City’s actions at Burlingame leave Pitco officials miffed |

City’s actions at Burlingame leave Pitco officials miffed

Janet Urquhart

Some Pitkin County commissioners lashed out at Aspen officials Thursday, complaining they were left out of the loop on a decision to relocate the road that will serve the city’s planned Burlingame Ranch housing.Commissioner Jack Hatfield also expressed dismay that county staffers had issued the city an earth-moving permit to haul dirt across land at Burlingame that is located in unincorporated Pitkin County. He said it was his impression that the city had agreed it would annex that property into its boundaries first.”The city should not have requested the permit,” he fumed. “When we agree to something, we ought to live by it.”The county had no legal reason to withhold the permit once it was requested, according to Lance Clarke, deputy director of the county Community Development Department. The permit was issued a week ago.The city had stockpiled some materials on land over which the county has jurisdiction, without a permit, but moved the items when it was told a permit was necessary, said Ben Ludlow, city project manager.Some commissioners also questioned the alignment of the road, which the city’s contractor has begun building, and expressed dismay that the city had renegotiated its locale with neighboring private property owners – the Zolines and the Soldners – without seeking input from the county.Commissioner Patti Clapper said she was “shocked” to learn the road will now cross a section of Deer Hill. “We just heard it through the grapevine,” she said.”It’s a concern to me visually, aesthetically, and I’m concerned with the wildlife issues,” Clapper added.Hatfield and Clapper both indicated they want Jonathan Lowsky, the county’s wildlife biologist, to assess the environmental impacts of running the road along Deer Hill.Hatfield also blasted the city for failing to check in with the Aspen Valley Land Trust, which will hold a conservation easement on the parts of the ranch that aren’t developed, when it decided to relocate the road.”Once the deal with AVLT went down, Deer Hill was off-limits,” he said. “The bottom line is, no one checked in with them [AVLT].”The city has an easement to build a road and housing on the property, AVLT executive director Martha Cochran acknowledged when contacted by The Aspen Times yesterday. The organization doesn’t have an issue with the relocation of the road, she said.The area known as the back bowl of Deer Hill is considered the most sensitive piece of the land and it will remain protected, noted Ed Sadler, assistant city manager. The latest alignment of the road came at the request of the Solders and Zolines, he explained.Burlingame Ranch is located north of the Maroon Creek Club and southeast of the Aspen Business Center. The city contemplates building up to 330 units of affordable housing there for local workers.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is

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