Comment period extended on Aspen’s Cozy Point Ranch draft master plan | AspenTimes.com

Comment period extended on Aspen’s Cozy Point Ranch draft master plan

Staff report

Roaring Fork Valley residents concerned about the future of Cozy Point Ranch will have longer to weigh in on a proposed management plan.

The city of Aspen extended the deadline for comments from today to Dec. 5 to make sure everyone gets a chance to participate, according to Austin Weiss, the city's open space and natural resources manager.

The city acquired the 168-acre historic ranch in 1994. It's at a prominent location at the intersection of Highway 82 and Brush Creek Road.

"We keep saying it's the gateway to the upper Roaring Fork Valley," Weiss said.

The property hosts a variety of uses, from equestrian services to food production and even an archery range.

Holly McLain, an avid equestrian, said people concerned about equestrian issues are weighing in on the master plan individually and through the Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council.

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"It is the only public equestrian facility open in the whole of Pitkin County," McLain said. Private facilities are often expensive or open only to friends of the operators, so maintaining a strong, public equestrian facility is vital, she said.

Eden Vardy is eager to see Cozy Point Ranch play an enhanced role in sustainable agriculture. Vardy is executive director of Aspen TREE, which leases three quarters of an acre of land to produce food and educate people at its Farm Park.

Vardy said the nonprofit has invested nearly $500,000 in its facilities there over nearly seven years. It has a 1,200-square-foot geodesic dome greenhouse where it grows food year-round. It raises animals on half of the surrounding property it leases and uses the other half for gardens and classrooms.

He likens Aspen TREE's property to "a public, educational town park that happens to be edible."

He said training farmers is a primary goal rather than food production. However, Aspen TREE sells what it grows at the Aspen Saturday Market and to a handful of chefs.

The draft master plan identifies several ways that food production could be expanded.

A link for the draft management plan as well as a link for comments can be found at http://www.aspencommunityvoice.com.