City wants to sell Burlingame lot |

City wants to sell Burlingame lot

Depending on the outcome of a future city vote, the area’s skyrocketing real estate market may actually work to advance the cause of affordable housing.

When the city annexed Burlingame Ranch for the development of affordable housing, a 37-acre lot was left in Pitkin County’s jurisdiction.

Due to constraints on the parcel, such as steep slopes and water issues, it was determined the lot was better suited for a single-family home than affordable housing.

“We looked at [the lot] first for affordable housing, but felt the best use for that particular parcel was to recover some money for affordable housing,” said Mayor Rachel Richards.

Since the land was purchased with city money dedicated for affordable housing, the sale of the lot must be approved by city voters.

On Tuesday, the council unanimously directed staff to draft a ballot question proposing the sale of the parcel to put before voters this November.

Under the county’s maximum allowable house size, a 15,000-square-foot home could be built on the lot, but council members balked at taking any action that would facilitate construction of another “monster home” in Aspen.

“If the government builds a monster home, what kind of precedent does that set for the community?” asked Councilman Terry Paulson.

With that concern in mind, council members plan to restrict the size of the house that can be built on the property as a condition of the lot sale.

Taking in the recommendations of city staff and the concerns of neighbors, the council agreed the lot buyer will face a stricter limits on house size and height than the county imposes, and will be required to build a caretaker unit for a permanent resident.

And, the lot will be deed restricted to allow just one building envelope, so a buyer can’t subdivide the property into additional lots. Neighbors expressed concern about just such a scenario.

Council members failed to reach agreement yesterday on the exact cap on the house size, agreeing to make that decision after an appraisal determines the value of the parcel with different house-size limitations.

Most on the council want to keep the square footage in line with the neighborhood.

“In the future, it’s not unlikely that homes in the area will boom past what’s there now. My point of view is that I’d like to optimize the situation for affordable housing without getting ridiculous,” said Councilman Tom McCabe.

On the remainder of the Burlingame property, a 200-bed seasonal affordable housing project has been approved and an additional 225-unit project is in the planning stages.

Burlingame Ranch is located between the Maroon Creek Club and the Aspen-Airport Business Center, along Highway 82.

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