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Clapper withdraws from Aspen Music School redevelopment review

Charles Agar
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Pitkin County commissioners faced with a complex development plan for the Aspen Music Festival and School and Aspen Country Day campus were shorthanded at a work session Monday.

Commissioner Patti Clapper, in a letter addressed to the board, said she would recuse herself from the matter because her husband, Thomas Clapper, does regular projects with Shaw Construction, a contractor that potentially might do the work.

Music Festival and Country Day officials are planning a remodel on what commissioners called a “severely restricted” site along Castle Creek. Planners for the group are asking for a rezoning of the land as well as height variances from the board.

“We need Patti here in order to have a full board,” Commissioner Michael Owsley said, adding that Clapper could be the tie-breaking vote in the matter.

The board discussed Clapper’s alleged conflict of interest at a previous meeting, Owsley said, and commissioners agreed that Clapper’s husband working on the job would not in any way prejudice her decision.

But in her letter, Clapper said her conflict of interest was “clear and apparent” and approval of the project would mean “direct financial gain through [her husband’s] employment.”

Owsley called her absence “unfortunate” for all involved, a sentiment echoed by Commissioner Dorothea Farris, who said she was “disappointed” any member of the board felt they couldn’t make such a decision without bias.

County attorney John Ely said the decision to recuse is up to the individual elected official.

Clapper could not be reached for comment.

After a morning site visit, the board then ” without Clapper ” discussed stream setbacks, geological formations and potential avalanche dangers on the Castle Creek site. Commissioners will continue to study the complex development plan in ongoing hearings.

cagar@aspentimes.com


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