use regulations.

The county commissioners expressed interest in reaching a formal agreement on annexation, particularly with regards to making land-use regulations work more effectively through, or in spite of, annexation.

Bendon said there was no guarantee that the Aspen City Council would take formal action this year.