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Golf course will stay put

John Colson

The Aspen City Council on Monday came down squarely against anyproposals to relocate the municipal golf course to make room foran affordable housing project.But the council members, after a lengthy debate with neighborsof the golf course and with members of the city’s Planning andZoning Commission, agreed to withhold judgment on a plan to “reconfigure”the 18-hole city golf course. The goal would be finding room tobuild a limited amount of affordable housing where there now areholes and fairways.The key to the council’s continued consideration of the idea willbe whether or not the Pitkin County Open Space Board will considerusing part of the Moore open space lands, across Highway 82 fromthe golf course, as a site for relocating some of the links.The P&Z, in a resolution, on Monday night asked the city to spend$7,500 to hire a consultant to study four possible uses of golfcourse land for affordable housing. Those options include:Relocating the entire course onto the western portion of the city-ownedBurlingame Ranch lands near the Aspen Airport Business Center.Relocating the course to all of the Burlingame Ranch lands, whichare split by Highway 82.Reconfiguring the existing golf course in a “more efficient layout”to make room for some housing.Reconfiguring the existing course and putting some of the holesacross Highway 82 on the neighboring Moore open space.City Manager Amy Margerum, citing reports from staffers, notedthat there is not enough room at Burlingame Ranch to put a golfcourse there. Nor is it a feasible idea on the neighboring, privatelyowned Zoline ranch lands, she indicated.Margerum also shot down the idea of purchasing the nearby, privateMaroon Creek Club golf course, which she said would cost the city$70 million.She indicated, however, that there may be a way to accomplishthe third or fourth ideas contained in the P&Z’s resolution, butthat the matter requires more study and should be examined bya panel of citizen advisers.A group of citizens, mostly neighbors of the golf course on CemeteryLane, vehemently opposed the P&Z’s request for a study.”We should be building some affordable housing,” said one neighbor.”But this just isn’t the place for it. This, to be frank aboutit, is stupid.”Council members Rachel Richards and Terry Paulson both adamantlyopposed the idea of funding the study.Paulson said he would spend the money on a study to answer thequestion, “How can we build affordable housing without consumingopen space?”Richards said such a housing project would “destroy a great numberof our community’s values.” She added, “I do not feel you solvethe problems of today by destroying the values of the past.”Councilman Jake Vickery, however, argued that the study wouldmerely be to gather information based on a request from a boardof citizen advisers, and supported the study.”It’s just getting some preliminary information,” Vickery said.”If nothing else, maybe it retires this idea sooner rather thanlater.”Mayor John Bennett, after clearly rejecting the idea of movingthe golf course, said he would go along with a study of the reconfigurationproposal if the Open Space Board agrees to consider using someof the Moore open space for relocated golf holes.No vote of the council was taken. Bob Blaich, chairman of theP&Z, was directed to contact Open Space Board members to see howthey feel about the idea and report back to Margerum about hisfindings.


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