First phase of Burlingame Ranch nearly done |

First phase of Burlingame Ranch nearly done

Abigail Eagye
Aspen is moving forward on its planning of another phase of affordable houses in Burlingame Ranch.
Aspen Times File

When it comes to Burlingame, size matters. When planning the affordable housing development, Aspen City Council wanted to focus on livability. So rooms that are larger than minimum requirements are one feature the new homes will offer. A number of units will have unfinished attic spaces, large enough to provide ample storage space or another room altogether. And the designs of the different units vary in order to avoid the redundant feel of many cookie-cutter communities.Throughout the construction process, the city has made strides to incorporate environmentally friendly materials and designs into the Burlingame development. Project manager Steve Bossart outlined some of the amenities: The development uses less lumber, and what it does use is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustainable forestry. All “wood” flooring will be made of bamboo, a sustainable product. Although technically a grass, bamboo has many of the same characteristics as hardwood.

The city chose wool carpeting because it is not petroleum-based; tiles used throughout the development will be made of recycled material; and all units will have environmentally-friendly washers and dryers. Walls will have a foam insulation that provides better coverage than fiberglass insulation. The tightly sealed homes will also be able to recycle some heated air, reducing the cost of heating and any associated greenhouse gas emissions.Environmental elements do up the price of the affordable housing development, but only by 2-4 percent, according to Bossart.”It does not cost a lot to do this if you design it from the beginning,” he said.The Burlingame units do not have garages, and parking for owners is limited to encourage people to carpool or ride the bus. The development will also have several hybrid cars for residents to use as part of the city’s car-share program, and buses will run to the community – funded, in part, through the homeowners association. Plans for a bike path are also in the works.

Landscaping will include many plant species native to the area, although the neighborhood will also have some central shared spaces with grassy lawns. The development includes a community building that will essentially be a shell after the first phase of construction, but the next phase will add some appliances and minimal furnishings. Residents will have a say in how the community building is ultimately used, whether it be for child care, meetings, movies, parties or a host of other potential uses.”It’s got the capability for doing all sorts of things,” said John Laatsch, a project planner with the city. “We felt that was one space where [residents] would want to have their personal say.”Burlingame lotteryConstruction on the first Burlingame units is nearing completion, and the city will begin advertising a lottery for those homes later this month.

A total of 84 units will become available over the next six months, although only 31 will be available during the first lottery.Eligibility rules for the lottery can be complicated. For example, in bidding for a three-bedroom unit, a family of three with a total of one year of work history will receive higher priority than a family of two with four or more years of work history.The city will host a meeting from 4-6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall to clarify the lottery process and eligibility rules.”It can be daunting because there’s a lot of paperwork,” said Mitzi Rapkin, city spokeswoman.The first phase of the project includes a mix of one- , two- and three-bedroom homes ranging from Categories 2-7. The Aspen Housing Office outlines qualifications for the different categories online Eagye’s e-mail address is