House OK’d on Holy Cross land |

House OK’d on Holy Cross land

John Colson

Development of a parcel of land looming over the Castle Creek Valley and the city’s public works garage will bring improvements to a heavily used pedestrian and bicycling trail.

The Aspen City Council on Monday night approved development plans for a 3,200-square-foot house on a parcel of land owned by the Holy Cross Electric Association. The land is located on the hillside between Power Plant Road and Bugsy Barnard Park off Cemetery Lane. It also is situated above the city garage.

Holy Cross plans to sell the land to a private developer, now that it has obtained development approvals, said Holy Cross representative Bob Gardner at last night’s council meeting.

But, Gardner said, the utility company also plans to be in charge of improving the bicycling trail that comes down from Cemetery Lane and under the Highway 82 bridge, to connect with the trail that leads over the Castle Creek pedestrian bridge and into the city.

Because of the layout of the land, easements for the existing trail from Cemetery Lane, and a spur trail that runs over to Power Plant Road, will be vacated and the land under the trails will become part of the development parcel. The spur trail is to become the route of the driveway into the new home.

But the company plans to build a new trail beside the old trail route, from Cemetery Lane under the bridge, that will be an improvement over the existing trail, according to city planner Nick Lelack. The new trail will not have as steep a grade as the existing trail, he said.

The new trail will still be on Holy Cross land, but as part of the approvals for the development plan, the company agreed to grant a perpetual easement for the new trail. The easements for the existing trails were not permanent.

Lelack noted that Holy Cross had agreed to seek development approval for a house of 3,200 square feet, instead of the 3,500 square feet allowable under city codes.

In addition, the lower half of the parcel, which is located below Power Plant Road, is to be dedicated as open space in some way that will guarantee it will never be developed, according to Gardner.

Gardner also said that Holy Cross paid for the removal of an old, 5,000-gallon diesel fuel storage tank that once belonged to the city and was located on the Holy Cross parcel. Gardner said a soils test revealed no signs of toxic pollutants.

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