In Friday’s editorial against Initiative Ordinance No. 2, slated for an election tomorrow in Snowmass Village, readers may have gotten the wrong impression about how the ordinance will affect homeowners.
The editorial briefly discussed a hypothetical homeowner who would have to go to the voters for a height variance to deal with some topographical challenge on his property.
Jack Hatfield, Pitkin County commissioner and member of Citizens for Responsible Growth, the group that drafted the initiative, pointed out that the initiative is written to deal exclusively with so-called Planned Unit Developments, a land-use term that is used for development applications that are generally large in scale and require special consideration from government decision-makers.
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The Base Village application currently under review is a Planned Unit Development. An application for a new residential subdivision would likely also be reviewed as a Planned Unit Development, Hatfield said.
Hatfield said the ordinance is written specifically to address Planned Unit Developments that are seeking significant variances from what’s allowed in the land use code, such as Base Village. He also said it was extremely unlikely, even impossible, that an individual single-family home in some yet-to-be-approved subdivision would require a variance in height or size so large that it would trigger an election.
Friday’s editorial did not mean to give the impression that voters would be required to regularly sound off on minor height variances and other such requests. Existing development, regardless of its land-use classification, would not be affected by the ordinance.
The Aspen Times nevertheless continues to oppose Initiative Ordinance No. 2.
We feel it adds an unnecessary burden on the town’s voters to consider any and all Planned Unit Developments that exceed certain thresholds. Especially so, when there already exists in state law a way for voters to overturn major land use decisions made by their elected officials.
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